" When I was a boy and I would see scary things int he news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" - Mr Rogers
Life is hard. There is widespread fear and anxiety over what the world has become and what is yet to come. I am not making light of that. What I am saying is that there are opportunities to find the silver lining, joy can be found even in the darkest of spaces, you just need to look for it.
1. COOK A MEAL WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS (online or IRL)
Some of the best laughs and conversations are had over the dinner table. If you are home with your kids, make it a point to cook a meal together with them, make it an event that they look forward to, and that you look forward to too. It may just be once, a week or as time allows, but take pause and be intentional about it. If you are on your own try and plan a day to cook with a friend, get them to teach you a new recipe or vice versa. Cooking is an opportunity to look back - as you discuss your day with the folks you are sharing the experience with, or as you reflect on the lives of the ancestors who cooked this meal before you.
2. TAKE TIME EACH DAY TO DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
I feel like our lives had become so busy everyone mentioned at some point or another about not having time to do the activities they enjoyed. Whether it was playing an instrument or creating a craft or start working out. Now we have the time to do these things. Even though this time wasn't on our terms, it is now here. So do that thing you always wanted, no pressure. Do it as long as it makes you happy, and when it is no longer doing that stop. The very real stress of the uncertainty of today also needs processing, so don't force yourself to continue doing 'fun things' once these things start to add to your stress.
3. ENJOY NATURE
Take a moment to glance out the window, notice the fresh air. Think of the good nature news - whales coming back to ancestral homes, rivers rejuvenating, diminished air pollution. Practice gratitude for these things. The world is healing itself despite the grimness of the situation.
Our bodies hold stress and worry and at this time it is more important than ever to keep our bodies moving through these emotions. Find a class online or an infographic of your favourite yoga practice (such as Yin), and practice stretching. Thank your body for what it does for you - moves you from point A to B, cooks your food, breathes, works to provide you a home, and mindfully offer it stretches as a way to thank it and take care of it for all these things it does for you. It can be just one stretch, such as a mindful backbend, or it can be an hour-long session.
5. SLEEP IN OR PLAN A 'BED IN'
It is difficult to keep your mind off of the bills and other stressors. So when you wake up take a moment to be grateful to be in bed without having to rush off to work (if that is the case for you). Take an extra breath, thank your bed for the comfort and safety it offered overnight (and perhaps the peace if you were able to relax), before you go about your day. If you are home with kids this might not be possible as they start waking you up early, but perhaps plan for a 'bed in' - a morning when they can all clamber into bed with you and watch a movie together. It may or may not last a full movie - but it is a memorable moment for them, and an excuse for you to not have to get out of bed to do what parents do.
6. PLANT A GARDEN
Always wanted to plant a garden? Perhaps take this time to do it. It doesn't need to be a big ado - an egg carton or old Tupperware, some soil (feel free to steal it from your other plants), and some seeds (perhaps some of those dried beans or rice). Nothing big, just get it started. And if this is too daunting perhaps start by sprouting some beans. The satisfaction of growing your own food is amazing. every day you get to see it grow and it takes very little work from you. Plus it's also a great way to have something for the kids to look forward to each day.
7. JOIN IN ON THE 7 PM APPRECIATION OF HEALTHCARE WORKERS (OR BE THE ONE TO START IT IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD)
An easy way to connect with neighbours IRL without breaking quarantine is to go to your front door or balcony with a pot and wooden spoon in hand to make some noise for the healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic. I am live downtown and am surrounded by highrises, I didn't know the folks in the apartments across from me until now. We wave at each other, try to beat each other on who can be loudest and have a fun time all while joining a worldwide act of appreciation.