Lie down under the stars

Stare up at the wonder

The darkness is full of hope

If only you’ll be still

Stay a moment. Or two

Feel the enveloping calmness

It engulfs you, cherishes you, relaxes you

Just be there

For some time

Till you cleanse your mind

Do you remember the time when you were six years old and you lay down on the grass at night and counted stars? That part of your life could be unhurried.

As we grew up, social conditioning and pressures to perform began taking a toll on our mind and body. Today, no child is carefree, running around or unburdened. In the changed scenario, children cannot go out to play in the parks, fresh air is rare and everyone is huddled at home. In these circumstances, it is normal to feel frustrated, helpless and angry. It is also common to feel fearful for your loved ones. But letting go of these feelings is also in our hands.

So how do you adapt to today’s changing times and protect yourself from COVID as well as huddle up to enjoy this time with your loved ones, rather than feel irritated by the presence of so many people in the household? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Be adamant on me-time. Every day at the same time of the day, tell your family members that you need 30 minutes with yourself. Let’s say, 4.30- 5:00 pm. They should not question you or come and disturb you during this time. It seems difficult for you to do this, I know, but it is important to do it in order to let go of feelings of fear, anger and helplessness. This me-time is going to help you calm yourself down so that you are able to help your loved ones right through this time better. So what do you do at this time? Choose from reading, doing calming breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom, gentle yoga or listening to the music of your choice. You may say that you do some of these things in your regular day but when you do them alone, without interruptions from your family members, the effect of these activities is much more in calming you down. Try it, it works wonders.
  • Pre-decide family activities. Your kids are not being able to go out to play, but what is stopping you from helping them play indoors? Kids want to have fun and spend time with you having that fun. They are forming beautiful memories and their memory with you should be etched with loads of laughter, games and enjoyment. This can only happen if you book time with them and do not break your daily promise of that time. Just like every family comes together to eat dinner, 1 hour before dinner should be assigned for playing a game indoors with your children. If you don’t have kids in the house, you should do this activity with your other family members. Most people who are not working are only watching TV, which is a passive activity and does not exercise your brains or body. Incorporating a board game like scrabble or an activity-based game like dumb charades helps with keeping your mind active –it helps children learn more and also help older people feel more active and increase alertness.
  • Make two vegetables at every meal. These vegetables need not be expensive, anything seasonal can be made. Increasing vegetables means increasing antioxidants and hence calming your brain. Higher intake of vegetables has clinically demonstrated reduced anger and brain agitation. When you incorporate two vegetables at every meal, all the family members who feel trapped and frustrated, start reducing this response to stress and within 10 days, you will see a change in everybody’s behaviour. When everyone begins getting calmer, it becomes easier to be together. PS: potatoes and paneer are not vegetables!

All the above steps will help you stay calmer, get more unhurried and let go of fear. And yes, since fear suppresses the immune system, the above activities will improve your immunity, hence protecting you from COVID or aid faster recovery!

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