Yes, I know – “Not another story on Covid-19 topic, I can’t take it anymore”. This seems to be a general mood around me, and I can see why. This year was kind of a marathon through all kinds of negative emotions and feelings, pushing the limits on fear, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, and irritation. As it comes to its end, we’re still struggling, many of us on the border of pandemic fatigue.
5 ways to make this winter easier
And really, now that the days are so short and the weather isn’t that friendly, spending most of the day inside and finishing the work day when the daylight is long gone, makes me lose my spirit.
But there’s got to be some way to make it through this winter. Some ideas might be well known already, but repetition is learning. Even more, they can be applied for the work-from-home life and the private hours also. Here are 5 ways you can make your life easier this winter:
#1 First of all: stay healthy!
Physical and mental health are both important. Some exercise in the morning, a bit of stretching, some 5-minutes sit-ups during the day, fresh fruits and vegetables should give you a boost of good energy. Keep away from the news as much as possible. Some of these activities were present in our office life, by walking there, taking the stairs, talking with the colleagues on a break while standing or getting a cup of coffee. We just tend to forget to do the same at home.
I’d add here a little trick to get into the work mood. For some months, I’d snooze the alarm until 10 minutes before starting working. It would have taken me at least another hour to really focus. Then I’ve started using a different alarm. It forces me to take an action (like taking a photo of an object in the kitchen) before switching it off. A free hour and a half before working seems like a luxury now.
#2 Take a moment to cherish the good moments
As far as I’m concerned, bad times can teach you humility and gratitude. Looking behind, I see a lot of memories and moments to be grateful for, which maybe I’ve taken for granted at that time. Moreover now, when many people are now struggling with losing their jobs, at least for a while. As much as I miss a good morning coffee and talking face to face with my peers, I consider myself lucky, working from the comfort of my home and being able to pay all the bills.
#3 Learning from our elders – it can’t be as bad as it seems
During my childhood I heard many stories from my grand and grand-grand-parents. They were all about times I can’t imagine living. Food shortages, illnesses, lack of utilities, working for more than 10 hours a day, walking to work through big snow blockages, while leaving some sticks as path signs. Maybe seeing or hearing a kid on a conference call isn’t that much of a big deal anyway.
Yes, their resilience was forced by the times they were living. But everything can be learnt. We have access to so much information on self-development and yet, my grandma has the secret of living in the present. Her day always ends with saying: “If God lets me live another day, I’ll get to do that <insert any activity here>!”. Or, in other words: “Hakuna Matata”!
#4 Looking for opportunities – Some thrive in really bad times
I’m underlying again the idea that we’re living a historical moment. There’s a lot of external change and uncertainty. But I see it as the best time to make internal changes. To make a mindset shift. When all this ends, the world won’t get back exactly as it was before. We should wonder what will change permanently and get ready for it.
A new perspective might spark new development ideas and new things to learn, professional skills – or a new hobby, why not?
#5 Improvise – adapt – overcome
It’s always easier to focus on what you can control, and let go on what you can’t. Yes, you can’t physically take a break with a good friend or a colleague, all while sipping a good coffee. But when I need it, I was able to set up a morning video meeting on Skype with a good friend. And it felt good to chit-chat for half an hour, with a warm cup of tea, without leaving my fluffy inside-clothes. It’s not the real experience, but it’s as close as it can get. And on this weather, doesn’t it really sound good?
Now that I’m good – what can I do for those around me?
I hope that passing through all the ideas above gets to a lift of spirit. We need to take care of ourselves first, so we can get to help others.
For the people living with us, we can enjoy all kinds of activities together: games, music, movies, cartoons, cooking a nice meal. It’s a time we wished to have, now it’s here.
Then we can reach out to those who aren’t near us. Calling to ask how they are, seeing them online, online gaming and drinks night, sharing some of these ideas, sending some kind of care-package, would surely make them feel a bit better.
A takeaway for you
I’ll end with an assignment for you: try to find a way to celebrate a safe but warm Christmas – it might be a unique one, like this really peculiar year. And let’s hope the next one will help make this one a faded memory.