Today just happened to be one of those days when I looked outside the window. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze blowing but the temperature was good for the start of April. When I looked up to the sky it was blue and my window just framed how beautiful the sky was. I was filled with hope.
Yesterday, I did not feel that way though! It was dark! And by dark, I don't mean the sky. I mean in my head. I felt hopeless. I felt out of control. Overwhelmed. In fear mode and couldn't think of anything positive. Trying to keep it together for my daughter’s birthday but inside I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. So many things that were completely out of my control and it was filling me with anxiety.
In my head, I know the days ahead are going to be tough as we are just at the beginning of the Coronavirus Crisis. There are going to be more tears ahead I'm sure. Some days will not be as bright as today and some will be dark like yesterday, or darker.
What I do know is there will be change. We can't get away from that. We are part of history right now and when we look back in years to come we will remember this time and what we were doing in 2020! The hardships we faced. The hurdles we overcame and how it changed us forever.
There will be some incredibly good times within the bad. But we need to remember, even the worst times won’t last and when we get through we will have learned so much from this time in our life.
But how do we get through this tough time.
The trick is to enjoy the good times and search out the good times every single day and make the most of them, and to tolerate the rough times as they won’t last forever.
Have you ever noticed that the good times seem to go so fast and the bad times seem to last forever!
Think back to when you had to go in for a smear, it seemed like an eternity being in that room or that visit to the dentist (oh my god it just seems to take FOREVER! Whereas when you're taking a sixty minute dance fitness class it seems to go so quickly.
What we are dealing with though is focus.
When we are faced with something difficult, we tend to focus so intensely on it and trying to arrive with a solution that we end up in knots. This was me yesterday! Full on meltdown!!
As a result, we become frustrated, fearful, tearful and angry. What I was doing was trying to force a solution instead of allowing a solution to appear. Does that make sense?
Fear is a massive enemy to us all. Fear causes us to stay awake at night thinking of all the terrible things that could happen because of the problems we’re facing. This has been me, most nights for the last week or two! I have been so focussed on watching that Worldometer for the number of cases and deaths for coronavirus....that I have been training my brain just to focus on it. BIG MISTAKE!
It was only when I sat down and truly thought about what I was subconsciously doing that I realised I had been doing this.
This type of focus on fear is useless as it shakes everything inside of us and drains us of energy….again this was me.
Getting frustrated is normal. But we can’t dwell on the frustration. We need to do something else.
You may be thinking “what else? We are in a pandemic right now Jen?"
Here are some refocus tips that I will be using as my coping mechanism...and I know it works as I have used them in the past....I just got myself out of the habit.
You need to disconnect from the problem, and I don’t mean you can pretend it doesn’t exist. As it certainly does. But you can break focus with it.
When we force our minds to be totally focussed on the problem, and we don’t let it go, even for a short time, we then stop or mind from helping to figure out a solution. We need to let it go. We need to take a break from thinking about the problem.
Do whatever you can to break the focus.
If we focus on the problem too long we make the problem stronger.
It doesn’t matter the size of the problem we need to change how we look at the problem. Take our attention away from it regularly.
I found myself looking at the facts over and over again which was making the problem stronger in my mind and which was why I had a bit of a meltdown. I needed to look away from the facts of what was happening to something happier.
Some distraction tips...and I am sure you will be able to add more to the list but mine include
- Exercise (well that one was obvious). Not just going for a walk. Add in some home workouts too. If you can exercise twice per day, first thing in the morning and mid afternoon this will keep your happy hormones going and keep you sane!
- Dancing (even if it means putting music on in the kitchen and dancing as I tidy). Dance at any opportunity. It is a great mood lifter...
- Watching a positive feel good film (don't think watching a film and then putting something on that either scares the living daylights out of you or is so sad, about people dying, murder etc is going to help your mood) fill it with positive films, old classics, anything uplifting.
- I mentioned listening to music but again, you need to be listening to the right music. Ballads need to be OUT of the playlist at this time....sorry Adele, love you but if I listened to your music right now it would send me further down that black hole! Get some upbeat uplifting music. Whatever takes your jam. I love the 80s so will have it blasting out with New Kids On The Block, Bros (don't judge me) and dance stuff just avoid Mike and The Mechanics right now.
- Go for a walk (whilst you can). I love going out at sunset, at the end of the day and just be one with the elements and nature. It gives me time to think. It gives me time to appreciate everything I do have.
- Read a book - I am reading uplifting books. I love a good autobiography of women who have gone through tough times and come through stronger...check out Lean In!
- Upskill - If you find you have more time at home. Start upskilling so that when we get out of the crisis you have more skills in your toolbox. It may be learning more about social media. It may be knitting, CAD design, gardening. If you have hobbies, can you improve on them. Check out online course providers such as Udemy and start learning today. If you are looking to improve your camera skills and going live then check out my trainings too! I am constantly upskilling which is a great way to take your focus away from the crisis around us.
- Play a game - we love Jenga and Rummikub. I draw the line at Monopoly but whatever makes you smile.
If you break the focus you will notice the problem will appear less and less formidable. And somehow, you will figure out how to overcome the challenge.
Please don’t take my word for it though. Just try it and see for yourself. You have nothing to lose except your problems.
We can get through these tough times as we’re all in this together. I can hear High School Musical's "We're All In This Together" playing around my head right now.
So it's time I practice what I preach too, break the coronavirus focus, and I’m switching off the news and putting on a Disney Movie with the girls.
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