Whether you’re truly alone during this COVID 19 crisis — or just feel alone — these tips from Yoga teacher and coach Madonna Williams will help you feel more at peace with the situation.
Many of us have experienced a sense of loneliness in our lives, despite not being alone. You can be at work in the middle of a busy office space, online with friends or at home with family and still feel lonely.
But of course now, with social distancing and isolation an essential part of life while the world deals with COVID-19, it’s really easy to feel removed from the life around you.
We’ve been encouraged to check in on our neighbours and call friends or family; to use video chat where we can; to maintain connection. But what about taking care of our own health and happiness while working from home; how do we help ourselves to feel and stay connected and less lonely without our usual social interactions?
How to find community and conquer loneliness during social isolation
Four of my best tips for staying connected include managing time spent on video, journaling, sticking to a routine and dropping judgement and expectations.
Let’s explore a little deeper:
Video connection: do what works for you
Video has been touted as a great way for people to stay connected during the Coronavirus pandemic. We know there’s been a huge uptake in Zoom ‘events’, live streaming and Facetiming, which is excellent for anyone taking part. It’s important to get visual and voice connection where you can.
But, video chats can be time consuming and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you get sick of being on your phone all the time.
The best way to balance this is to keep to a personal schedule that’s right for you, and manage expectations of those you work with or family who like to connect in this way.
Experts suggest we aim for one to three face-to-face interactions a day, but this can also include watching a Facebook Live feed, for example – as long as you feel connected and fulfilled by the experience it counts.
Try writing in a journal each day
If the last time you journaled or kept a diary was in year 5, no problem – now is the time to start again.
I’ve been journaling for years and find it’s an excellent way to let go of emotions or worries I might be bottling up.
Try ‘free writing’, that is, set a timer for two to five minutes and just write, no editing yourself. See what comes through.
Down the track it will be interesting to see what came up for you during this time.
If you’re stuck on where to begin, try these writing-prompts:
– How am I feeling today?
– What am I thinking and how does that make me feel right now?
– What am I doing and where do I want to be in three months’ time?
– What am I most grateful for today?
Journaling may feel a little uncomfortable if you’re not used to sitting with your feelings, but it’s important to know that those feelings were probably there anyway. Accessing and working through them will do wonders though. And it’s all achievable in just a few minutes a day.
Set yourself a goal to try this for 30 days, at five minutes a day, and see how you feel after getting into the habit.
I journal in the morning after Yoga when I’m feeling relaxed, open and clear. Keep to a routine and enjoy the benefits.
Rituals and routine for work and wellbeing
A few of you are still getting up and going into a physical shop or office, however the majority of us have had to adapt to a brand new routine. A lot of us are working from home full time now and juggling kids, the dog, partner and a myriad of other distractions.
Every day I follow a health ritual when I wake and after Yoga teaching or practise I create a flight plan (schedule) for my day just as I create flight plans for my classes.
Most important is to it set up and create an intention.
What do I want from today?
How do I want to feel?
What comes first and why?
Is it necessary today?
I’m not one to waste too much time in list details, however I will write the following and set about my mission after breakfast.
- I write down the two to three most important things I need to achieve for work the next day and the blocks of time in which I’ll do those (e.g. between 10am and 2pm).
- My wellbeing schedule is non-negotiable and might include my own Yoga practise to self nurture and prepare for classes, walking with my dog, riding with my partner or meeting up with a friend to walk/ride (3-5pm). My breaks also include eating or drinking slowly with the sun on my back or taking a warm bath with essential oils.
- Most of all, I listen to my body and the energy rhythm of the day whilst not compromising what I’ve set out to accomplish. This may mean that I break more frequently (every hour) or get away earlier to recharge and come back fresh to finalise the tasks.
- I feel it’s a great practise to decide on the no work zone hours when we put devices down with the intention to focus on self time and time with partner/family.
Whether you have a busy work or life schedule right now or it’s quieter and you’re worried about the future (maybe your job has been impacted or your kids are feeling the effects of world events), sticking to a daily rituals and routine will do wonders for your emotional and physical wellbeing.
Compassion is key: the world is different right now, give yourself a break
If you are feeling lonely or even anxious about things right now, know that it’s ok. You’re certainly not alone. Often when we are in a state of stress or anxiety, it can be difficult to get motivated to do the things we’d usually do. Even simple things like taking a shower, or making time for a 20 minute online Yoga session might be a challenge, even though previously you’ve been used to attending a two hour-long Yoga classes a week.
Start again and give yourself a break. Honour the wins you have in the day and thank yourself for making small steps. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic – that’s scary, and it’s a first for all of us.
Celebrate both your tiny and giant steps to health and getting yourself motivated. Do it for YOU first and also do it to support your family and friends too. We’re here to help each other.
There will be times to lean, times to fall, times to get back up and mostly this is a time to reset and rejuvenate right now. Use this time wisely, not waste it. Express creative talents, embrace healthy pursuits, begin that new course, learn that new skill, reconnect in ways that you never thought you could.
What if this time brings new gifts into your life that would otherwise not existed?
Expect nothing and be ready for everything.
Madonna is based at Paradise Point and has set up a new online program and Facebook group for anyone who wants to get more healthy, active and social, starting now. Find out more and get involved