Hey everyone, welcome to our first blog post! With the current state of the world, we really wanted to use this platform to share some tools to not only support you during this time, but to help you to develop an appreciation for it despite the adversity. To come out the other side happier, healthier, stronger, and with a new perspective on both yourself and the world. It’s worth saying that this is not in any way an effort to undermine this global crisis. However, it is very satisfying to know that you have the power to turn a very negative situation into one that can actually benefit you, and then in turn use that 'good people' energy to serve others if you choose to – and have fun doing it! So without further ado, let’s get started!
1. The Happy Playlist
Music is such an amazing resource – it can change how you feel in an instant. Jimi Hendrix once said, “Music is a safe kind of high,” and boy was he right! I noticed that I was becoming drawn to more playful music when I was starting to have more fun in my life, and it made me feel even more amazing! I found myself returning to the same songs again and again, and was seeking out others that made me feel the same way. I then decided to curate a go-to happy playlist that I could capitalize on whenever I wanted to return to that feeling. This way, I didn’t have to wait until something great happened. Melodious bliss was just a click away! Try it! Be sure to generate a playlist with very specific songs that speak to you. You could use automatically generated playlists, but since they are generic, they will likely also include songs you don’t like and inevitably ruin the effect you’re aiming for. So ask yourself whether each song truly makes you happy. If so, go ahead and put it on your list! On the right are some examples of what’s on my happy playlist, but feel free to include whatever makes your heart sing!
2. Meditate with Love
It’s probably not that surprising that meditation is being suggested here. It’s wonderful for bringing calm to an anxious mind, particularly when practised regularly. There is a trick to making meditation truly extraordinary though, and the trick is meditating with love. When we are typically motivated to meditate, the goal is to improve our own lives somehow, and that’s great. But when you supplement that with the intention of sending your love to someone that makes you really happy, you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve made an impact on them in a positive way. And given what’s happening right now, and knowing what your mind is capable of, wouldn’t it be cool to try to extend that love to as many people around the world as possible? Could there be anything more satisfying than knowing that you have done something to influence the world in a such a profound and positive way? Not because you’ll be recognized for it, but solely because you are a good person and have love in your heart to share. To get you started, here is an adorable meditation from Headspace and Barbie that focuses on kindness that you can do with or without your kids! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWb-l9M0zZY&feature=youtu.be.
3. Be More Like Your Kids (yes, I said more!)
Children are experts at having fun! Like when your kid cracks a joke and no-one laughs but they find it hilarious and are bawling over in hysterics! (I know some adults that do this too!) So I want to invite you to think about an activity that you could do with your kids that you've never done before. Imagine this: perhaps you grew up in a part of the world with little to no snow, and then you find yourself living in a place where you can’t get away from it. One day you feel a deep yearning to bravely embrace the best friend of every North American child in the winter: the ski sled. Before you know it, you find yourself gleefully chuckling with your little ray of sunshine in your lap as you slide down a small stack of sparkling snow for the first time while thinking to yourself, “How have I never done this before?!” (Just so you know this was me last week!) Now’s the time to be more like your kids! Sing a song even if it's slightly out of tune, wear odd mis-matched socks, be a bit eccentric, laugh out loud… and if there’s no comedy around you, then be the comedian (if you end up crying with laughter, even better!) By the way, you might think that your options for amusement are limited during self-isolation, but having kids in the house usually means 24/7 entertainment anyway!
I had a revelation years ago that feeling grateful and realizing that you are a lucky person are one and the same thing. You see, when you are grateful for something, not only do you physically experience positivity, but you also recognize that wonderful things can and do happen to you, and will continue to happen to you. When I read a kind story on @globalpositivenews or laugh at something funny on @overheardla, when my kids are playing nicely together or when I see wedding photos of complete strangers, or when I just see people having fun and living their best lives, that's what does it for me. I feel deeply grateful to be alive, to be capable of feeling those emotions, and for the experiences in my life that have led me to this point.
