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How to Find peace, joy and hope during COVID-19 turmoil ?

वि.सं.२०७६ चैत २३ आइतवार

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It has been around 20 days since I am on lock down in Austin, Texas and many people are locked down for more days in other parts of the world. Life has come to a long pause. The COVID-19 threat has put almost the entire world on a halt. Everything is closed. People are getting tired of nothingness – no more dinner outside, or hanging out with friends, no more parties and more importantly, no more seeing other people.

We are social creatures and this isolation has taken away the social aspect of our life. We are confined to reach our loved ones and friends only through the phone. It can get frustrating and boring – to skim out the phone through news and social media. Even more, it can be panic-inducing to see so much trouble caused by the virus – including deaths, people’s sufferings, financial crisis, stories about loss of humanity and so many other uncertainties.

Keeping yourself peaceful, hopeful and courageous can be difficult during the moment when everything around us is filled with so much pain, sufferings and uncertainties. That is why, it is even more important to maintain this peace and hope because if we do not, it is very easy for us to fall into the trap of this chaos.

I have included some ways that you can apply to maintain your daily balance:

(i) Stick closer to your normal routine: If you are currently working from home, you might have stopped dressing up or taking shower every morning. Steps like this will make you feel less productive or bored. Simple self- care techniques like taking shower or dressing up boosts your mood and aids in more energy and productivity at work. Even if you are not currently working, making a daily routine and following it will encourage you to be productive. Make a ‘TO-DO’ list at the beginning of the day to figure out what you want to achieve that particular day. Making a list will give you a clear idea of how you want to spend your day plus it will give a clear picture if you have not been productive.

(ii) Limit Social Media & News: We all are very worried about the uncertainties the world is currently facing and want to gather information of what is happening all around the world. In this process, we might end up overfeeding ourselves with all the news and get overwhelmed. Be mindful of what you are feeding your brain with. Even though you watch the news with the intention of knowing what is happening globally, sometimes this might fuel up too much negativity and uncertainty to your brain – which will affect your overall well-being. The best idea is to expose yourself to the news and media only upto the point that is useful for you. If you find yourself growing anxious or overwhelmed, refrain from the use of news and social media.

(iii) Focus Inward: In the past, how many times have you said to yourself, “Only if I had enough time, I would have done this and that’. Well, the good thing is now you have that time. So, use this time to do what you have always wanted to do for yourself. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn acrylic painting, or learn zumba or focus on opening up your spirituality – well now is the time to do it. Rather than opening and closing social media apps and getting bored, irritated and frustrated, use this time to explore yourself. Find out what it is that you want to really experience in this lifetime. Find out what makes you feel lively and excited. FIND YOUR INNER SELF.

(iv) Find Positives: I know it can really be hard to find positives when all the talk around us is of turmoil caused by Covid-19. However, looking for positives helps you to stay happy and peaceful. If you look around, you will see a lot of positives. One positive thing is that this lock-down has allowed you to spend more time with your loved one. The other positive is that people are more aware of sanitation globally and now they know the importance of washing hands and using sanitizer. This will forever change the sanitation awareness globally. Another positive is realizing the fact that how important social interaction is to us – when we go back in the regular world – we will learn to appreciate that handshake, hug or even a stranger’s smile. One more positive thing is that the environment pollution has dramatically gone down since the lock-down. Hopefully this statistics will encourage the governments, institutions and people globally to be mindful of environmental conservation in future. Keep looking for the positives around. You will find a ton.

(v) Keep Laughing: Laughter is the most inexpensive and effective medicine for stress, anxiety and the immune system. Studies have shown that laughing reduces stress, anxiety and boosts your immune system – which will increase your capacity to fight with disease and make you happier. During turmoils like this, it is easy to forget laughter. We might be too serious or stressed all the time. Let that seriousness fade away and let your inner child come out all giggling and happy. Find comedy shows to watch, play games with your kids or loved ones, dance to your favorite song or watch Laughter Yoga videos and laugh along. You can find many ‘ Laughter Yoga’ videos on youtube. Do not let the turmoil rob away your joy – for joy is what you have always strived for – It is your biggest asset and don’t let anything take that away from you.

(vi) Appreciate Little Things: How many times have you paused to enjoy the sound of rain by closing your eyes or enjoy the coffee aroma by smelling it. Trust me, if you allow yourself, you can find immense joy in little things like this. We are trained to run from one thing to another, to check-mark one after the other items from our ‘TO-DO’ list, yet, even worse, we are trained to multi-task. This robs our opportunity to enjoy our experiences in life. Next time when you make a delicious meal – pause – and pat yourself for being such an amazing cook. Next time you make coffee for yourself – pause – and smell that delicious aroma. Next time it rains, step to your backyard, close your eyes and meditate on the sound of rain and smell of earth – trust me, it’s an amazing experience. Next time the sun shines, step outside in the sun, smile and embrace that sunlight fully. Appreciating little things makes our life experiences so much more fulfilling. It opens up our heart and our innocence and gives us immense joys and happiness.

(vii) Lead with your Heart: With so much happening around us, it’s very natural for our brain to be filled with anxious thoughts of uncertainties, doubts and fears. If you let it, it is very easy to make yourself miserable and in pain. That is why, it is very important to lead our life from our heart rather than our brain. Our brain is continuously collecting and processing bits and pieces of information. Over 95% of the time, it is filled with garbage. How many times have you found yourself sitting to meditate – and a random memory of some distant uncle talking about some stuff that absolutely makes no sense or is of no importance – comes to your mind? What I am trying to say is that your brain keeps throwing bits and pieces of useless information all the time. If you start engaging with thoughts in your brain, you will miss the current experience of life. So, do not give importance to the thoughts that pop up in your brain – rather focus on what you are currently doing or what you want to do for this particular day. Allow your heart to open up and make decisions from your heart that is filled with love, hope, peace and the authentic you.

(viii) Stay physically active: Being physically active is very important for our well-being. It helps in uplifting our mood, increasing our energy level and keeping us pumped up. While staying at home, we might fall in the trap of being a couch potato. This will decrease our motivation to do anything and as a result – lowers our energy level and makes us feel depressed. So, stay in the habit of doing at least 30 minute of workout daily. Wherever you currently are with your physical health, find 30 minute daily to pump yourself up. It might be running in a treadmill, lifting weights, dancing to your favorite music, doing yoga, walking up and down the stairs multiple times, jogging at the same place or gardening or anything else that fits you. This will help you stay active and energetic as well as give you a sense of accomplishment – hence boosting your self-esteem.

I hope the above tips will help you to find some inner peace, joy and hope during this turmoil. Stay safe and keep laughing.

वि.सं.२०७६ चैत २३ आइतवार २१:४१ मा प्रकाशित

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