It's damn hard! This past year has been a strain on all of us, some more than others but I don't think there's anyone that hasn't been affected in one way or the other by lockdowns, businesses closing, lost jobs, etc.
Well, aside from a few politicians, celebrities, and billionaires of course. For them probably nothing has changed, and some even profited from this crisis.
2020 and 2021 seems to be all about losses, material losses as well as loss of life for some.
It's nearly impossible not to be affected by it!
How do I get through it all, and keep my cool? Well, let's see...
Away with the crazy
Facebook is a great place to keep up with old friends who can't be found anywhere else in the social media-verse. However, it's also the place to drive yourself absolutely bonkers. My problem is: I care too much.
When I hear of friends who have hidden away from society for more than a year now, it just pains my heart. And there are many of those unfortunately. There are people I thought I knew who've become so afraid to do anything, and who believe everything the media tells them. They also believe the same government that has thrown its people to the lions when the banks received their bailouts in 2008-2009. I just can't understand how so many people can be fooled, and when I think about it too much, it really upsets me.
Then there is the 'news' no one ever asked for. My Facebook page is littered with Irish news media that all say the same thing. It's very hard to break away from and in the beginning of the year 2020, I would sometimes find myself in heated discussions that always left a bad taste in my mouth, and my energy drained.
I had to step away from the crazy on Facebook. I even deleted or unfriended a few people here and there. Blocked others. If there was too much negativity, it had no place in my life. A 'friend' who I've known for more than 25 years, posted something about the protests in the Netherlands, and disclosed that she felt this teenage boy that got beaten by the cops, should have been beaten much harder to teach him a lesson. I didn't need any time to think about that one. It's an automatic delete and block for that. Now, I just read my messages quickly, and don't get involved in the bullshit. It's not worthy of my time, or energy.
My head's become clearer for it.
The great outdoors!
We spend as much time outdoors as we can. A walk in the park, down to the playground, past our 5 km. limit to the nearest mountain for a walk with the dogs, and even to the beach sometimes. There's just nothing better.
When the weather isn't the greatest, we go for a walk through the forest here. We're quite lucky to be surrounded by forest, and we can walk for 2 hours without ever seeing a soul.
I usually bring my daughter's boyfriend to work every morning, and since it's always quite early, I get a lot done in those mornings, plus sometimes I even have some time to meditate and do a workout. This is amazing to clear my head and give it some space. Even though lately, my lovely son has decided to wake up at 6 every morning, which doesn't help but luckily he's quite happy to just eat something and do his own thing for an hour or so.
Trying to enjoy the little things
Whenever we go for our walks, or little outings, I just try to find, and observe the little things. The birds singing, the waves crashing, a dog running, everything has its charm. It keeps me grounded, and I feel a little happier when I notice them, and take these things in. The last few times when we went for walks, somehow there is always this one little robin that shows up. It's obviously never the same one, as we're always in a different spot. I've heard this saying here, that whenever a robin shows up on your path, it's a message from a loved one that passed on. I'm not sure if that's true but I love the idea, and I treat it that way. So I always say hello to the little robin, talk to it for a bit, and sometimes take a picture as a reminder. I feel happiness just being in that moment with these curious little creatures, and there's no space for every day worry.
The other day we were at the beach, and we crossed this stream of water that comes from a river and runs into the ocean. That water is VERY cold.
At first when the kids walked through it, I thought: let me just wait here.
But the kids kept walking on so I decided to just follow them for a change.
The water was SO damn cold, my feet hurt from it.
The shock of the cold water was also a good reminder that I'm alive and kicking! It's good to feel alive. Especially these days.
It also had another positive effect. I've met a new friend online who also happens to live in my area. She told me she goes swimming in the ocean every day, since November. I was intrigued. She's a very brave woman, because the Atlantic ocean water here in Ireland is cold, even on a good summery day, so let alone in the winter! But I've always admired Wim Hof for his breathing techniques, as well as his ice baths. And while an ice bath feels like one step too far, I never ruled out the swim in the ocean here. After my feet felt the absolute icy cold river water, I dipped my toes in the ocean, and it actually felt warm (in comparison). I'm one step closer to actually doing it! More now than ever before I feel I need to step out of my comfort zone a bit more.
I've started his breathing method, and his guided breathing sessions a few months ago. I've been doing these religiously at least once a week. And it has changed everything! I feel more alive, I feel like I have more oxygen, I can breathe better. And best of all: I FEEL more! It's really something amazing. Meditation is amazing but this is like a work out while meditating.
It was hard work in the beginning, and it still is, but it gets easier every day. If you're not too much into meditation, or lose focus quickly, this might be the thing for you. There's no way you can focus on anything else, or have your thoughts wander. It's just not possible to focus on anything other than your breathe with this.
If you want to see and try it for yourself, here's a link. It's one for beginners. Please don't try and do the advanced ones if you're new to this. The beginner one is hard enough.
And please, let me know how you liked it.
I've been thinking of doing one session every day, and record the progress.
We'll see how that goes.
So the above all helps me with stress busting. I work a lot, and this means that I'm online a lot. Aside from my 'normal' job, which is really only a few hours a week now, I spend 75% of my work time online on some days. Other days even more. I need to step out sometimes and do something else.
The kids are the perfect de-stressors when we do stuff together. They put me right back in check. Even though they also give me stress haha.
Anyway, these were the things that bring me back with both feet on the ground, and keep me from getting too stressed in this insane world.
How about you?