Have you been taking care of yourself during the pandemic?
Posted on June 15 2020
For many, especially millennials, 2020 has been somewhat a challenging and distressing year. It feels as though we were thrown off course when Corona Virus hit.
Have you been feeling anxious?
I feel that it is important to discuss anxiety. A lot of people shy away from this topic, however, as a topic we know first hand to be quite distressful, we want everyone to know that they are not alone.
Since the intrusion of the Pandemic, anxiety has been on the rise. According to the Guardian, 'the coronavirus epidemic is causing increased stress and anxiety, particularly people with existing mental health problems, practitioners and campaigners have said.' This is especially true as we have been asked to stay at home, only go out when necessary and to keep social distancing. After a few weeks, we feel that it can really get to you. Again, this is especially true for those who already are anxious people.
Maybe it is best to give you a bit of background about us. For a couple of years now, we each had our fair share of anxiety and one of our biggest mistakes was to keep our thoughts and fears inside and let that build up. At times, we felt ashamed for having these thoughts and we didn't really know who to talk to. As you may already know, we come from an Arab background, where anxiety is not treated as a serious problems ... yet it happens to so many. So truth be told, we felt like this stigma had to change and as people with this condition, we really encourage you to deal with your emotions and to be a shoulder to anyone who may be facing challenges.
The problem with not discussing your feelings or knowing how to cope with them, is that they build up and later feel like you do not know how to reverse time and be okay again. It is important to know that at any point of time, you can reverse your anxiety and cope with this.
Tips to overcome anxiety during the pandemic
I would like to share the steps that my sisters and I have taken together and how we help each other feel better.
Do something you love
As we previously mentioned, the idea of LALOU came to existence one day when we (3 sisters) were sitting down in France on a cold winter eve. The reason why we were discussing ideas and keen to do something was because we wanted to do something we love with each other and to encourage / help one another from letting anxiety control our happiness. Ultimately, anxiety is usually a fear of something that does not exist but you fear it anyways. When you have a lot of time to think about that problem, something so small can become something massive and out of control. We wanted to reverse that.
So we invested time and effort to work on our LALOU project. After countless discussions, we realised that each of us has a skill and it would be good to put it into practice. We always knew that we wanted to sell affordable, chic, beautiful jewellery pieces but we never knew how much this would help us individually. Everyday we sit and brainstorm together and come up with new and exciting ideas. You don't have to start your own business, you might love to do something else ... the point is do something you enjoy with people you love and you will then see how your focus shifts.
Talk to others
When I was younger, I felt everyone around me was super happy and I felt like I didn't want to be a burden on anyone by discussing my problems. But with time I realised that even when someone looks super happy, it doesn't necessarily mean they are. You come to realise that everyone has their own problems and each problem is as significant as any other person. You will learn to recognise your real friends and then stick with those who genuinely care for you. Apart from my family, I know I have two very genuine girlfriends (I have more friends, but I am talking about those who pull you through) that check in daily and that just makes everything so much better. With the pandemic, it becomes even more difficult to feel like you can talk to people, but honestly ... aren't you so happy that we have technology? We might not be able to see our friends, but we can definitely commit to time and talk to them. Point is, don't keep anything in. Let it out because you might just realise that you aren't alone in this. And please, never think you are a burden on anyone... you will be surprised how many good people there are in the world.
I am sure you have come across this term before. Actually, I read a bit about it before the pandemic but became more obsessed with it since the pandemic. I am still at the very early stages where the impact doesn't show yet, but it teaches you to get in the habit of living in the present moment and being grounded. I focus so much on the pain of my past and the worries of my future that I never really live in the moment. I can't remember the last time I felt like I am living today for today. I usually live today for yesterday or today for 10 years down the line. Mindfulness gives you the opportunity to actively bring your mind back to the moment and it helps improve the energy around you. Even if it is for 20 minutes a day, those 20 minutes are very important for your well-being. Also yes, I am also a victim of just sitting there, breathing and breathing out and then my mind goes back to my thoughts. The beauty of this is you can then tell your mind that now is important and to surrender. Find your safe haven, try it and let me know your thoughts!
Another tactic that I am sure you have heard of is yoga. So I am not flexible at all and I don't really enjoy working out (I do encourage it as it does help, but I am not there just yet... and that is okay. I will get there). You can easily find different lessons on YouTube, but my favourite yoga instructor is 'Yoga with Adriene' and more specifically her session - Yoga for Bedtime. This is a 20 minute unwind session and it really puts you in a state of rest. You have various activities to do here, but what I like most about it is the stretching and the different breathing movements. Definitely worth it.
Especially with the pandemic, when at home my mind feels heavy. I feel overwhelmed and always 'on my toes'. At 5:45 PM when I take our dog Chester for a walk in the park, that level of stress weakens and almost disappears. You don't actually notice the value of fresh air until you have been stuck at home... but it works WONDERS and I encourage you dress up and go for a walk.
A lot of people say journaling is good - I find it affective when I am not filling my pages with rage. When I find myself writing down negative thoughts, I now stop myself from writing all together. Instead I try to write 3 positive affirmations a day in my notes. This reminds me that although times can be tough, the world offers a lot of goodness that we should be thankful for. I also write thank you notes to myself. I realised that as a person who self criticises a lot, it is important for me to start appreciating who I am and loving the person I have grown to be. It is important to realise that you are good enough and to also see the value that you bring to the world, to yourself, to those around you. Not everyone will see it and that is why you should really focus on those who do see it... not those who don't. By doing this, with time, you will really start to value yourself more and have a more positive outlook to life.
There is a lot more you can do...
The tips provided above aren't the only things to do, but small things that can make you feel better and more grounded. We do other activities such as paint, read every night for 30 minutes, cook meals, talk with our friends, watch movies and get a good night sleep. I only highlighted the ones that I believe are having the biggest impact on me (could be different for you). Please note that I am very aware that results won't appear right away, but perseverance is key. It will eventually work and that is what I like to believe.
As I previously mentioned, dressing up is also a mood booster. As I don't go out much, for my day-to-day wear - I put on my Aspen Earrings. It makes me feel prettier and for me... that is important.
Please do let me know if you have any questions - although I am not an expert in this topic, I am more than happy to share my experience with you.