Strong foundations lead to lasting results
The foundation on which physical health rests needs to be secure and resilient otherwise things may go awry. Last week we looked at two pillars for self-care: thinking and feeling. This week we are going to explore two more: moving and nourishing.
It goes on. This is Matthew’s favourite saying. And yes, indeed it does. It being the lockdown. Generally, things seem to be getting rather scratchy out there. No-one, not the doomers, the self appointed or state appointed experts, the philosophers or even the conspiracy theorists, let alone the government, know how this is going to play out.
Who could have foreseen the U.S. crude oil prices going into the negative earlier in the week? It has to tell you something about the state of the world but also the state of some of the systems we take for granted and accept as part of our lives. How can something that you can see, touch and smell cost less than nothing? Things are broken. And as far as we are concerned some of them should stay that way.
After the President’s stimulus speech, you might say there’s even more confusion than before. We are hopeful that his plan, grandiose as it may be in parts, will have the desired effect to release and remove some of the very obvious pressures and faults that have schismed our society.
To recap, we are focusing on our five fold approach to the elements that cover one’s life. During a pandemic such as COVID-19 and coronavirus, looking after physical health rises to the top for obvious reasons. The foundation on which physical health rests needs to be secure and resilient otherwise things may go awry. Last week we looked at two pillars for self-care: thinking and feeling. This week we are going to explore two more: moving and nourishing.
Although you may be restricted to your home, take time to exercise your body. Even if it is for a few minutes each day. Stretch and move. You don’t need much room to dance or bounce; run on the spot or jump. Put on some music that gets you going and move it, move it, move it. Get the whole family involved and dance through, out and around the house.
If you are lucky to have the space, create a track or course and walk or run laps. Run up and down stairs, build a makeshift obstacle course. You can try the spell your name challenge. This needs minimal equipment and space. Skipping can be mimicked and jogging can be done on the spot. If this is too easy spell your name more than once, or backwards to increase the challenge. If it is too hard, reduce the numbers. Start by doing what you can and work your way up.
5 Pillars Of Self Care For The COVID-19 Pandemic
Many people are offering online yoga, pilates and other exercise routines. You would be surprised what you can come up with to use for different exercises that are in your own home. If you can get outside all the better. So move it, move it, move it!
T & C’s: Before exercising, make sure that you engage that thinking part, called your brain, and prepare your equipment and space appropriately before starting, unlike some of these unfortunate people below.
Lockdown can bring on boredom, comfort or worry eating. Now more than ever you want to remain as healthy as you can be and build a strong immune system. This means nourishing the body with healthy, balanced and nutritious food, exercise (which we have covered above) and sleep.
Stay away from too many carbs, too much sugar and fast food (Oh! No matter you can’t get any of that at the moment). Drink plenty of water, eat vegetables, especially leafy greens and fresh fruit. Limit alcohol (if you still have any left). We’ve been sprouting seeds and adding them as a supplement to our meals. Even breakfast has sprouts – wheatgrass.
Establish a regular routine for meals, waking up and going to sleep. If you are working or studying this may be easier to do as work and classes probably have their own constraints in terms of start and end times. This doesn’t mean, as we have heard from some sources, agreeing to your workplace’s request to fill up what was travel time with extra work time. Boundaries, people, boundaries.
Nourishing yourself also means being kind to yourself. Take regular breaks. Make sure everyone in the household has a fair share of the chores and that exposure to TV and screen time is controlled. Do something each day that nourishes you. Whatever that may be. Reading, crafts, something creative, listening to the music you love.
There is so much conjecture and hearsay, news, actual and fake, that it can be draining trying to work out what is real from what is not. As we mentioned, the doomers, especially the economic ones, are out in force at the moment. We suggest limiting your exposure to the news and social media. Anything important enough will rise to the surface and you will know about it.
Here is one way to engage in a nourishing break.
The STOP break is a simple way to bring yourself back to the present, reconnect with yourself and stay centred. It is an acronym and the steps work like so:
S – Stop
Stop whatever you are doing for the moment.
T – Take a few deep breaths
Inhale deeply and slowly through the nose and gently out through the mouth. We suggest doing three breaths in and out. You can do more if you feel like it, but do at least three. As you inhale really concentrate on the process of breathing. Become aware of the sensation of it. Can you feel how your chest rises and falls? Does your belly expand when you breathe in? Can you feel the warm air on your top lip? What else can you notice?
O – Observe
Observe what is happening around you, just as it is. Start by noticing where you are. What room are you in? What is in that room? Is it tidy or messy? Are there other people around you? What is on the walls? Become aware of your body. How is it positioned? Are you standing, sitting, slouching or something else? Then connect with your inner world. Notice what you are thinking right now. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it? Don’t judge it. Just observe.
P – Proceed
After two or three minutes of observing, proceed with something that you find supportive and nourishing. Make a favourite drink, talk to a friend or family member, engage with a companion animal for a little bit and then carry on with what you were doing, or start something new.
And that’s it for now. Be gentle with yourself. What ever you are feeling, whether it be stress, anxiety, fear or something else, it’s okay to feel it during a time like this. Take time to allow the feelings to come and go, rather than trying to bury, avoid or numb (BAN) them. If they become too big to manage, consider attending an Emotional Fitness Class (see below). We are also available to offer support, answer questions or engage one-on-one around what you may be experiencing or feeling. Reply to this email or WhatsApp us on +27-82-901-2404 to reach us.
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.