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October 2, 2020

Twenty-five tips on How to Survive October or How I’ve been trying to not lose my mind during Covid 

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  1. Acceptance: Accept that life is different, railing against the world will not help you cope. When we embrace the change, the change becomes part of our new normal. Wishing things were back to the way they were or living in the past does not serve your mental health right now.
  2. Self reflection: Most of us are too busy, multi tasking and trying to make a living, that we rarely have time for self reflection. If you feel stuck in your life this is a great time to investigate options and decide what you want to do going forward. I recently signed up for an online course in an area I have always wanted to explore. If there ever was a time to learn about yourself or what you want in life, it’s now.
  3. Habits: New habits take at least 6-8 weeks to develop. If you are still having to remember to wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance think of it as a new habit instead of a WHAT THE H**L is going on kind of Changing your mindset to this is the new way will help you adjust.
  4. Stay informed: but don’t become obsessed with the nightly news. Limit when and how much you’ll watch. I discovered that I can not watch the news at 10 pm or later. I watch the 6:00 pm evening news with my husband and that’s it for the day.
  5. Meditation: I have tried to meditate for over 30 years to no avail. It wasn’t until I discovered the practice of mindful meditation through a friend that it really started to make sense to me. And the daily practice has saved my sanity countless times. When I feel overwhelmed I take deep breaths and remind myself that This Too Shall Pass. Breathing and believing that this is not going to last forever helps calm me down. Now I look forward to practicing the techniques every day. Simply taking the time to breathe deeply has helped. Tai chi, yoga, or Chi Quong are also excellent to help calm yourself down. It starts with the breath. My favourite site is Sounds True. 
  6. Walk: Go for a walk, no matter what the weather. Being outside especially in nature has a calming effect. The Japanese call it forest bathing; I call it not losing my mind. My husband and I walk everyday and often we walk twice. Depends on the day. Depends on my mood. And every single time I feel better. Sidebar: Our evening walk is called the Fart Walk, for obvious reasons….and once again every time we go for a fart walk I feel better.
  7. Plan a get out of your house day: What’s more fun than a walk? A picnic. Plan a picnic and go for a day trip if possible. Or walk to a park and eat there. Hopefully, October won’t be too cold to eat out in a park. A sandwich and a thermos of cocoa in nature? That’s a reason to celebrate. It really is the little things. Here’s my recipe for cocoa. 
  8. Positive actions: Do something positive with your day. Whatever that looks like. Calling a friend, making a cup of tea, reading a book, cleaning your house, whatever brings you a sense of positivity. If organizing is your thing, go for it. My thing, when I’m stressed, is cleaning. March, April and May my house was sparkling. June, July, August, and September I was gardening, didn’t think twice about the house. If we get locked down again, the house won’t know what hit it! Currently reading If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marias.
  9. Bring nature indoors: I have plants and flowers in my house, it helps me feel surrounded by nature. Right now, I am cutting flowers them from my garden, but as soon as that vase of flowers starts looking really sad I’m buying a flowering potted plant to add some colour to my home.
  10. Laughter: We watch comedy shows, stand up comedians, sitcoms, funny movies, if it’s funny we are going to watch it. Laughter is contagious, find a funny stand up or film and watch it. Recently we have been rewatching Seinfeld on Crave and there’s Schitt’s Creek for anyone who missed it on Netflix. It’s an amazing show.
  11. Be creative or crafty: Models, puzzles, origami, learning a musical instrument whatever inspires you. Using the creative side of your brain is a great way to relieve stress. I decided to learn the ukulele in March and that lasted all of ten minutes, my husband has now taken it up. I personally hate puzzles, but I know many people who have spent some serious time assembling them, if that’s your thing, go fo it. I’m skipping puzzles and musical instruments. Which brings us to models. And… that’s another big no for me. My tip is be creative in the way that you love, it’s great for your mental health.
  12. Dance party! Have a solo or a family dance party and dance like no one is watching because basically no one is.
  13. No judgment: stop being judgey of yourself and others. That old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” is a life lesson my mom always said. Thinking or speaking negative destructive thoughts directed at yourself or others creates negativity in your soul.
  14. Stop comparing: Don’t compare yourself with other people, especially on social media. There are always going to be people doing things and having things that you don’t have. If it makes you feel badly, stop doing it. Turn off, mute or shut down the social media people who make you feel terrible. Find people to follow who offer hope and positivity.
  15. Everybody has bad days: No one is happy every single day. We all have crappy days. Don’t beat yourself up if you are having a bad day. It comes with the situation. Try positive self talk, tell yourself that this too shall pass, distract yourself with a positive activity or go for a walk.
  16. Kindness matters: Be kind to yourself and others and make sure that you don’t forget about yourself. Remember you get what you give, so give.
  17. Coping mechanism: Everyone copes with the pandemic differently. I set up some really big rules when Covid first hit. My rules on social distancing, masks and hand washing may have seemed extreme to some of my friends, but they worked for me. Those rules helped protect my peace of mind. If people make fun of you because they don’t agree with your more stringent rules, then suggest that you can meet for lunch in 2023, it always gets a laugh. And laughter is one of the coping skills. Win/win.
  18. Be good to your body: Treat your body with respect. Eat as healthily as possible. I feel better when I eat a balanced diet. It just works for me. And that includes getting enough fibre.  And, yes, most of us want to eat our faces off and that’s okay within reason…. insert here that I am currently planning on making brownies soon. The within reason strategy goes for alcohol as well. Just as a heads up, an entire month of eating and drinking may be a coping skill but remember that if this behaviour is to avoid dealing with your feelings, this might not be your most proactive choice. Ask yourself before you grab a handful of Halloween candy and a whisky chaser if this is going to solve anything. In the short term it might, but in the long term? I say go for a walk first. If you still feel like a bag of dirt with a belt on…. well, then it’s your call.
  19. No clothing rules: Get dressed up for no reason other than to get dressed up because you want to OR wear track pants, whatever makes you feel happy. I’ve been playing in my closet and wearing things I haven’t worn in years, makes me feel that I went shopping in my closet. The rule is no rules.
  20. Use your good stuff: I created that hashtag #useyourgoodstuff because we are worth using our good stuff every single day and during Covid it’s even more important to feel special. We all deserve the good stuff. Dishes, clothes, underwear. We aren’t pharaohs that get to take their stuff with us…. live everyday using your good stuff.
  21. Journaling: I find journaling has always helped me sort out my feelings. Writing for me has always been a way through my feelings. During Covid I have become more introspective and as a result have written many soul searching posts that I have shared on my Instagram. I figured if I felt that way maybe others did too, and I could give them a voice.
  22. Sleep: We all need a good night’s sleep. Sleep is extremely important right now. Turn off your devices at least an hour before bed, make sure your room is dark, cool and as quiet as possible. I have a white noise machine that blocks out noises from the street and my neighbours, I even have a mask. I basically look like a bandit snuggled down in my cool bedroom in the pitch black with the sounds of waves in the distance. It works for me.
  23. Friends matter: Reach out to friends and loved ones. Send a card in the mail. Send a video. Send flowers. Receiving mail, a funny family video and/or flowers has made me smile for weeks. I’m currently going through my stationary and sending random cards to my friends. If you get a Christmas card from me in the next month, I haven’t lost it, I thought it would be amusing. We have also made plans to do outdoor visits with friends over the cooler months on my front porch. My hostess notes to my guests are: wear warm clothes and a hat and gloves, bring a blanket, bring a warm drink. We’ll supply a chair and fabulous conversation. And no, you can’t use my bathroom. Makes for a two hour visit that is usually hilarious.
  24. Just be: Give yourself permission to just be. I know people are still baking bread, learning a new skill, or whatever keeps them busy, and that’s okay for them. But, being comfortable enough to sit with yourself and accept that you aren’t doing anything is a gift. I recently added that comfortable silence when my husband and I walk. Discovering that we were still emotionally connected without me talking was an epiphany. Who knew silence could be golden…
  25. The Big Picture: When you focus on the minutiae it can drive you completely round the bend. When you look at the sky and focus on the one stormy cloud instead of looking at the way the cloud ebb and flow you lose the big hopeful picture. Covid is not here forever. Let’s focus on the big picture and on how we can make this world a better place.

