For many of us, our way of life has had to change rapidly over the past week or so. The MiNDFOOD team share the self-care tips and tricks that they are practising at the moment to help find a sense of calm.
Ashley Wallace, Staff Writer
Cuddles with fur babies
Nothing makes me calmer than cuddling my ragdoll cat, Millie. The fact that she is blissfully unaware of the chaos makes it even more soothing – when she is happy, it makes me feel happier too.
On weekends I am taking myself off to a beach out of town. Swimming in the ocean and getting my Vitamin D fix are working wonders for my wellbeing. We’re lucky enough to have much of the beach to ourselves in New Zealand, so it’s a place I can maintain a safe distance from others while social distancing.
Keeping up communication
While some people might feel overwhelmed if they discuss the coronavirus constantly, I’m finding it helpful to talk about what’s happening with my family and friends. A couple of my friends have been checking in to see how I’m doing and that’s made me feel very reassured, so I’ve started to do the same to others too.
Donna Duggan, Lifestyle Editor
Keep the same routine
With so much change and uncertainty at the moment, I’m ensuring my family keeps the same routine to create a sense of stability. That means getting up and going to bed at the same time, ensuring the same boundaries and keeping the same schedule.
Find the upside
Like many people, I can get caught up in the fear and start catastrophising. When I find myself in that state I stop what I’m doing, find a sunny spot, and do a few minutes of deep breathing. I then remind myself of some of the upsides of my new reality, such as my daily commute is now a bushwalk rather than a crowded train trip.
This too shall pass
My grandfather is 103. He lives by himself in his own home and is totally self-sufficient, doing his own shopping, cooking and cleaning. He has lived through a war, depression (leaving his home in the country at 14 to find work), sickness, the death of loved ones and too many natural disasters to mention. His philosophy has always been live simply, stress less and cherish the people in your life. It’s a philosophy that works for me too.
Step up the wellness
Living with the auto-immune condition, primary biliary cholangitis, health has always been a high priority for me. The condition affects my liver and I have a blood test every three months to monitor the condition. The upside of the regular testing is that I can see patterns of when my health is good, and not so good. The periods I eat well, drink lots of water, manage my stress, have good quality sleep and exercise daily my blood tests are consistently better than when I don’t. I know it can be easy to fall into bad habits when you go through a stressful period, like the one we are in now. But I’ve learnt that it’s the stressful periods that it is most important to step up the healthy living.
Get comfortable with change
My family have chosen to self-isolate. I’ve got two very sporty boys, aged 15 and 10, and a social, extroverted husband. Self-isolation isn’t a natural fit. The boy’s school has moved to off-site learning, which means our living room is now a classroom/workspace. It’s going to take time to adjust, and we’ve all committed to being tolerant of the fact that it’s not going to be easy, but that’s ok. Resilience, self-discipline, kindness, compassion and flexible thinking are vital life skills and that’s what we are developing right now.
Nicole Saunders, Style & Beauty Editor
While these last few weeks have been a rollercoaster for most of us, it’s important to remember that not everyone reacts in the same way which is why I’m reminding myself to simply be kind. It is likely that very soon – if we’re not already doing so – we’ll be spending a lot more time with our family and loved ones. We’ll be living, working and homeschooling in very close quarters which inevitably means it will be a challenging time for relationships. If I feel myself getting anxious or upset with a loved one, I’m just stepping back, taking a deep breath and reminding myself this is new territory for all of us and to get through it, we’ve got to be kind to one another.
Video calling my family most evenings
Like Donna, my family made the decision to self-isolate early. We have a few high-risk family members so we decided that it would be best for all us to minimise their risk, and the risk of other vulnerable community members, by staying at home as much as possible. While it’s tough not being able to just pop over and see my family in a time like this, technology is keeping us connected. My mum and my sister have been video calling most evenings – which is keeping us all sane and bringing us closer together.
Getting fresh air
There’s a lot of evidence that green spaces are great for your mental wellbeing and we’re very lucky to live a few minutes away from a huge reserve that backs onto a stream and native bush. We’re getting outside and walking our dog as much as possible while keeping a safe distance from any other walkers that we see on the track.
Finding joy in simple things
I find cooking quite relaxing but my usual peak-hour commute tends to get in the way of trying out new recipes during the week. I’m trying to find the silver lining in what is going on at the moment and having a little more time to experiment in the kitchen is definitely taking my mind off everything that’s happening.