In these difficult and strange times where virtually everybody is having to stay inside their homes, I have written a few suggestions to help you get through the weeks and months ahead. Obviously maintaining our physical health is important, but so too is our mental health, and also our spiritual health. So hopefully the ideas and suggestions below will help you to continue to lead a balanced and calm life.
It’s all too easy to get bogged down with the news and social media about the Corona virus that’s coming into our lives through the TV and the Internet. It’s a trap that I fell into last week and I must admit that it brought me down at first - what with all the negative posts of Facebook and the doom and gloom of the news. In the end I had to “Unfriend” someone on Facebook who kept posting unhelpful posts, and I lifted myself back up by listening to some of my favourite pieces of music. I realised that everything on Planet Earth is a duality – there is negative, but there is also positive. Through this experience I have learnt that it’s helpful to give yourself a break from social media and do some of the things that I’m writing about here. Also, you can be watching the news every few minutes and get overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps, just tune into the news once a day to find out what’s happening, possibly not last thing at night just before you go to bed, as that can play on your mind.
So the first thing we need to take care of is our daily spiritual practice. Whether we practice meditation or mindfulness, or prayer, it is now more important than ever that we make time to do this daily – to regain the balance in our lives and listen to what we are being told by our Higher Selves or Source or Spirit. Maybe spend a little longer than usual doing it, remembering all those suffering with the virus as well as their friends and relatives, not forgetting those on the front line fighting against it. Also, ask that you are psychically protected as well as physically protected from everything going on around you. Starting the day with some meditation/mindfulness/prayer can set you up in the best frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Also, keep reading spiritual books, as they can inspire us and help us to see the bigger picture. What about revisiting some of the books that you read several years ago? Or what about the books that you bought, but have never got round to reading them? Well, now’s the time! You don’t have to read spiritual books though; there’s nothing wrong with reading a romance or a thriller if you want. The important thing is that it takes your mind off all that’s going on in the world. It gives your mind a break if you like. Sure, it’s a type of escapism, but that can do you good and give you a mental break from all that is going on outside.
Then there’s all those DVD’s (or perhaps videos?) you have on your shelves that you’ve never got round to watching. Perhaps there’s a box set that you’ve been meaning to watch? Again, this is something that you could do over a period of a few weeks perhaps. Whether its drama, Nature or comedy, they can all help to lift your spirits in their own way. After all, “Laughter is the best form of medicine” so they say. So, having a good laugh can help us tremendously.
Keeping in contact with your friends and relatives is also very important. Rather than just texting them, why not give them a ring, especially when most people have unlimited calls on their mobile phones? Or there’s a whole host of online platforms that you can use like Skype, Facetime and Zoom, to name a few. The advantage of these is that you can see the person’s face, which is almost like you’re in the same room with that person, even though they maybe many miles away. Sure, it might mean you have to learn how they work first of all, but at least in this day and age with the Internet all you have
to do is type in, “How do I …..?” and you should find an instructional video on You Tube or another website giving you the guidance and instructions you need. Take the lead. Don’t wait for them to contact you. I’ve made a list of friends, relatives and acquaintances that I’m going to contact over the next few weeks. You could do the same. Being stuck inside your home for weeks on end can wear you down, so speaking to someone and sharing your news or problems can lift you both up.
As it’s Spring, maybe you could do a bit of Spring Cleaning around your home? Or perhaps tidy out a cupboard or two? Or rearrange the furniture in a particular room if you fancy a change? What about doing some DIY jobs that need doing around the house? (as long as you’ve got the stuff you need). We as humans are all co-creators, so is there something that you can do that brings out your creative side? It could be writing that book that you’ve said you would write one day, or writing some poetry, or doing some drawing or painting or creating music? Is there are hobby that you could take up? Perhaps look into your Family History? Or find out about a certain subject, such as the natural world, a period in history or research another country? If you’re stuck for ideas do a search on the Internet.
That’s one thing we can be thankful for in all this – having the Internet with all the opportunities it brings. There’s so many things you can use it for, such as educating yourself, communicating with other people and listening to music. I can’t emphasise enough how listening to music or singing can lift your spirits. You could join an on line choir or other group perhaps, which again can take you out of yourself.
Exercising is also important. If you can’t go out of your home, you can still exercise indoors. If you’re not sure what to do, go online and look for a group that you could join or at least find some exercises that you could do. It doesn’t have to be that strenuous. What about some Tai Chi? If you are fortunate enough to be able to go outside, either in your garden or out for a walk, take some time to appreciate Nature. You might be struck by how quiet it all seems, then if you listen you may well hear some bird song. Or you might notice the blossom on the trees, or some colorful flowers in a garden. Inwardly give thanks for all this, as perhaps we are being shown that there is so much around us that we take for granted.
Obviously, it’s important to keep a balance in all these different activities, so maybe make a list of the different things you’d like to do, to work out which should take precedence. Perhaps having a timetable of what you’re going to do each day, or in the morning and afternoon might help.
If you are worried about the virus, or maybe you’ve suddenly got no money coming in due to the restrictions, it’s important that you share your thoughts with someone; maybe your partner, your parents, or a close friend. Remember there’s so many people in the same boat. You are not alone. Plus, there is help out there. Again search the Internet to see if anything comes up and keep listening to your Inner Voice. See how you are being guided. We are in a time of sudden and great change, but I am sure we will come through this. That is why it’s important to seek out help if you need it. Remember, when there’s a problem, there’s always a solution to deal with it!
One final thing, if you are one the Key Workers reading this, on behalf of myself and everyone reading this I would like to say a big THANK YOU! for all your dedication, bravery and commitment to helping us all to get through this. Try and relax and chill out when you’re at home as well, if you can. You are appreciated!
by Mark Chatterton
Author of “the Power of Thankfulness” published by Hadleigh Books
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