These Seven Essentials were placed on my personal Instagram page, and I thought to myself…this would actually make a great article. Let me just dive right in, because it’s time to get real about this Shelter In Place Situation…
- Stress Kills. According to the American Psychological Association, “chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. And more than 75% of all physician office visits are for stress related ailments and complaints”. You can say whatever you want to say about this current state of affairs – this has caused quite a few people to experience stress like they have never experienced stress before. We have all been placed in a situation where we “don’t know what’s next”, and the unknown is sometimes a scary place to be. My best advice? Whenever an overwhelming feeling begins to creep over you, Just. Be. Still. That’s it – BE STILL. Download an app that may be helpful with breathing techniques, sit quietly with your favorite beverage and take in some of your favorite music, log on to a Facebook or Instagram LIVE for a dance party with one of your favorite DJs – just take a moment to rest your mind. Because that’s where stress begins…in our thoughts. Stress can ultimately weaken your immune system – go ahead and proceed to #2…
2. A weakened immune system makes you susceptible to colds, COVID, and whatever else. According to a study done at the University of Rochester, “The immune system can be weakened by smoking, alcohol and poor nutrition”. Did we mention that stress can ultimately weaken your immune system? Yep. Stress will cause some to pick up a “pack of squares” (cigarettes), grab a cocktail, and “stress eat” – I.e. indulging in foods heavy in grease, high in sugar, and many more. Let’s go about this a better way; while we are not 100% sure of everything associated with this new pandemic, do yourself a solid: eat a diet high in fruits and veggies, exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation, and get adequate sleep. Be mindful of what goes into your body, and how you are treating your body as a whole.
3. Running yourself ragged trying to “keep up with the Joneses” is ridiculous. This is really self-explanatory, but I am personally seeing lots of people, trying to be in competition with the next person. I don’t know how ANYONE has time to be concerned with what ANYONE ELSE is actually able to do. Why does that type of thinking even exist right now? Why does that type of thinking exist PERIOD? That’s a topic for another article, but what should be in the front of everyone’s mind is how to “make it through”. So many of our loved ones have passed away from this disease; so many people we know are being laid off of jobs that they have worked for decades; so many businesses have turned upside down…it’s time to be more concerned with how we live to see another day vs what the next man or woman is doing. The old adage goes something like this: “we both have an ice cream cone, with the same flavor ice cream, and the same amount of scoops. You’re so busy looking at mine, that your ice cream is melting down your hand, creating a mess. Pay attention to YOUR cone”. Got it?
4. A great majority of the people telling you “what you SHOULD be doing” during this time? AREN’T DOING #ANYTHING. Look here…I can’t count the number of times I have seen the meme floating around social media, telling everyone how “whack” they are (basically) if they don’t pick up another skill while we Shelter In Place. One of my favorite quotes to counter that foolishness is “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt). I guarantee you…there are days when I will not move beyond getting showered/dressed for the day, making sure I eat, walking my puppy, and taking in a few movies/reading a book. There are also days when I feel like knocking plenty of projects out. But, on the days that I do absolutely nothing? Those are good days, too. I’m never going to be the woman who has to “always be doin’ something to stay relevant”. I’m relevant because I’m alive, in my right mind, and pacing myself in the best way that suits MY needs. Please don’t let an overzealous or overly critical person/group of people make you feel “less than”…because I would be willing to bet GOOD money (and I don’t gamble) that they aren’t doing a fourth of the things they suggest.
5. If all you did today was to increase your water intake? That’s a win. I am an avid water drinker, because I am extremely anal about my skin and flushing toxins out of my body. I am so happy to report that SO MANY PEOPLE have come through my social media feed, showing clearer skin, stating that they are feeling “lighter”, and commenting on how they are increasing their water intake. Water can relieve you of feelings of fatigue, helps with headaches, and is helpful with joint pain. Ever notice “tightness” or pain in your body after waking up? You could be slightly dehydrated. Once you start getting more water into your body, you will feel a difference! So listen…if ALL you’ve done, on any given day, is to increase your water intake? You Are WINNING.
6. “Surviving” is essential. I count it ALL joy to be able to see any new day, living in this “new normal”. You may not have everything you want, but you are able to gain access to those things that you need. There are so many organizations providing donations FOR FREE to assist during these times. For example, Chicago Public Schools is offering free meals for students’ families DAILY (M-F); other organizations are handing out face masks and food to the homeless; there are even organizations providing lunches to our essential workers, to show their appreciation for all that they do. People are lending a helping hand to help us ALL to survive, which is commendable and does not go unnoticed.
7. You aren’t any good to ANYBODY if you aren’t first good to yourself. A great start to treating yourself with kindness, is to speak kindness over yourself. Your thoughts have the potential to become things – remember that if you begin to feel stressed. Take your vitamins; eat healthy foods; have a “dance party” all by yourself! Let people do what they feel is best for them – which, in turn, may not be best for you! Don’t fall into the pressures of having to “do too much” – you’re doing just fine “breathing”. Make SURE water is the order of every single day, which is a GREAT habit to form! Trouble will not last always, and we will get through this! You. Are. Essential. Believe that!
(All photos were received from Pinterest)
By: Lauran Elle Smith