There’s a terrible battle going on inside our minds, according to an old Cherokee. Two wolves are battling to see which will take over. One is negative — full of dread, fear, regrets, resentment, criticism, and doubt. The other wolf is good — full of joy, appreciation, love, compassion, and clarity.
Which wolf will win?
The one you feed the most, right?
Today if your mind gets overwhelming, ask yourself: What can I do to create some space? Then do it: Take a walk, practice deep breathing, or simply sit in stillness.
We are always going to think and feel. There is no escape from the mind. Whether or not it’s a prison is entirely up to us.
These are unprecedented times. I’ve read and used this line myself a lot in the last four months while the world is consumed by the coronavirus. In the last month, I’ve heard news about how the virus has impacted our friends and family. Some of who lost their battle with the virus. Some others quarantined indoors, their homes sealed, fear, stigma, worry, money woes, job loss, separated from loved ones, lack of hospital facilities, doctors and hospital staff shortage, 12 plus hour delay in ambulance pickups as people lost lives waiting, crime increase including mugging, domestic violence and crimes against women.
I’ve made a conscious effort to care for myself during this time – physical, mental and spiritual well being. It’s not easy to remain unaffected by the bad news around us. I have my good days and my bad days but I try to keep calm and centered and try to live deliberately each day. When anxiety rises because we’re facing a distressing threat like the coronavirus, we need to focus on what tends to work for us to ease anxiety — that, plus doing a little bit more of some actions and a little bit less of others.
Keep these thoughts in mind. You’re fully prepared to help yourself. You can take steps to calm and steady yourself. Remember what works for you — because as fellow humans we’re not so dissimilar, but we do tend to have our own preferences and best practices.
By making everything in my environment a deliberate choice that adds value to my life, I have gradually designed an environment that is conducive to becoming the person I want to become. Here are five things that help me a great deal :
- Choose the activities I spend my time on – Listening to classical music/chants, lighting incense, meditation/yoga/breathing/exercise, making art, reading a book, writing for my blog, tending to my garden, walking 10,000 steps daily indoors, solving sudokus and crosswords, read the newspaper, spending time with my dogs, cooking, organizing a part of the house, self care, catch a light movie or documentary with my husband, have all our meals together, spending time with my husband and getting a good nights sleep.
- Who I spend my time with – talking or chatting with online, including WhatsApp groups I interact with. Connecting with friends and loved ones through video chats, phone calls, texting, and email really helps me to feel the strength of my connections to my friends and loved ones, even though I may not be with them in person. However, I’ve muted or opted out of toxic WhatsApp groups that circulate stressful information, have heated arguments and opinions. I’m also only in touch with people who truly matter to me and I to them. My time is precious and I want to give it to people I love and respect.
- Spend the first hour of my day on something meaningful – Designing my life starts with designing my days. When I started living deliberately in small ways (like mKing my bed, preparing and enjoying and savouring a meal) I opened up the possibility of doing so in much bigger ways.
- Choose to not do certain things – This has meant reducing or eliminating certain activities like watching the news, browsing news online, spending too much time online or on a device. I stick with credible sources for medical information so I can avoid misinformation about the virus and the illness it causes. I don’t overdose on hype or worry or misinformation. I get some regular updates from credible sources in the morning and check again briefly toward the end of the day. There’s no need to stay tuned in 24/7 — it can actually make your anxiety much, much worse.
- Take practical steps to lessen risk of catching the new coronavirus
Eight healthy, sensible steps I’ve taken:
- Avoid stepping out (stay home save lives) especially unnecessary travel and crowds. I order groceries online too.
- We don’t have any house help, we do our own chores like cleaning and cooking.
- Wear a mask when I step outside
- Eat healthy,fresh, nutritious food
- Exercise and walk 10,000 steps indoors everyday
- Sip on hot herbal teas all day
- Include warming, healing spices and herbs as part of my diet
- Wash my hands often with soap and water and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene and cleanliness.
- Keep my hands away from my face, especially my eyes, mouth, and nose.
Tap into other ways you like to relax, too. Maybe you like dancing, playing online games or watching sci-fi movies. Eat the familiar foods that you always enjoy. Stay in contact with your friends and loved ones. Reaching out can help you and help them.
We’re all on this journey together. News about the virus will likely grow worse, then grow better. Listen to public health experts who can help us navigate the path ahead. Take sensible steps that can help us all: get your bearings, practice good hygiene, use calming strategies that work for you — and maybe try something new. Making healthy, reasonable choices about what to do and what not to do will make a big difference in being able to stay as safe and as well as possible.