It's day 19 of quarantine in Italy
I think it's day 19, who knows? The days are all the same, so it's hard to be sure.
I've found myself spontaneously reciting lyrics from trashy 80's songs that I didn't even know I knew. I keep going to make a cup of Earl Grey and realising I've already made one...
It's hard to stay present right now.
The work we do, the meditation, the yoga, and the self-care - this usually helps. While of course, it's beneficial, I still find my thoughts attempting to spiral out of control and take themselves off to Africa before I can catch them. We must be vigilant with our thoughts.
Human beings are incredibly adverse to pain, especially emotional pain. We'll do anything to avoid it - have a glass of sauvignon blanc, eat a tub of Ben & Jerry's, or spend hours looking at our neighbour's lives on Facebook. These behaviours or addictions all serve the same purpose - to avoid ourselves and our pain because it hurts.
So why is it then, at what seems like any given opportunity, we seek to consider the worst possible situation for ourselves and those we love? Ok, maybe we don't do this all of the time, but we do it, especially in challenging times.
It's a puzzle.
Here are the three main things that are keeping me going every single day
We can't always be bothered to get on the yoga mat or do an online workout. I often look over at my mat in resentment as it's a constant reminder of what I'm not doing and what a failure I am. Then, if I'm feeling motivated, I just get on with it, and of course, feel brilliant after? Yoga is amazing. Human beings, we're such a weird species, aren't we?
We've become very disconnected from our bodies and spend the majority of our time in our minds. So what? You might be thinking. Well, it's not useful for us to always be up there, especially if we suffer from any kind of anxiety or mental health problem.
Secondly, when we're always in our heads, we miss out on the goodies - the love, the compassion, our intuition - the beautiful emotions and feelings that we're lucky enough to feel. We also miss the small important and never to be repeated moments in every day. The flowers blooming, the birds tweeting, the smell of bread fresh from the oven, or the rushing of a stream.
I know in some places you still have the luxury of going outside and for a walk, go out, even if it's raining. If we don't move our bodies for days, (as a writer, I can attest to this), we'll start to feel very low. So even if we don't feel like going out, just go anyway.
We can also give ourselves a massage which is a very caring and quick way to bring ourselves back into our bodies.
I've never been particularly domesticated, so this is as much as a surprise to me, but cleaning and then enjoying relaxing in the spotless space afterwards is so comforting. Plus its physical work, so it helps to get us back in our body.
We can't control much right now, but we can control our own living environment, and there is a particular sanctuary to be had in that.
When I've finished work for the day, the emptiness of the silence can start to creep in. If I stick some Motown on Youtube, I don't feel quite so isolated or alone. It can also be uplifting and sometimes I'll even have a dance, again, getting back into my body. I don't even have a proper stereo, so it does sound tinny through my Mac, but it still does the trick.
Be careful which music you choose, anything that's too familiar or perhaps evocative can result in overwhelming emotions.
It was my daughter's 21st birthday last week, that was a challenge. There will be significant challenges for us all to face in the coming months, and we must remain thankful and positive for what we have.
Sure, I'd have loved to have seen my daughter on her birthday, but it's irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
She's safe and well and so am I and that's all that we can hope for right now.
Stay safe and stay well 🙏
Hannah Anstee is a former British Wellness Journalist turned Women’s Coach & Mentor.
You may know her from her work as Beauty Editor at YOGA Magazine or her contributions to The Independent or Psychologies Magazine.
Using her no bullsh*t approach Hannah helps single women (inc. single parents) feel more confident so they can live an exciting and meaningful life with no apologies.