Real-life Cape Town lockdowners. Imagine if the bulk of humanity came out of the COVID 19-crisis fitter…
Ok, so lockdown ain’t anyone’s lifestyle of choice and we’re painfully aware that many South Africans can’t follow all these moves. But if there’s just ONE life-giving thing you can do on this page, we’ll be cheering you all the way! Cape Town wellbeing and relationship coach SALLY BINGHAM shows us how to find lockdown’s silver linings
It sounds very grown up, but being intentional about your lockdown will help you come out smiling the other end, and even with a new direction and purpose. It may be tempting to binge-watch Netflix and eat crisps all day, but you’ll probably finish up feeling bleh rather than blessed
1. LIVE PURPOSEFULLY Go gently on yourself. With so much change, uncertainty and loss at the start of lockdown, you may well feel tired, frustrated and lacking in focus. This will pass, and when it does, you can create your new routine. Come back here when you’re feeling stronger! Ok, ready to go? Start with delineating work and ‘play’. Helpful structure and proactively making choices are our allies when so much is out of our control right now. What time will you get up? When will you start work/home schooling/your purpose? When will you break for lunch, finish work, etc? Choose productivity over procrastination, but make time to rest, too.
TakIng the lunge. Really challenge that bod, and you’ll be floating on endorphins for much of your lockdown. Plus, muscle strength builds immunity
2. KEEP MOVING Accustomed to exercise? Keep at it. Been ‘self-isolating from exercise’ for a while? This is your moment. Be inspired by Frenchman Elisha Nochomovitz who ran a marathon in under seven hours on his seven-metre balcony to create positive vibes about home-based exercise. Choose the what, and do it! Walk, skip, jog, sit-ups, step-ups, even push-ups on a kitchen counter: any up, down, forward or backward will get you feeling great and thinking more clearly. Need further inspiration? Research indicates that muscle strength increases immunity, and evidence already suggests that people who do their 10 000 steps per day fight coronavirus better. Imagine if the bulk of humanity were to come out of this crisis fitter!
Ten minutes a day is a great start and should also help lift your mood. Incorporate physicality into your day (e.g. walking on your tiptoes while waiting for the kettle to boil, standing up from a chair without using the arms). If you’re in lockdown with others, why not create a mini gym circuit in your home and do it with your fellow lockdowners? You may not have standard gym equipment but use cans of soup for weights, improvise a skipping rope, climb up and down steps or boxes. Group exercise is fun 🙂
To prove that wellbeing coach Sally is putting her money where her mouth is, here’s a sneak peek of her going up and down (and up and down) her garden steps during lockdown
HERE’S EVEN MORE INSPIRATION TO GET MOVING!
Dark chocolate can improve cognitive processing, suggests a recent study. That’s why the Thislife team are such brainiacs 🙂
3. EAT FOR LIFE Mindfully choose what and when you eat and drink. You’ll feel better snacking on fruit and veg rather than responding to the endless call from the biscuit tin. Cut up your healthy snacks into bite-sized pieces. You’ll eat more of them that way, so there’s not too much room for less edifying foodstuffs. This said, the occasional treat is a psychological imperative! Consider including dark chocolate, which can even improve memory and cognitive processing, according to a recent study at California’s Loma Linda University.
For healthy meal suggestions to keep your immunity up, consider following The Lunchbox Doctor on Facebook.
4. CONNECT INTENTIONALLY Create moments to connect with friends and family, as well as anyone isolated or lonely. Think about people who ordinarily only see others at work, a place of worship or at a weekly gathering. Reach out to them, be kind. A phone call can make all the difference to someone’s day.
Tell your soulmates how you’re really feeling. If you’re not okay, say so. Ask others how they’re feeling. If you feel you need additional support, consider scheduling a phone/video call with a life coach, psychologist or counsellor. For many this is an unsettling, bewildering and scary time but in abnormal times, these are normal feelings.
Side note: social media connects us in remarkable ways, but try to do more with your three weeks than WhatsApp yourself into a coma: can you meet the challenge to look at something other than a phone when you get into bed? Maybe journal, write a gratitude list, page through old photo albums, draw, listen to the radio or an audio book?
This lady is holding a book. A book is nice to read 🙂
5. CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT Read a book (or listen to one): download one of the many free Audible books that have become available during the pandemic.
Play a game, sit outside, teach yourself a new hobby, develop an existing talent or try a new recipe. Gardening, making or fixing things can also bring a great sense of accomplishment. Resist numbing your feelings with too much screen time. It has a place but be intentional about how you use your time and set limits, even for watching the news.
Still looking for things to do? Here’s the gift of time. Why not set a daily alarm on your phone to think through where you are in life, and where you’d like to be headed? If you’re fortunate enough to have good internet, the UK’s Open University has hundreds of free online courses to browse through. And here are five more platforms offering technical and other free courses to bolster your skillset.
6. REFLECTION AND QUIET Whether you pray, meditate, read scripture, practise mindfulness or journal your thoughts, be sure to do it. It has the power to bring calm and peace into the midst of dis-ease. Not feeling these tactics but a little anxious? Embrace tactical breathing. (Take a deep breath in through your nose and expand your chest to the count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale all your breath squeezing in your tummy to the count of four and hold for the count of four. Repeat. Repeat.)
Ever wondered if there’s more to life than this? Consider Alpha, an online course that’s focused on the questions of life, faith and meaning, with space to discuss and ask any questions in lively group video sessions. It’s coming online shortly so if you’re in SA, get in touch with the Alpha team who can help you find a course to suit you. Living elsewhere? The SA team say they will connect you with a local contact.
Magic words that can make your lockdown so much better
7. PRACTISE GRATITUDE Look for things for which you’re thankful. The small moments of joy, beauty, provision, people. Beyond yourself, express gratitude (keeping your two metre distance) to those who continue to work and serve us, be it the delivery person, medical staff, key municipal workers and others. Give generously according to your means. If you’re in Cape Town, consider contacting Ian or Theresa of Ikhaya Le Themba, an NPO delivering donations of essentail supplies to vulnerable communities: telephone 083 410 1148 or 083 616 4245. See this Facebook post for inspiration.
PS FOR INTROVERTS Don’t get sucked into the temptation not to connect at all: it will make emerging from social distancing so much more difficult. Stay connected, even if via a daily call with a friend. Put this daily connection point in your calendar.
PPS FOR THE EXTROVERTS This time will pass. Connect and chat with people online often, schedule participation in live stream events or group video chats. Resist the saboteur’s claim that ‘this little social outing won’t make a difference’. It could result in the death of someone four people along in the chain. Every social interaction has the potential to spread the virus further. Stay strong.
Look out for Thislife’s upcoming Facebook challenge, with useful tips and tools to help you positively implement the ideas above. Follow us on Facebook right now so you don’t miss it, or sign up for the challenge here. We’d love you to connect with us by adding your own ideas, pics and comments!
And finally, find ways to laugh, and laugh out loud. It’s good for you and highly contagious.
‘Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation’
— Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor