I have learnt a new word…unprecedented! This word is on the rise more and more in the year of our lord 2020. Unprecedented times…

Unprecedented mean Never done or never known before. Yes, these are unprecedented times. Who would have thought a virus could stop everything in the world? While the global pandemic sweeps through our nation and across the world, there is plenty to feel stressed about. People are losing their jobs, businesses are closing, countries are looking at economies failing and possible famine.

Parents are forced to find a way to have their children taken care of in response to mandatory schooling. I have a new respect for teachers with all their patience and creativity. Most terrifying, the weak and elderly (our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, in-laws and lifelong friends) are very much at risk of being gravely affected by COVID-19 the novel coronavirus.

Oh yeah…we are all confined to our homes for the most part too. There is no shortage of stress inducing realities which seem to be here with us for the foreseeable future. So, I will try to be very clever and explore some easy stress relievers while we are locked in our homes with limited human contact in an effort to keep our shit together, our attitudes positive and our outlook on each day better than the day before.

  1. Gardening – Try to think of a time when you will be unable to get food or if you are able to get to the stores, you cannot find what you need. Be creative, plant some tomatoes, kales, spinach in your small spaces. Bucket gardening, can feed a family of 8. For those who are lucky to have small pieces of land, please make use of them. Plant fast growing foods eg vegetables. You might even save a coin or two by taking up this activity.
  2. Read books – try to read books of all genre. A wealth of knowledge is hidden in books and only available to those who are willing to try and find it.
  3. Home workouts – I will not lie to be a fun of this but I have tried the yoga stretches after my interest was tickled by my sister. Not bad…. not bad at all.
  4. Walking outside in fresh air (while trying to maintain the social distance). I envy the people living in the countryside away from the pollution in our cities. This activity can be partaken by a family so long as social distance measures are put in place.
  5. Online shopping! Well, most of us are worried about our jobs and our businesses staying afloat, I don’t think this is the time for me to start shopping. BUT it is an activity for those who are not suffering the same predicament as I.

But what about other not-so-common stress relieving activities to relieve anxiety?

  1. Cooking – I am a fan of cooking groups on Facebooks, Instagram etc and I have seen a lot of hilarious trials by the members. I have also learnt a lot of cooking hacks eg did you know if you mixed tomatoes with lemons, they don’t go bad as quickly. They can last for up to 2 weeks on open air. Cooking is actually quite interesting and also a stress reliever.
  2. Take it slow – a lot of people are worried about the future. There is nothing much we can do to control the future. It is happening all over the world. So, take it slow. Deep breaths and relaxation remain unrivaled…but it is easier said than done. Look at the big picture, remaining alive during this COVID-19 is the most important thing. Anything else is a bonus. Appreciate these times for what they are. More often than not, everything falls into place.
  3. Take a break from watching news – All in the news for the last 6 weeks are depressing news. Italy, Spain and USA have been the hardest hit by Coronavirus. The devastation seen on our screens was affecting all of us as we are all human. We have tried to learn from them and prepare the best way we know how but lets just take a break from it. There has to be a saturation point. In these trying times that’s probably not the healthiest choice of relieving stress. I have reduced my news watching time to evening only.

The mess on social media platform is a much different story.  Its usually nice to have human exposure – albeit virtually – but we all know far too well there’s a lot of crap on FB too. I also wonder why people never paid attention to their primary and secondary education…credibility and proper sourcing of information. Some information out there is just causing panic and not verified. No matter how you slice it, we need to manage and regulate our exposure to the outside madness when it comes to the news media and social media platforms.

  1. Take a walk on fresh air. Talk a run or walk in the fresh air. There is so much we are not allowed to do at the moment, but thankfully, walking outside is not one of them. So long as we maintain social distance, talk a walk. Invite your dog for the walk.
  2. Clean the house – I hate chaos and clutter in my working space. Working in a mess is a nightmare for me. I can’t cook in a messy kitchen. I first have to clean the cutlery and kitchen before cooking. That’s just the way it is and how I operate. I find it hard to get in the zone if I am sitting among dirty linen, dishes, unnecessary toys etc

Cleaning is therapeutic…I swear…ask any doctor. I get mental satisfaction having a home (and temporary office) that is clean and tidy.

  1. Talk to Family and friends. – Being forced to stay indoors and overthinking everything we touch for the small periods we actually leave (eg to get grocery, gas station, bank etc) is no way to navigate life. We need to keep communicating with the outside world while we can too. Phone calls and zoom met ups are shortening the distance between family and friends.
  2. Start a Journal – I had a journal as a teenager full of crap but it kept me busy. I am not a diary person but I like revisiting old notes. To be able to look back at my thoughts at a certain time is a strong impactful way to remember the past. Pictures are great but written or worded documents read by the same person has an incredible power. I have heard how when you visit a shrink you just pour your heart out….well a journal I would think is the same through handwriting at home
  3. Meditate – I just went through a 21-day meditation challenge provided by Deepak Chopra. I actually enjoyed it and it is something I intend to pursue. Meditation, along with breathing and mental awareness exercises are sure winners as ways to reduce stress by definition.
  4. If you have children, be a child again. Listen to them, play with them and see them from a child’s perspective. You will be surprised at how much energy you need to cope and you might just enjoy it and lose some weight…lol
  5. Enjoy a Hobby – I have forgotten the hobbies that I used to enjoy before the rat-race caught up with me. My partner shopped online for a badminton set. I have actually come to love the game. It is not as easy as it looks, a lot of cardio is involved and in less than 10minutes I am normally breaking a sweat. The children also love it. Oh…I love cooking…I think that counts as a hobby. We have baked a lot of stuff. I have a lot of bananas growing in my kitchen garden. My children would rather eat any other fruit than a banana. We have baked a lot of banana bread. I don’t know if I like banana bread but somebody has to eat that bread. We the working class don’t get to enjoy the things we like so we have an opportunity to enjoy them. Whatever makes you happy, just do it.

Keep safe, sanitized and stress free!!!

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