Who would have ever guessed that the whole world would be where we are today? My nephew lives in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and even there they are in stay-at-home lockdown.
Sometimes when I wake up in the mornings I have to shake myself awake and remind myself of where we are, and the amazing fact that we have no idea how long this will last.
But in the last few days (possibly especially because I have no idea how long this will last) I have found myself suddenly (or gradually) becoming more and more involved in doing “important” things.
Things that make me feel like I am actually doing something.
Things that feed my soul.
So here are the 5 of the lessons I am learning so far:
1. No matter how much time I have,
taking deep breaths,
must take priority.
I realize that sounds like a lot of things, and it is, but if I skip any one of those things I am quite miserable.
Before this pandemic, I knew I needed to do those things, but life is busy, and sometimes a day would go by when I didn’t always fit in all of these things in the best ways.
In other words, I might eat really well, but I didn’t fit in the exercise.
Or I might do a great job of exercising one day, but then stay up way too late and not get enough sleep.
Or I might do a fine job with healthy eating, exercising, and resting but forget about stopping to remember to be thankful.
And doing all the other things, but forgetting to take deep breaths and really relax still lessens my well-being.
So those basic things have a new standing in my life.
They have each come marching to the front of my priorities in a more obvious way.
2. More time has made me value my time even more.
I am much more conscious of the fact that even though I want to relax and rest and heal, I do not want to waste valuable time.
In other words, I want to use this time to do things that are important to me.
For me, writing, painting, organizing, studying, learning, communicating, etc.
I have also been so much more conscious of how enjoyable it is to use time to be creative.
How joy-giving it really is to paint a pastel with a watercolor underpainting!
How satisfying it is to study a new skill that, with enough time, I know I can master!
How enjoyable it is to accomplish even a small task (rearranging a countertop; trying a new recipe, etc.) that I may have skipped over before!
3. Something happens when you and your neighbors are forced to stay home for a long period of time. After a while, you start talking.
My husband and I have met more neighbors in the last couple of weeks that we have in the entire 12 years we have lived here. People are out walking by, getting fresh air, and stopping to visit on their way by.
People are cheerful, friendly and well-wishing.
Funny how social distancing has brought us all together!?!
It is all rather pleasant.
4. With all this alone time on my hands, I really have to be aware of and guard my mindset.
What I mean by this is I have to be careful and guard against emotions like worry, self-pity, fear, anxiousness, discouragement, etc.
I think this is probably true for many or most people, but I also think that being on a cancer journey can add to this. As cancer survivors, we tend to be a little too aware of every ache or pain or minor indication that something ‘might be wrong’!?!
So time home alone gives us lots of time to be totally conscious of all the small maladies and allow our thinking to go down various ‘unhealthy’ rabbit holes.
While I do believe it is important to be aware of our bodies, there is a fine line between being aware and allowing ourselves to become obsessed with what every little awareness might mean!!
So I am learning to also be aware of this negative downward spiral and guard my mind against overindulging in this overthinking.
These tips help me to guard my thinking::
- Choose to focus on blessings and be thankful.
- Keep doing the things I know are so important and good for me – eating nutritious cancer-fighting foods, moving my body (for me yoga, stretching, and rebounding), saying life-giving words out loud (affirmations, scripture promises, etc.).
- Talk to God – I know He is with me.
- Engage in doing something I love – painting, writing, gardening, etc.
- Call a friend – often just changing the subject can get my mind back on a positive track.
5. The most recent thing I have been learning is how amazingly life-giving it is to shower, dress, do my hair, and put make-up on each day.
This may sound silly, but that whole practice lately, has changed my life. I am more productive, more cheerful, more positive, and altogether much happier.
For me, it actually came to the forefront because some cancer medication that I had been on was causing me to have a red, unattractive rash on my face. I had been off the medication for a few weeks, but unfortunately it has been quite slow to clear up. Thinking I probably shouldn’t put much on it, I went without make-up for a few weeks.
Finally, I had enough of that, so I decided to use some essential oils on my face as well as a bit of very clean make-up (meaning I researched to find products without nasty chemicals.). About that same time, I happened to see a woman online talking about a quick make-up routine to do when you are talking on video. It was quite fascinating to me, and I decided to establish a morning make-up routine once again.
I purchased a few new products such as mascara and shadow as well as a couple of soft brushes, and even set up a little make-up spot on my bathroom counter. The next morning I experimented with my new finds, and it was quite amazing! I immediately felt a little exhilarated, even a bit pretty, and definitely ready for the day in a way I not been feeling lately! A real lift!
So that has become part of my morning routine again, and I believe it is an important part of feeling motivated and productive as well as upbeat and cheerful.
So there we have it, 5 simple, yet unexpected lessons that have come into my life during this time of quarantine. I expect there may be others, but these 5 have made a big impact on my thinking and my days.
I would love to hear from you. Feel free to share some of your own quarantine lessons!