For those of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know I struggle with anxiety (severe at times) and bouts of depression, so when hell broke loose a few weeks ago, I was extremely stressed to the point I couldn’t think clearly.
Luckily over the years I’ve developed a bit of resilience and a set of coping mechanisms to help me manage my anxiety and quickly get back in control when my stress levels reach dangerous highs.
So, after the initial shock and panic my survival instincts kicked in and I thought I’d put together a video with what’s been helping me stay sane under lockdown (can’t believe it’s been three weeks already!).
These are the the 10 activities I do most frequently to help me and a few links of books, Ted talks, TV programs etc I mention in the video (more details on each in the video):
- Exercise. I’ve been doing my daily yoga with my favourite gal (https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene/playlists), she posts a monthly playlist with videos for each day. I need more exercise though since I’ve been sitting a lot, so any recommendations please comment below!
- Music. I somehow stopped listening as much, I don’t really know why, but now I listen and sing every day. Music, food, remedy for the soul, I keep reminding myself that. Thank God for music. In the video I hum a song by my favourite Cypriot musician Mr Costas Kakoyiannis (Αν κοντα σου μεγαλωσω- If I grow up with you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2x3CqSIaJ8) and I try to play and sing I’ll be your mirror, the Velvet Underground cover, on my guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMeZCPbM6bA)
- Going out. Of course we are not allowed and shouldn’t go out all the time but I try to go out once or twice a week, pop to the shop, just to feel I can be outside.
- Reading. I love reading, in the winter with a blanket and a cuppa, in the summer, at the beach, on a plane, on a train. Since I started my first EFL teaching job I had very little free time to read but I’m so happy now I have time. I recommend a couple of books in the video (e.g. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis and the Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances White, check out her podcast too, she is brilliant).
- Diet. It’s so difficult to stop snacking when living a sedentary life, but I stopped buying too many and/or too unhealthy snacks so I don’t end up binge-eating all day.
- Catching up with friends. Keeping in touch with friends and family is vital, we are social animals after all, we need human interaction but I sometimes find it too overwhelming with all the messages I get, so I have regular breaks so I can cope, plus it helps reduce screen time.
- Netflix. I’m a huge Netflix fan and there’s a great selection of TV series, films and documentaries to watch. I try not to watch too much, though tempting, as I spend too much time in front of a screen since I teach online, but thank God we have Netflix. I recently watched a documentary, my Beautiful Broken Brain, which was amazing). I’d love to start a new series though, so any suggestions, please do comment! PS I of course still watch friends every day.
- Routine. Being at home all day, it’s easy for someone with a hyperactive brain like me to lose concentration, get lost into my own thoughts and waste time deciding when to do what, I find it too chaotic, so keeping up with a routine helps, a lot. I’ll make another video about this.
- Expressing your emotions. This is HUGE. Society taught us one of the unhealthiest narratives of all time, that expressing our emotions is a weakness. It’s the opposite actually, being vulnerable and open about how we feel it’s the bravest thing one can do, especially in these difficult times we live under right now. I highly recommend Bene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, definitely worth a watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en
- Playing an instrument. I’ve been playing the guitar on and off for years, but now I have time to learn how to read music properly and improve my playing. A great way to stay away from screens!
If you’ve been doing something that has been helping you, please share, it may help someone else, that’s the reason I’m doing it.
I’m also trying to put together a video with hopeful/funny/inspiring messages of friends, family and strangers to spread some joy and positivity, so if you like to be part of me, just email me a short 10-15 sec video with your message (firstname.lastname@example.org). It can be in any language, just provide me with the transcript and I’ll translate and put subtitles in English 🙂
Hope you are all well and safe.