Most of us might be feeling lost as we begin the new year. 2020 was a dark chapter filled with dread, anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, losses and deaths. Not what we had in mind when we all welcomed new year a year ago. Much has happened since then. Lifestyles have changed, priorities shifted, new lessons learned, we were also forced to shed certain ideologies and belief systems.
It is hard to realize a year has gone by while we were all struggling to make sense of what on earth happened to us. We witnessed a world under siege, plagued by virus. Fear became our constant companion as we resorted to social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands. We learned about the true meaning of quarantines and lockdowns while playing a role in a horror movie we loathed. Or was it a nightmare from which we tried hard to wake up from? Unfortunately all of this is real and we are living it. Pinch yourself. Oops you are still here! This is no nightmare or a creepy movie. This is life, our new normal.
5 Habits for Mental Wellness I Started in Lockdown
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel as they say- a few vaccines. It might take months though for it to hit every citizen’s arms. Also, one should also wonder about its efficacy and efficiency. At this point all we can do is pray that it works and roll up our sleeve when the time comes.
Today, I want to share with you a few habits I started in lockdown that has helped me to stay calm and composed through it all. These habits sort of provided a normalcy on various levels that I craved when I needed it. Not to mention, it offered me a sense of purpose in life when I thought it was not possible. It is my hope that you take away some ideas from here to help you along in your journey as well.
1.Treadmill work out
I might have mentioned it before but treadmill became an integral part of my work out regimen since the lockdown. I used to do it before too but wasn’t consistent. Since I work remotely, I set aside part of my lunch break for walking on treadmill and it is perfect. I haven’t missed a single day since forever! We all know how important it is to move our bodies specially if we are staying home or doing a sedentary job. 40 minutes of treadmill gives me sufficient time for body movement, strengthen my core and also ensure my cardio vascular system is top notch. And as always, it is good for me mentally as well. Now if you don’t have treadmill at home, you can also do brisk walking outside on your lunch break. Really, there is no excuse not to incorporate this into your daily routine.
2. Listening to Podcasts
Treadmill time is also podcasts time for me. Yeah, two in one! I listen to a ton of inspiring Youtube and TEDX talks while on treadmill. I make sure my 40 minutes is well worth spent by nourishing my body and mind with inspiration. In normal times, meaning before COVID, I used to listen to tapes during the commute back and forth to work. And when the lockdown started, I found myself scrambling to fit this routine somewhere. I am glad it is working out well this way. So what and who do I listen to? Gosh! There are a lot of people I follow in this field. But sure, you can start with Lewis Howes (I just found him), Jay Shetty, Joe Dispenza, Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Wayne Dyer, Louis Hay to name a few.
3. Reading and MORE Reading
If you are a regular on my blog, you would know I am a book worm. But the lockdown has taken me to a level 10 book worm phase! Since the libraries are closed, it was getting hard to find new books. Then I came across the holy grail-Our digital library which is tied into our city library, This news was wonderful to me because I can sign up online and borrow all kinds of books without worrying about returning them on time. Mind you, I am notorious for missed return dates and have invoices I paid to the library to prove it! Anyways, that’s all water under the bridge now. I am basically in book heaven these days. Since my interest is in spirituality lately. I realize there are a lot of authors I have to check out. And most of them are available on my digital library. So I read a lot (thank you digital library!) and cannot be happier about it.
4. Oura Ring
Well this point is tailored to a specific need of mine. I had bad sleeping habits like forever. I tried to deal with it by taking meds for years but it wasn’t improving anything. Stress and anxiety aggravates sleeplessness so since March, I was fighting a losing battle with my sleep issues. I knew I had to fix some of my habits to get a restful night of sleep. For starters, I used to drink too much caffeine, take my devices to bed with me and go to sleep late. It didn’t help. One day, I was looking online and came across an article on Oura ring.
RELATED: How to get Sleep at Night Naturally
It is a ring (obviously!) that tracks your sleep patterns among other things. I decided to try it. Mind you, this little thing is not cheap. It was an expensive buy but I figured it is worth the risk. It arrived and I started wearing it daily. It tracks your general habits, your heart rate variability, heart beat rate, calories, steps and finally the sleep cycles.
It provides you insights on what you can do to improve your health after analyzing trends on the Oura App which is connected to your ring. It calculates your REM, how long you sleep, how deep you sleep, what time you go to bed, what time you get up etc. Long story short, Oura is the boost I needed to straighten up my sleep. I started going to bed on time, my REM cycles are great and I get a good night rest pretty much every night- all without taking any sleep meds! A win 🙂 But take note, meditation is a great driving force in helping me arrive here. Oura is just a tool that shows me how well I am doing with numbers and stats while meditation cleansed my mindset to clear up my sleep issues. Read my meditation experiences if you haven’t already.
Another note, I know there is apple watch and Fitbit that helps you track your vitals but they don’t go in depth on sleep like Oura does. Specially it’s “insights” feature is amazing! Also it is easier to wear a ring all the time than a watch. I do not have any affiliation to Oura, just passing good info, that’s all.
5. Spending device free time with my kids
Although much of the business is conducted online these days (think remote work, online shopping etc) I also understood the value of setting aside device free time for my kids. Most of our waking time is spend browsing or checking emails or messages. This happens even when we are in the company of our loved ones. I am also guilty of this as I can recall many number of times my kids complaining I love my phone more than them. Of course I love them more than anything but how about if I start showing it a little bit more? It isn’t easy specially when it is a habit we gotta break. So, start intentionally. Schedule a slot for bonding time with family. Put away your phone/tablet/computer etc. Decide on an activity to do together- play a board game, watch a movie, or read a story. Point is you have to be engaged in the activity so that you forget all about checking your phone. Watch how much difference it can make, how happy your kids will be to see they have your undivided attention.
Add this activity to your calendar. Consistently practice this every day until it becomes second nature, a new habit. These days, I don’t have to be intentional about it. An hour before bed time is dedicated exclusively to my kids, device free. This doesn’t mean I am not available to them during the day. The difference is, that hour before bed time, I have no distractions. I am theirs completely- we talk a lot about stuff, read bible, listen to music etc- it is heaven. Lots of soul nourishment, laughter and love. It is almost holy in my opinion.
I can think of a few more things I started doing in lockdown but let’s leave it for another day. It means a new blog post, yay!
COVID 19 is bad I agree. It has brought the world to its knees. But I also tend to think this situation has radically changed our perspectives on various things. Most of them for the better. Yes, quarantines and lockdowns often gets the best of me, not gonna lie to you. But I also see myself getting back up after each fall to continue my journey onward and upward. I am respecting this Great Pause for I believe it is teaching us lessons that wasn’t possible for us to learn before. Lessons that are valuable and timeless.
Stay safe, all the best friends.