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Self-reflection in times of coronavirus

words by Camille Benard

March 25, 2020

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Even though isolation can be a hard and challenging time, focusing on the good things that surround you is always a way to make you feel better. So make some space, in your living area and in your head, focus on family and on friends, online or in your household, remember that this isn’t forever, and keep checking in with yourself, making sure you are taking care of yourself first. Reflecting on your isolation time and on the things you do can help you be more mindful of yourself and of the people around you.

Something that could have potentially created distance between us has amplified online communities like never before. As we share our struggles and achievements, isolation has become a communal experience. For example, the whole yoga community is teaching lessons online, and some teachers are giving live classes on Instagram and on Zoom. Some of our favourites are @_misha.patel and @lahoodyoga. These help us to stay grounded and feel part of a bigger community, that uplifts and motivates each other. What is currently being created online shows the true solidarity that there is between us. 

During these trying times, my family and I like to remotely play the “glad game”. We say out loud things we are glad about or things we are grateful for, and we do this for as long as we can. Even though the isolation and quarantine time is tough, it’s necessary to remember what we do have and make the most out of it. If you are reading this, then one thing you can be glad about is the Internet, and how it rallies us together, creates a tight-knit community and unites us like never before. Staying in contact with loved ones is possible, thanks to the digital era we live in, our phones and computers. 

Whether you are quarantining with your family or with friends, this is also the time to spend some quality time together. Life can become a little overwhelming normally, and taking some time without phones and distractions with your household could seem like a hard task. But isolating with people can really let you connect or reconnect with them. Cooking together, playing board games or simply dancing together to music… Making the most of the time you have with the people you live with is a luxury that everyone does not have during this quarantine. Whether it is playing with your children and helping them with homeschool work, or sitting down and chatting to your flatmate, this time can let you reconnect with the people you love.

This quarantine gives us the opportunity to slow down. For the people who are working from home or simply isolating, we have left behind the stress and time of our daily commute, giving us some needed calm in our day to day life. The two hours I would normally spend on the bus and tube are now hours I have for myself. No more stressful mornings and fully packed trains, this is an opportunity for us to take a step back. One way you can do this is by looking at the space around you and rediscovering it. That could be your flat, house, garden or even your balcony. Move the furniture around, plant some flowers, get into all the little nooks you don’t pay attention to normally. This can help you make some space in your head to be calmer and more focused on your day to day tasks.

Making space in your living space is great, but making space in your head is just as important. With the natural uncertainty of life amplified right now, meditating can be a good way to take some time purely for yourself. We do not know what the next couple of weeks (or days!) will hold and governmental rules shift and change with time as they try to adapt to the outbreak. Meditation will allow you to take time for mental awareness and to check in with yourself, see how you are feeling. So many platforms offer guided meditation for all levels. We recommend the app Insight Timer, as they have a wide array of free guided meditations. Taking space in your head might also mean doing at-home workout or yoga sessions, or taking the time to cook. You can take this as an opportunity to try new recipes and cook healthier and better things than you would normally. Hasna, our CEO, has seen an improvement in the food they’ve eaten since isolation, as she has more time to prep and cook!

Not only do we have more time for ourselves to think and to do the things we love, but it is also a time for the earth to breathe. All over the world, pollution levels are going down and nature is flourishing. Dolphins have been seen in the port of Cagliari, monkeys in Thailand and deers in Tokyo. Even though this is a tremendously hard time for all the people that are touched in some way or another by this virus, focusing on the positive news during this pandemic is necessary to keep sane. Staying at home is primordial, but overloading yourself with negative news can have a toll on your mental health. Focusing on the bright side is one way to keep sane during this pandemic. 

This might make us realise that we need to rethink the system we live in. Giving more space to nature to thrive in, and working more online. Online platforms and communication are thriving, and maybe we could implement some of that back into our lives after this pandemic is over. But for the meanwhile, stay home and learn to appreciate the things around you.

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