It was March 20th 2020 and after a couple of days at home since self-isolation started, I came across an article on the media which title was “How do you want to remember this time in your life?”.
It was a very powerful question that made me think about how I wanted to spend the all of a sudden free time in my agenda and make the most of this new experience.
There was a lot of uncertainty, confusion, sadness for all the cancelled plans but in the middle of it, there was calmness and silence. A silence that allowed me to really listen to myself and come up with great ideas. The first of many was to start teaching chair yoga classes on facebook live. 100 days later, here are the 8 key learnings from my lockdown:
1. Silence and Creativity are a great mix – Having the time and mental space helped me to be super creative and put all the ideas into play. Prior to COVID-19, I would have been creative but the busyness of life and a jam-packed agenda meant that some small ideas would never be put into action as they would never be in the top priority. Realizing that these thoughts, when put into paper could become great ideas that with a bit of time and effort would develop into a project;
2. Always have pen and paper nearby – Journaling has been a great habit to take in self-isolation. At the start all the zoom calls with family and friends were great but as the weeks went on, being in front of the laptop for some many hours was exhausting. Being able to write down the feelings and thoughts was a good way to keep the positive self-talked and stay motivated while also a very nice memory to look back in years to come;
3. Having a daily purpose – one Sunday morning I woke up and I had this urge to go on Facebook live and teach a chair yoga class to the Flowithme community. Seeing that everybody was spending so much time at home, chair yoga felt like the best way to keep the body moving regardless of the level of fitness or flexibility plus a good way to get all the family together for 30 minutes. For me, it was the reason that I would get up every morning to share my passion for yoga and help people from all over the world. 100 classes have been a great way to stay motivated and have a purpose.
I missed my face to face classes like for example with the COPE Foundation group every Wednesday afternoon. The residents in house six were able to join me and to mark International Yoga Day on June 21st I hosted a virtual chair yoga classes fund raising for this fantastic Foundation. Over a €1000 were raised for them and it was a great initiative that I could not have anticipated when I started the first virtual chair yoga class.
Cope Foundation chair yoga students look so thankful in this lovely photo, don't they?
4. Cooking as a type of therapy and to travel the world– Not being able to go out for lunch or dinner meant a lot more cooking at home. Rather than trying the same recipes day in and day out, I started being more adventurous and play with new flavours and ingredients. It became a way to travel to other places around the world from the comfort of my own kitchen. Took part on the Art Foccacia challenge, indulged myself with the Dalgona Coffee or tried the delicious Chilli con Tempeh. Having the time to cook also brought a very nourishing feeling and new flavours;
Picture from the Foccacia Art challenge.
5. Habits and routine come very easily – It was after only a couple of weeks when I realized how easily I had been adapted to the new situation. The key for the success was the routine I had created from the very first day. Stayed very committed to a healthy diet, daily meditation and walks. I was very fortunate that in Ireland we were allowed to go 2km from the house for exercising and where I live I have a green way and river within this distance. Morning and sometimes evening walk to be close to nature helped for my physical and mental health. Staying active was a great way to pass the days and remain in the present moment;
6. Being apart can bring you closer to others – Distance is no longer a reason to lose contact with the important people in your life. COVID-19 has shown me that no matter how far my family and friends were, I was only a click away from being connected with them virtually. Most activities can still be done with the screen, it is just a matter of being creative and open to try;
7. Happiness is in the small things – I have heard that many times but since COVID-19 and all the restrictions, I was able to really experience it. Connection with family and friends, a sunny day, a walk in the park in nature, seeing the swans in the lake; finding yeast in the shop again, a good internet connection when I was teaching a class or a simple appreciation email from a client meant the world to me;
8. Taking the first step no matter how afraid you are– doing 100 classes meant practice, repetition, learning from the mistakes, facing fears. The first day putting myself in front of the camera and going live was scary. Not knowing if anybody would connect and watch at all but I believed I wanted to share my passion and that was all that matter. Every day then kept trying, learning new ways to connect to my internet, a better angle of the room or better sound and light. It was small incremental changes that made it so easy as well as having a good intention and low expectations. It was fun and that is why I believe it worked so well. How many times do we stop ourselves to try something new because we have high expectations of our performance? Well, we have just to try and try and try again. First step is the hardest, after that…. It is just one foot in front of the other. But always remember the reason why you are doing and are you having fun?
If you want to know more about how life coaching and yoga can help you to deal with stress and uncertainty in these challenging times, contact sara at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your first session.