Of course, if you’re finding it hard to feel any sort of gratitude right now, that’s totally A-OK. Maybe you can try starting with something small to be grateful for and then work your way up. A gratitude journal can be a great help with this, because it can remind you to think about anything that made you feel special today. And what about the rest of your family? From Indigo you can order a gratitude journal that’s designed for both parents and kids! https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/9781641529778-item.html?ref=item_page:richrel:rr_carousel:json1 Why not develop this habit together? The added benefit of a journal is that given these uncertain times, you can always go back and look at previous entries to remind yourself of how lucky you are.
In the spirit of gratitude, we wanted to take a moment to express genuine thanks to everyone who is helping to care for others during this time, from medical workers to grocery store clerks and everyone in between. Hopefully we will never be faced with these unprecedented times again, but try to see the light at the end of the tunnel and remember this is temporary. Enjoy the family time, go to town on self care, bond with your partner, catch up on Netflix, just find things to do that will make you happy.
5. Embrace nature
If you can do so safely, get outside and try to really embrace that fresh air and sunshine. It is spring after all! Forest bathing, or spending time in nature, appears to both decrease stress and increase your mood at the same time. Like music, nature has a way of uplifting the spirit. Marvel at the rich variety of sights and sounds around you. Doing this will take you out of your head and back into the present moment (i.e. mindfulness). Look up at the sky and admire its stunning shade of blue as well as the shape of its clouds. Smell the crispness of the air. Listen to the birds sweetly chirping in the distance. Can you identify where the sounds are coming from? What kind of bird is it? Now look at the diversity of plants around you. Are there any trees with flowers on them that have just started to blossom? What colour are those flowers? If it’s spritzing a bit, welcome that too. I find that there’s something very peaceful about rain, both the sound of a downpour as well as seeing drops of rain cascade down onto beautiful leaves. Take in all that lush greenery, take a deep breath, and smile! Recognize that you are part of a bigger system and are surrounded by health and vitality. Once you’re outside you may be so captivated by the natural world (particularly if you’ve been at home for a while) that you might be tempted to take some photos for yourself!
For bonus points, get active or even just stretch outside. If you’re looking for inspiration for you and your family, take a look at PE with Joe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z05939ZMbE. He posts a new kid-friendly workout every day on YouTube and he’s very entertaining! Or watch this tutorial to learn JLo’s TikTok Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBYcgjwVYiQ. Doing all of this in your local park may earn you some awkward glances from passers-by but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! Strut your stuff and you’ll feel like a spring chicken!
6. It’s Physical Distancing, Not Social Distancing
If there’s one thing modern technology is actually good for, it’s for times like this. You can facetime with your friends and fam pretty much whenever you want, and you can probably do it way more now compared to before all of this started. (There’s something else to jot down in your gratitude journal!) You can (almost) cook together, play games together, keep each motivated, and if you’re family is like most, you’ll still be able to adorably offend each other as much as your heart desires! Share your successes, but if you want to vent, do that too.
Depending on your social circle and how you’re feeling, you may want to reach out to someone who has been trained to support those finding it tricky to manage this new reality. Many counsellors are now offering virtual support – you can contact your family doctor and ask them to suggest a suitable service for you. Of course, always check out our social media to stay connected with us! We’re all in this together.
As a quick bonus tip, Gabby Bernstein created this brilliant idea of reminding you to prioritize fun: she suggests writing on a sticky note, “I measure my success by how much fun I’m having” and putting it somewhere you’ll see often (your mirror for example) and looking at it for 40 days. Sometimes we need to be reminded! For more information, check out this link: https://gabbybernstein.com/have-fun-achieving-goals/.
We hope you enjoyed our first blog! You can also use a lot of these tips at the same time if you want to amplify your fun-loving superpowers (except maybe the meditation!) Feel free to continue to explore these practices when everything has returned to normal. In the meantime, stay safe, stay tuned and remember to be good people! xo