BY GEMMA BIANCHI SLATER
AZERI OBSERVER EDITOR
If an era is defined as a significant moment in time, then this bizarre era – four months and counting – will go down in the history books.
Although for many, the year 2020 has been fraught with uncertainty, panic, loneliness and even death; for some people however, it has been a spiritual awakening. A chance to learn about themselves, testing the strength of your limitations, and in certain cases, your baking skills! There are jokes online that following this pandemic, if you don’t emerge from your home with overgrown hair, at least five kilos heavier, with perhaps an alcohol problem – you haven’t been taking quarantine seriously!
In all seriousness though, our health has been affected – with all the sitting down and screen-time we’ve had, working from home, after many, many hours spent sitting in front of our computer screens, phones, TV, or sitting on the couch or the kitchen chair; it wouldn’t be surprising if we really are overweight, with eye-sight problems, headaches and bad posture!
Of course, from another perspective, there have been many positive aspects to this whole experience – for example, it has taught us to look inwards and focus on what matters, which is first and foremost, ourselves. We have also perhaps realized just what social creatures we are and how much we crave the company of others, not really realizing this until we’re faced with the possibility of isolation. Personally, the first time I left my home, I wanted to smile and hug everyone I saw on the way to the market! I was met with a few strange looks though, as I nearly skipped along the street, indulging myself in the gloriousness of the sun and the open sky.
Quarantine for many (including myself) has been all about a journey of self-discovery: self-care, self-love, self-awareness, self-healing, and most of all, how not to take simple things, like meeting friends and family for granted. Especially when you’re stuck indoors with only Netflix for company. So, what does this self-care look like? Give yourself the care and attention you need to get yourself through this. Read a book, watch a movie, give yourself a facial or a pedicure. Take a long bath. Learn to draw or paint, grow plants, play games, bake cakes. For some it’s yoga or meditation, including breath-work. Breath-work? I hear you say, what’s that? Yes, it sounds simple, but it’s an effective way to manage your stress levels, particularly in anxious times. Controlling our breathing during these moments can lower your heart-rate and prevent an anxiety attack. Ground yourself by identifying things you can see, smell, hear and touch.
And let’s face it, I’d be doubtful if you haven’t experienced at least one time during this pandemic, when you wouldn’t have benefitted from this, as a manner of calming ourselves down. Yoga and meditation can be life-changing – not to mention, good for your posture – so before you scoff, please just give it a try. My favourite is ‘Yoga with Adriene: Dedicate – A 30 day journey’. She’ll change your life.
So, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s this: let us look after each other, check in with isolated loved ones and neighbours to ensure they’re not struggling alone, and most of all, be kind. You never know what demons a person is battling within, and your simple gesture could make their day without you even realizing.