How do we look after ourselves during a pandemic? Our NISAD team shares their own practical tips.
The global pandemic Covid-19 has led to a lot of uncertainty in our everyday lives. Although different parts of the world are affected differently in regards to restrictions and so on, we are all to some degree feeling what the world is going through.
I like to get out for a walk. Although I live in a city there are some green spaces where I can immerse myself in tranquillity and nature. I’m particularly enjoying the autumnal colours and lots of squirrels gathering nuts at the moment!
This is helpful to me, because it reminds me that there is stuff going on (real or fictional) outside of my little bubble of worries. And if it’s a good book or a particularly entertaining podcast, it always puts me in a good mood.
I am a crafty person and creating stuff always makes me happy. During this pandemic, I’ve been baking cakes for absolutely no reason other than that I like baking them. I’ve also learned how to make my own bars of soap and started a calligraphy course just for the heck of it! If I feel like I am learning and doing new things, then life hasn’t been put on hold after all.
I’m a former musician and in times in my life where I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I just take a moment to myself to sing. Whenever I’m alone I sing the first song that comes to mind.
I have always felt in control of my voice and it has become a meditative-like state to just belt out an emotional song because I feel like it. It helps me relax, refocus and eventually let go of what is troubling me.
It’s so helpful with extra anxiety!
I love to knit, sew and crochet and I am going to make blankets to send to a charity. It’s a great way to use up leftover wool and there are no restrictions on how colourful you can be!
Right now it’s autumn and I’m really enjoying a lunch time walk through fallen leaves of brown, yellow and red.
As often as I can, I take a bit of time everyday to be physically active, even if it’s only 10-15 minutes. I’ve learnt that I feel much happier in my body when I’ve been doing something that involves stretching-type movements. Sometimes it means finding a space to dance where no one can see me. And sometimes it’s finding a short online yoga routine. As a parent it can be really hard to find time where I’m doing something that’s just for me, so it’s got to be fairly short!
The last thing I do before falling asleep is listening to a short (usually 10 minutes) guided meditation. I pick the topic depending on my mood or what’s been around for me that day.
In the past, I would usually take a long time to fall asleep because I had a lot of thoughts swirling around my head. This simple practice helps me turn the volume down on my thoughts, connect with my body and fall asleep really quickly.
I’m fairly new to fire making and I find the process quite therapeutic and I have a ritual of how I build a “good” fire – it has been trial and error! Once the fire is established and burning well I find it really relaxing to get cosy on the sofa and just watch it for a while.
I love going out and walking – no matter the weather. This is one that I am practising cultivating much more. It’s a true discipline to take time for yourself like this when the temptation is there just to keep sitting in front of your computer at your desk. I really love watching the seasons changing and I know that being outside (I’m very lucky to live in the country) really lifts my mood and energises me. I take moments while I’m walking to be really mindful.
I see if I can really tune in to my senses and feel the air on my skin and the ground under my feet as I walk as well as noticing the colours, sounds and smells. It is a great opportunity to practise being really present.
One of my favourite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to take a long bath. I use essential oils and salts and I love the sensation of the steamy bathroom. It feels incredibly decadent to do this during the day.
I will take a book to read or watch something on my phone (I need to get a waterproof phone cover!) and top the water up to keep it at the perfect temperature.
I can easily go away a couple of hours like this. Blissful.
We weren’t much affected by the Pandemic, but still, I have spent most of the lockdown time helping my father do his farming. Which I really liked and still keep doing this, as I am really enjoying being there in the fields.
It’s not been the same for everyone around the globe, as a lot of people were away from their families and friends. For me one of the best things kept us going through this Pandemic was, I spent a lot of time with my son, which I really enjoyed and felt great.
Thinking about what I want to do after it’s over keeps my spirits high. Where will we go to for our first post-pandemic holiday? Whom will I invite to my birthday party? Which classes do I go back to? Just writing this makes my heart warm.
Feeling the elements. So many of my colleagues mentioned walking, and yes, I love it too. Getting out, no matter the weather, connects me with this feeling of being part of something bigger. Most of my walks are in my neighborhood and that can sometimes get a bit boring. So I change paths, walk at different times of the day, in different kinds of weather, and I literally see things in a different light. And I’m so happy to come back to a warm flat after all that walking!
Feeding the senses. While being so long at home, the little things that feel luxurious became even more important.
Savoring those takeaway bakery goods, burning candles or watching a tear-jerking movie always gets my serotonin levels high.
A good way of motivating myself to read more books (we take turns picking the books) as well as staying in touch when I haven’t been able to see my family as often.
If you have access to the ocean, go for a swim! It will certainly be freezing (at least in Sweden) but it will be great for your health and feel amazing afterwards!
Redecorating has been one of my favorite pass-time activities where I focus on making my apartment feel as welcoming as it can be.
Now that I am spending so much more time at home it’s a perfect time to finally fix that hole in the wall that’s always bothered me, get rid of that ugly lamp and move things around to create a happier living space for myself.
The birdsong was extraordinary this year too – being amongst them, the trees and in the fresh air really helped, particularly when the cabin fever really took hold.
My little garden during the summer was also truly wonderful – we had wrens nesting in a pair of old shoes. Seeing them bob in and out was delightful, especially as our garden is small and suburban.
I’ve really enjoyed working out, more so during lockdown – the thought of losing the opportunity to go out and exercise definitely gave me an appreciation of it. I cycled and did online workouts too.
I like to make sure I leave the house at least once a day – and that’s not just the school run.
Usually, a walk does the trick, but even a drive can take you out of your environment and give you time to process what’s going on.
I recently joined the gym which I cannot go to for the next few weeks but I will try to fit in some home exercise videos instead.
Reading a good book, just a bit everyday, gives me a chance to see things differently. For this 2nd lockdown, I have decided to revisit a book I’ve been trying to finish for two years, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.
It has taken me two years to get half way through but I will challenge myself to read a little bit everyday. I may finish it one day!
Then lastly, a cuddle.
I try to make sure I give a cuddle everyday. Luckily my son, who is 8, is still rather affectionate but whenever I can, during this lockdown, a hug from another human, for some reason, means more now than ever.