“Don’t Press Pause on Wellness While the Rest of the World Comes to a Halt”

While our global surroundings seem to have hit the pause button; our work-life balance has not! Parents are balancing working from home with kids; some are alone begging for any type of social interaction; and most of us just want to leave the house! So what do we all have in common? The importance to prioritize our individual wellness to keep our sanity! Here’s what we know; and how we can move forward to improve our daily well-being.

The World Health Organization defines “Wellness as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Truth be told; during the pandemic, we may not achieve one or any of these. It’s scary and nerve wracking – and most of us weren’t prepared to deal with these emotions! I constantly have thoughts like: should I risk going outside to maintain my mental and physical activities, or should I stay inside and postpone that “summer bod”? Is it safe to the grocery store, should I spend extra and pay someone to do it for me – is that risking their wellbeing? I feel guilty for having a job while 16 million; lost so much – what do I do? The questions are endless and upsetting. It’s hard to confront them, it feels impossible some days. 

We know on a basic level humans have a Hierarchy of Needs. Physiological, Safety, Love / Belonging, Esteem, and Self Actualization (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs below). These are major contributors to our sense of motivation. Various sociologists have differing opinions – but we do know the hierarchy can change by any given circumstance: global location, economic stature, even a pandemic. Our most current battle: COVID-19. 

So how do we counterbalance this? What are our new needs? Where do we find ourselves amongst the chaos? What does buying all this toilet paper have to do with anything? Why do I feel guilty for focusing on myself over others? How do I build a virtual support network? How will our innate curiosity be expressed when we are stuck at home? How do I find belonging when I feel so alone? These are all VALID questions that are not easy to answer. 

I certainly don’t have all the answers or resolutions; I’m a firm believer that no one quite knows yet, we may not know for years to come, and that can be earth shattering for some. The fear and anxiety that come alongside this virus are distracting us so much from our individual wellbeing. Some have even described this as stages of grief. We need to take this seriously! 

So how does this all tie together during the 2020 Pandemic and being stuck at home? We must redefine our priorities and our basics to find happiness and a sense of relief during a time of anxiety and fear. 

Outlined below are simple tips to finding balance and clarity in a time of great uncertainty. Let’s redefine our Hierarchy of Needs during a world put on Pause:

Emotional, our foundational layer: 

  • Emotional Needs
    • Create a “Safe Space” 
      • Allow yourself the freedom to express your feelings
        • This can either be done with those you feel safe with; or even by journaling. 
    • It’s OK to NOT be OK
      • Evaluate your emotional state of mind
        • Be open to talking about your anxieties and fears with individuals you feel safe with.
      • Learn to listen to others emotional cues 
        • Support each other by validating thoughts and feelings

Mental; or secondary layer

  • Mental Health
    • Restorative Needs / Spaces
      • Create a space that allows you to rejuvenate away from your work activities. It’s best to create a separation of space; but this can be done by just moving some furniture around to create a feeling of newness. This can be any space that allows you to get away from work and the current state of the world by focusing on yourself and your needs 
        • Bedroom: For Sleep or meditation
        • Yoga Mat for stretching / meditation
        • Lounge Chair and a lamp for reading a book
    • Create a Stress Support Network 
      • Take the Half Day if you need it
      • Communicate and vocalize if / when you need time to yourself 
    • Understand that you are NOT alone
      • Keeping your network + Communication Open
        • Try to call your friends; set a zoom meeting; join a fun HH to bring positivity into your day. 
      • It may feel like it sometimes; but don’t be afraid to call a loved one and express your state of mind, get it out in the open.

Physical; our highest layer 

  • Movement
    • Access to Nature
      • If you can’t get outside; play nature sounds – or a video of nature; take deep breaths and imagine being outside 
      • If you can meet the CDC guidelines: go on a walk / run, get outside to let some energy out. 
    • Physical Activity
      • Try your best to get up and walk around often; stand-up; stretch or light exercise inside. 
    • Get Creative
      • Do something that allows you to express your emotional state of mind
        • Baking, gardening, knitting, writing an essay, painting, finding a new hobby. 
        • Take time to create something physical; step away from technology for a minute and get curious!