Hey there you, how’s it going? Thank you for taking a wee break from the #CoronaMayhem to check out this little ol’ blog post. Yaknow, at times we all think we are busy and somewhat out of control of things, and I certainly was guilty of thinking my life had gone a bit chaotic in 2020, but I never would have expected a situation like the one we are communally experiencing right now. The barriers are closing down, folks, the doors are edging shut and we are preparing for an unknown period of self-imposed isolation. As I write this morning, #QuarantineAndChill is trending in Ireland as we have finally settled into the idea of battening down the hatches. Which means, for many of us, we are going to have more uninterrupted time to stare into our phones and consume our chosen forms of “media”. News and information is consistent in its complete disparity and if you can be sure of one thing, it’s that none of us is sure of anything.
It’s tempting to let the mind wander into a slippery, sliding chasm of chaos as we sit and ponder just what the hell we should do next. Our minds are conditioned to prepare for the worst by wandering through scenarios of what if’s, and some of us are particularly prone to bouts of anxiety and despair in times of unknown. Today it is precisely 16 days since our first known case of Coronavirus on the island of Ireland; that’s 16 days between here and there, between normality and panic. In those days I have shared memes, retweeted scaremongering and in my own small way I have contributed to others’ feelings of discomfort and disquiet. So, in my own small way, I have also compounded my own sense of panic and anxiety and I have somehow managed to lose connection with the techniques that keep me grounded in the present, instead of being panicked and lost in the future.
A couple of days ago I shared an innocent video, one that I saw as funny and I inadvertently contributed to someone else’s experience of panic. It was completely unintended, but the damage was done and I couldn’t take it back. This has given me pause for thought as I become acutely aware of the unintended consquences of my actions. It has spurred me on and I have taken some time today to carve out my COVID_19 Manifesto. This is my pledge, not just to you, but to myself. This is my commitment to doing all I can to make things a little more easy, pleasant and tolerable for us all.
I will not share the shite, no matter how funny/true/shocking/revelationary etc.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of memes doing the rounds at the minute, and some of them are brilliantly hilarious, some of them are crass and most of them are forgettable. But the thing these memes all have in common is the cumulative potential to contribute to a sense of panic.
I’m not standing here clutching my pearls imploring you all to “please, think of the children!!” I’m just stating that from now on I’m not sharing the shite.
I also recognise that we are all on our own journey here, and there is very little I can say that hasn’t been said by multiple doctors at this stage. If someone is going to ignore medical advice and is seeing this isolation time as a holiday, then that’s their journey. There is no sense in amping up anxiety or frustration by engaging in online debates.
I’m checking out of the frantic shares and likes, and I’m going to consume some non-COVID media over the coming days.
I will keep my appointments…with myself
I don’t know about you, but I am a creature of habit. A big sense of connection with sanity, for me, comes from my ability to maintain a routine so I will be making every effort to preserve these times in my diary.
Tuesday nights I do yoga in Samadhi Drogheda, which means, on Tuesday nights my weekly yoga classes are all still going ahead…there just won’t be anyone else in the room! Mondays and Wednesdays are for swimming, so I will keep that appointment and take my ass jogging or do some resistance work at home.
And those coffee dates with friends and colleagues? We are going digital! I am scheduling e-coffees as much as possible and making every effort to not let my routine go out the window during this time. Wanna have a coffee? Drop me a line and let’s do it!
I will hydrate and sleep well
Working from home is standard fare for me now as I have been running my business full time from my home office since the end of last year. During this time I have nurtured some really strong habits around getting a good amount of water (approx. 3 litres per day) and great quality sleep.
I sleep like a baby for the first time in a very long time and this routine, I have learned, is essential in staying calm, content, and healthy. My routine won’t be hampered or impacted in this regard, but I need to intentionally ensure that my commitment to these vitally important practices doesn’t slip.
