Here in South Africa, there's a new feeling in the air. The sun is coming up earlier, and the days are getting warmer and brighter. The seasons are changing, but that's not all; lockdown restrictions are being eased, and people are starting to more or less return to their 'normal' lives.
This is a more personal post than I'm used to writing. Perhaps because it's something I've been wrestling with a lot over the past few days.
How do we come out of lockdown as consciously as we went in? How can we continue to hold ourselves and others as we re-enter the world acknowledging and respecting the experience we've all just had (and continue to have)?
At the start of lockdown the topic of mental health came up a lot. The internet was abuzz with tips like paper planes flying in zig-zags around a classroom; how to adapt to working from home, how to survive isolation, what to do to take care of your emotional well-being, ways to keep busy, stay healthy, be productive, etc, etc.
We got good at it - well, more or less. We found ways to cope. We met our friends online, took up hobbies, got stuck into side projects, focused on quality time with those in our households, and (sometimes unwillingly) faced some of our personal shadows.
We may have even been compelled to make some big decisions about our lives and the people in them.
Close to home our work lives may have changed or may have even stopped completely. Indoors with family, housemates, or romantic partners, we were forced to take a closer look at our relationships. Within our communities and society at large, we reached out, spoke out, and at times listened quietly to narratives now amplified by the intensity of the current circumstances.
So now what?
As exciting as returning to a more regular life and routine is, it's also kinda a lot to process, no? Those paper planes filled with words of love and support should still be flying! Beneficial habits and routines for grounding set out during lockdown can still be incredibly helpful during this transition time when being sensitive to ourselves and others still deserves to be made a priority (well, always but especially now).
I was asked during our Insta Live last week for tips on things that have helped me to overcome difficulties during the pandemic, and I strongly believe that they (plus others that I'll share here) are still as pertinent now as we open up as they were for lockdown;
Do what you can in the moment, and the future will take care of itself. This comes directly from my teacher, and has totally changed the way I live my life. Ask yourself, "what can I do now?" and do it.
Everyday, doing the things that help you to feel grounded - that could be as simple as making your bed to taking a yoga class. Cultivate a healthy routine and keep coming back to it.
Become friendly with the concept that everything is uncertain - always. Not just now, and not just because of the pandemic. Life is uncertain. If it weren't, it wouldn't be life.
Talk to some one. Often when my head in spinning in the same circle over and over again, and my anxiety is on high, all it takes is to hear my thoughts bounced off of someone I trust to de-escalate the drama the was playing out in my mind.
And of course, do yoga (but you already knew I was going to say that ;) )
What are some of the ways in which you are staying grounded during this time of transition? Let us know in the comments section below!
Michellé D'Almeida is a yoga teacher and student of Ayurveda Yoga Academy with 5 years of teaching experience. She is also Founder of Ayurveda Yoga Africa and co-founder of Ayurveda Yoga Africa's Online branch: Yoga Together Online.