Staying Mindful Through Hard Times

We are just over two weeks here in Northern Italy in a complete National Lockdown. We have been one of the hardest countries hit by Covid-19 with many other countries following in suit. If someone told me on Day One to try and be mindful I probably would have karate chopped them at the mere thought of trying to remain calm in a time like this. Yet here we are, two weeks in – fortunately, happy and healthy. I see many people back home in the UK and in the States feeling the same way I was two/three weeks ago. I wanted to share a few mindfulness tips that have helped us stay calm and practical here on the front line.

Focus On What You Can Control.

“ We might not be able to control the weather or the traffic of the moods of all those around us. But, we most certainly can control our attitude towards these events. We all have the power to determine what we will think about any given moment.” – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

In a world that seems so uncertain at the moment, it is no wonder so many of us are feeling lost, anxious and worried. The first step to bringing us back to a sense of ease and calm is the knowing that there are in fact many things we can control.

Start with your environment, many of you will be headed into isolation and lockdown soon – this will mean spending a lot of time indoors. Make sure that your space is clean, tidy and organised. An organised environment will give you a sense of control. Take time to go through your wardrobe and drawers and de-clutter the mess you’ve been meaning to address but haven’t had the time, separate items to keep and give away.

You are in complete control of how you manage your time as your day goes. Your level of productivity, how much you accomplish will be down to the choices you make and the actions you take. Then there are the small things, you can pick out something delicious to make for dinner and the film you want to watch afterwards. You can call friends and family, and take this time to connect and grow closer. Anxious thoughts are just thoughts and thoughts can be examined and changed. It all starts with you. Choose to feel good! 

Good Routine + Daily Habits.

We have been in a National lockdown here in Italy for over two weeks. One of the most helpful tips I can tell you about how to keep mindful during this very uncertain time is to ensure that you create a routine for yourself. 

Set an alarm and get up every day at the same time, shower, get dressed (try to only wear sweat pants 3/7 days a week).

Set yourself up a work space/desk area, keep that space clean and tidy. Schedule your day like you would a work day. 

Create to-do lists, set a lunch break, put your phone away, write down your goals and stick to daily habits that help you stay happy and healthy!

Self Care + Eating Well.

If you haven’t heard this tip enough already, I am here to tell you again. Prioritise your self care! 

Look after yourself and you will feel oh so much better for it. Now, self care doesn’t always mean hot baths and face masks, it can also mean moving your body, fitting in a 30 minute work out, getting enough sleep, reading a good book, meditating and being consistent with your goals. 

Eating well is also a hugely important part of self-care during this time. Our diet has a huge effect on our mental health. Let me tell you, it is easy to see the first few days at home like a holiday and your kitchen is an all you can eat buffet – but eventually this will leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated. A recipe for laziness! Make yourself a delicious healthy breakfast, prep a nutritious lunch and start as you mean to go on. (Also important, if you’re a serial snacker like moi, ensure you have some healthy go-to snacks at the ready. This will ensure you don’t find yourself forearm deep in a box of dry cereal at 3 in the afternoon).

Give Yourself A Social Media Break.

It is easy to fall into a trap of endless scrolling. Now more than ever, nearly all of our social outlets are being flooded with death tolls, mass panic and one bad news story after the other. Give yourself a break. 

Move your social apps into a separate file and move them off your homepage. This will break the habit of mindlessly opening the apps the moment you unlock your phone (we are all guilty of this), it will also remind you why those apps are hidden. Apple offers a brilliant setting that enables you to set daily limits for yourself and keep tabs on how much time you are spending on each app.

Of course it is important to keep up to date with the going-ons in the world, especially as new rules are being put in place daily. But, try and limit the amount you are consuming. Ensure if you are reading the news, that the information is coming from reliable sources. 

I also recommend filling your social media with some good vibes so that when you are having a little scroll, you can take in some positivity! Some great accounts to follow for this are:

  • @tanksgoodnews
  • @goodnews_movement
  • @coronavirusgoodnews
  • @zeppelinmoon
  • @asafespaceinsideyourhead

Just Be.

Lastly, I want you to take 30 minutes out of your day to ‘just be.’ 

This could mean reading a book, sitting down and listening to your favourite playlist, journaling, stretching and breathing – away from work and away from your phone. There are so many great apps that can help you practise mindfulness. If you are like me and are “full steam ahead” all the time, the thought of sitting down for 30 minutes isn’t too exciting – but thank goodness we live in a modern world where there is an app for (quite literally) anything. 

Here are some more highly rated apps that help with mindfulness:

  • HeadSpace
  • Calm
  • Relfectly
  • Mindfulness Daily

Stay safe, stay healthy. 

Follow the rules your government have set in place.

We will be okay.

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