What the heck just happened?

There we all were – seeing in the new year, setting our goals, and starting to form some new habits. And let’s face it – we were doing quite well, weren’t we? And then something happened which none of us could possibly have imagined. COVID 19. And now we’re counting down the days to Christmas, wondering what the heck just happened?

We followed the infection as it moved through the Northern Hemisphere. And then it arrived in South Africa. We always knew that it would, but we wished that it would miss us. You know – just pass us by. It didn’t. During the December holiday’s I stumbled upon Contagion on TV, and started watching it. My daughter joined me and mid-way through the movie asked, ‘Is this a true story?’ ‘Of course not!’ I replied.

We watched as the number of global infections grew. I can remember when we hit 10 000 infections in our country. Then we heard that we’d peak at around 250 000 infections. Well, we exceeded that – by quite a margin. My son, who has an interest in stats, would work out the daily recovery rate which is a good indication of how any country is dealing with the pandemic. It was also the one positive statistic that one can focus on, I guess. Here we are now – 5 months later and about to move to the lowest lockdown level that we’ve been in, since this all started. Praying that this does not lead to an aggressive second wave, which would see the heavy restrictions resume. Everything about our daily routines (that we took for granted), has either been taken away from us completely or is being delivered in a way that is new and foreign to us.

During this time there is no doubt that we’ve all had to endure massive amounts of stress and anxiety. We’ve had to find coping mechanisms for ourselves and our loved one’s, creating some sort of reassurance that everything is going to be okay. Never knowing if it actually will be. It took a global pandemic for us to realise that we are never in control anyway. An uncomfortable feeling for most people. What to do? How to stay sane and add value to others through this?

Here’s what I’ve come to appreciate, despite all of the heartache, frustration and fear that the last 5 months has presented:

  1. Gratitude enables us to shift our mindset from what we don’t have, to what we do have. From what is not working, to what is working. Taking a few moments to pause and focus on what is good, has helped to keep me going.
  2. Keep moving forwards despite how we may be feeling and especially when we’re feeling down. Physical movement does all the right stuff to release hormones which alter how we feel, not to mention that it reduces stress levels. Before you know it, you actually want to move. You need to move every day, because of how great it makes you feel.
  3. Outdoor activity gives me bonus happiness points. Not to mention how wonderful it is to be able to appreciate our neighborhood on foot vs driving in the car. Walking dogs has become a huge hit during lockdown, and long may it continue.
  4. Spoiling ourselves by giving our bodies the correct combination of nourishment and rest. Nourishment in the form of healthy, home-cooked meals which may have taken a bit more thought and time. (Helpful to have a creative daughter in the house who enjoys cooking too.) And rest because we’ve been able to create more time in our day by not having to face our daily commute as many people are working from home. I for one know that the harder I work, the more I need to rest.
  5. Connecting with people who are full of the right kinds of energy also helps to fuel me to take on the next challenge, and the next exciting project. This has been such a blessing over this time. And even though the connects happen over chat or video conference, many people feel more connected now than ever before.

I’m sharing these insights because I know that they work for me. I need to hear them, and see them; and sharing them with you makes me accountable to follow through on them. They make me better. And if I’m feeling good, then I can bring the energy that others need from me, to everything that I do. And in turn that helps people around me. So it’s a self fulfilling cycle really.

There’s a lot to be said for how lockdown has forced us to de-clutter our lives. To focus on the essentials, and that’s been enough to help me create some happiness and joy each day. I hope that you’ve found a way to do the same.

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