I will minimise stimulants
The world is running on Coronavirus chaos and panic right now and we are frantically trying to control the outcomes all over the place. Throw in coffee and alcohol on top of that and what do you get? I don’t even know what you get…but it probably won’t be good for stress levels!
I have stocked up on decaf coffee and herbal teas, and outside of my morning coffee, I will not be indulging in the anxiety fuel. Booze is a weekend indulgence for me, and I’m sticking to that commitment with myself. With a Coronavirus outbreak threat in our communities, our bodies have to be fighting fit right now, I just don’t want it fighting with itself!
I will maintain a positive connection
I will check in with those in my circles of friends and family on a regular basis to share words of positivity or motivation, to counter and quell the external panic. Everyone has their own experience of the situation, and great quality communication is hard at a distance. But a simple message of love or concern have the potential to make a huge difference.
I will meditate for 10 minutes daily
This is one of those habits I have on the good days when shit isn’t too busy and I remember to make time for myself. And then on other days, I realise I haven’t meditated in weeks because life has gone to Crazy Town.
Now I will prioritise this short practice and reserve 10 minutes to sit calmly, quietly and focus on my breath. This is going to be one of the most important daily practices any of us can do, now more than ever. I’ve set an alarm for the same time every day and my commitment to myself is to drop everything and take those 10 minutes when the alarm sounds. Coronavirus panic shouldn’t get in the way of self-care!
I won’t get stuck on “what if’s”
This is going to be hard for me as I naturally focus a lot of mental energy on being prepared for every eventuality. I am changing my thought process and I will consciously disregard any musing that is preceded with “what if…”
What if I lose all my clients? What if we are stuck like this for months? What if the sky goes purple?! What if, what if, what if. Nothing good has ever come from getting stuck on “what if”.
I will do all I can to support small businesses…from a distance.
I am self-isolating and for now, to me, that means not attending social gatherings or spending time in shared spaces. But that doesn’t mean I can’t support the people in my community.
I will buy from local restaurants by paying over the phone and collecting in-person. I will share good news stories on my social media. I will praise and share all the innovative solutions I see being developed. I will support with kind words and messages when I can. I will spend my money locally where I can, and refer business when I see it. And when this all blows over I commit to planning a staycation here in Ireland and channelling money back into our community.
I will put my brain to work at the Corona University
I read this morning in this tweet that “in 1665, Cambridge University closed b/c of the plague. Issac Newton quarantined himself at his childhood home. It was the most productive time of his life. He discovered the calculus & laws of motion. Stuck a bodkin in his eye to study optics. How will you spend the next year?”
I will write & commit to a #CoronaUniversity list of shit to conquer. I’m not going anywhere for a while, so what can I put my mind to in the meantime? I probably won’t get a hold of calculus or optics, but there is no reason I can’t get to work on one of my many illusive projects!
What’s on your family’s manifesto?
Look, let’s not beat around the bush, these times are unprecedented. None of us, even the most experty of experts, really knows what’s going to happen next. We could be facing days, weeks or months of complete upheaval (see how easily those “what if’s” creep in?!) and disruption to our normal lives. I think, regardless of what happens here, we are going to see a permanent step change in how our lives run.
But for now, I am responsible for one, singularly, minute little thing…I am responsible for me. I am responsible for how I think, how I behave and how I interact with my community. My manifesto is an important commitment to myself and my emotional resilience in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, but also to the people around me. I encourage you to consider your own COVID Manifesto, maybe even extending it to your family and creating some boundaries between your flock and the panic or mayhem outside.
Whatever you do, I wish you strength, health and perseverance in these crazy times. We are set to learn more about ourselves and each other, and I’m leaning into the experience with an open heart. Good luck!
I’m writing my #COVIDManifesto with @TamaraHowardCo1Tweet
Tamara is the self-proclaimed Unqualified Blogger. She is a Marketing Communications / Brand Consultant and Creative Generalist. She is available for speech writing, tattoo conventions and karaoke parties or would love to work with you on your latest marketing or creative challenges. Stay in touch on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Contact her directly.