Mindset, diet, sleep, good words.
Well, there’s no denying that we are in the first global crisis of the 21-st Century. And by all accounts, the worst is yet to come. But, it’s also no time to panic. As someone once famously said, the most important thing to do in a war is to remain calm, since when you lose your head, you can’t make good decisions for yourself or anyone else.
It might be on a coffee cup or a tee-shirt you own, but the slogan “keep calm, and carry on” is more that stoic, it’s the basis of human bravery in the face of trial and even tragedy.
Being real about the situation you’re in and dealing with that situation in a calm and considered (and considerate way) is fundamental to getting along in life at any time.
Now, calmness is a mindset, to be true. But keeping your wits about you is also a function of diet, the quality of your sleep, and your overall outlook towards others. Caring comes with calmness, at least in some fashion, and a diet high in brain and immunity nutrition, along with good (or decent) quality sleep, will help you be the best you can be. From here you can make better decisions for yourself and the people around you.
Here are some ways to achieve the mindset you need now, tomorrow, and for the future.
Heal your mindset. There are a few things you can do here, even at your most isolated. First, don’t look at isolation as deprivation. This can be hard to do as we are all social creatures, even at our most misanthropic. Some people really need people. And almost everyone needs somebody, sometime. But, in this Quarantine Life we’re all in right now, you might be lucky to be with your immediate family, or you might be marooned far away from home and family, and yet for others, you might not have your immediate loved ones with you because of divorce or other circumstances. In these times I think it’s important to remember the words of the great American poet Charles Bukowski, who once said, “isolation is the gift, all the rest is endurance”. Good thought. When was the last time you got the privacy you wanted? Sure, it’s no fun to be forcibly separated from friends and family, but maybe it’s also a time to relish the time you’re given to be with yourself and get your own house in order? Plus, it’s not like we don’t have easy pastimes at home alone these days, which makes it far easier than being a lonely trapper on a trapline somewhere. Enjoy and relish your time on your own, because it won’t and never does, last.
Heal your diet. I’ve been cooking a lot more at home since Co-Vid forced us all indoors. I have also ordered my share of fast food on Skip. I can tell you, and I think you already know this, cooking for yourself not only feels more nourishing that McDonalds, it really is. Because I was gifted a crock pot this Christmas, I have been making a lot of soup, especially the very yummy French soups I’ve made in recent days. Here are some good recipes you can look at, and you don’t need to go the full French Onion with cheese, it’s great with bay leaf, beef or chicken broth and onions and garlic alone. I’ve eaten liters of this in recent days and my body craves more. There is a lot of chatter out there about dining in via delivery services, but maybe it’s time to cook yourself something simple, nice, and chock full of nutrients and vitamins your body needs, especially during times where you might not be able to exercise or get out in ways you normally do.
Heal your sleep. So many people right now are advocating “getting away” by watching a movie or finding something to watch online. While there’s a multiverse available to us for entertainment, they all come with the same downside: the blue light that destroys sleep. If at all possible, I recommend you reduce your screen time, including phones, tablets, computers and TV, solely because blue light destroys sleep. And you need sleep. Instead of taking time for a two-hour movie, why not try to read for two hours instead? Movies and TV and videos are OK to pass the time, but if you’re anything like me, these activities can leave you feeling more drained and tired than refreshed. With a book, you might not be able to sustain 90 minutes or two hours of reading, or maybe you will. But usually it takes 30 minutes for me to start to drift while reading a book, with no blue light, and I find myself taking a short nap instead of being jolted by suspenseful movies or other emotionally engaging things that a movie demands of us. A book can be a richer emotional experience because you’re using your imagination, while a movie might drain you of energy because it tries to create a certain emotional reaction, using music, sound effects and editing. Depending on what you’re watching, this can leave you feeling more jangled than satisfied. I love a great suspense movie, but I also enjoy a great book, too.
Heal your words. I have a friend who taught me years ago that your words either help or hinder, heal or wound, and the words you have for others not only affect them, they most directly affect you. Hard words or hard thoughts never hurt the intended, they only hurt you. So in a time where we need the most compassion and kindness for our fellow man, it’s worth re-examining how, maybe, impatient you feel or have become, how angry you feel or have become through circumstances, or even how sad you feel or have become. It’s mostly true that no one wants to hear your complaints, and it’s an old saying that each person must shoulder their own burden. So, remember that everyone has a burden you don’t know about, just as you have one, and using good words with people can not only bring out the best in them, it will bring out the best in yourself. You might not notice your own words. If you don’t, it’s time to pay attention. Paying attention to how you speak is also paying attention to how you feel, how you make yourself feel most of all. An unkind word to a stranger is a doubly unkind word to yourself, and it will take affect on your body, mind and well being. Be charitable, be kind, be patient, and realize the human condition is shared with everyone around you. We are all in this together, and we will all come out of this together. Stay patient. This too will pass.
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