16 Comments on “Twenty-five tips on How to Survive October or How I’ve been trying to not lose my mind during Covid 

Janice Milne
October 2, 2020 at 9:26 pm

As always Marilyn you have captured the essence of keeping sane during this crazy time. I have lots of knitting and craft projects that keep me busy( not quite sure what I’m going to do with 15 pairs of socks) I have music which has a very special place in my life, I have a wonderful new to me husband who supports my projects and washes all the dishes from my creative jaunts in the kitchen and I have learned over my many years here on this earth that there are things that can’t be changed. So make the new normal your new way of life. Keep in touch with friends and family especially those wha are alone and laugh. Find some humour every day.
Thanks for putting a positive spin on our new lives.

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Love your advice, you’ve got this!
Wishing you,
Peace, love and fibre,
Mairlyn

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mary rossi
October 2, 2020 at 9:41 pm

Thanks – for the good advice

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:21 pm

Bless your kind heart for saying,
M

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Marilyn Hammer
October 2, 2020 at 10:39 pm

Wonderful words of wisdom. Thanks💗

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Bless your kind heart for saying.
M

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marlane mac neil
October 3, 2020 at 12:06 am

Thoughtful post with many helpful coping strategies for this time.A comedienne I particularly enjoy is Sarah Milligan.I live on Cape Breton Island,N.S. fortunately.We have obeyed the rules and have been rewarded with next to no cases of covid.Also the weather has been wonderful and we enjoy golfing and visiting our beaches.Counting blessings.Enjoy your show .Stay well.Stay funny!

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:20 pm

I will check her out, thanks for the recommendation.
Stay safe out there on the magical Cape Breton. WE are planning a trip there when life allows us.
Wishing you,
Peace, love and fibre,
Mairlyn

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Moira
October 3, 2020 at 1:38 am

This is spot on and obviously straight from your heart and soul. It’s such a great time of recouping and reflecting on what really matters. I’m loving the fact that I can just be!…no explanations offered…its refreshing…thanks for all your insightfulness…laughter and mostly your raw honesty…🙏

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Just being has changed my focus so much. I’m so glad that it has helped you too.
Wishing you,
Peace, love and fibre,
Mairlyn

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Mary Linn Bridges
October 3, 2020 at 2:29 am

God grant me the serenity to accept ghe things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.That prayer has litterally changed my life.You inspire me to be a better spouse, friend and person.I Love You.

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm

That is a powerful affirmation.
It has helped millions of people.
Bless your kind heart for sharing.
M

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Carolyn Francis
October 3, 2020 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for the insight in this time of querkiness

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Mairlyn
October 3, 2020 at 2:17 pm

its helped me cope, I hope it helps others.
Wishing you,
Peace, love and fibre,
Mairlyn

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Pauline Myddelton
October 4, 2020 at 7:28 pm

Thank you as always Mairlyn for sharing. These creative tips are all doable! 😊. What a joy and inspiration you are! 😇 John and I are just having our afternoon cuppa and enjoying your wise words. With grateful hearts! 🙏❤️❤️

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Mairlyn
October 5, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Bless your kind heart for this lovely comment.
Wishing you,
Peace, love and fibre,
Mairlyn

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