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You wake up, walk out to your living room and look out the window to get some fresh air and sunlight. You look over at the surrounding mountains and notice the intricate colours the morning sun makes on the tips of the snow-covered mountains. You open the window and take it all in for a moment. You feel the fresh air enter your lungs, the sun on your face. This was one of my favourite moments whilst staying in Peru during COVID-19.
I know a lot of you don’t have mountains as a view (I’m showing off) but these are the moments I’ve been focusing on whilst staying in Peru during COVID-19. The subtle, quiet ones that I usually forget while I’m rushing around and being ‘busy’ all the time.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my fair share of ugly days and stressful times as I’m sure most people have, but I think I’ve found my own little, quiet way of coping.
At first, I was very stressed and confused. I was consumed and obsessed with media announcements and information about COVID-19. And when the quarantine was extended in Peru by another 2 weeks on April 8th, I was stressed out of mind. I struggled to relax even though I was stuck in my apartment. I didn’t know whether to return home to Australia or wait it out here in Peru, I didn’t know if I could handle another 2 weeks or more on my own and everything felt overwhelming.
I talked to family members and friends and wrote pros and cons lists before I finally decided to wait it out in Peru. Making that decision helped me to relax a little. But I still had a long way to go before finding my quiet optimist.
I’m sure many people have had more difficult and complicated decisions to make. It can be hard to know what to do when nothing is certain.
Our world is much more complicated and difficult to navigate now. And if we can’t change our situation or make plans for our futures, then what can we do?
Well…we can change our perspectives.
Our minds are powerful things and I’ve been fascinated by finding its limits and seeing how far it can be pushed through my various expeditions.
But, what can we do when there is nothing to accomplish? When all we can do is wait?
This virus has forced us to stay indoors. But perhaps, at the same time, it has also forced us to slow down, to contemplate, to look within ourselves for a solution not yet known.
But…how can I slow down? How can I find some kind of inner monk within myself during this crazy time? I can’t promise that you’ll find an inner monk but if you can feel just a little more grounded then I think it’s worth a try.
Here’s a few suggestions:
- Take long showers.
- Sleep in.
- Enjoy and learn the art of cooking.
- Reduce media and news input.
- Watch movies you used to watch when you were a kid, the ones that lit you up with inspiration and wonder.
- Have long conversations with friends and family.
- Pick up a new hobby or project and enjoy the process of learning in your own time (learn an instrument, write in a journal or blog, take an online language class, start an online course).
- Try to find online work if possible, such as; Teaching English Online.
- Write a long and detailed bucket list that leaves you feeling inspired and excited for the future.
- Make a hot chocolate and drink it on your roof or balcony (I really like hot chocolate).
- Play online chess or UNO with a friend.
- Read a book about something you’re interested in, just for the sake of it.
- Edit old photos and make a photo album.
- Remember that it’s okay to have bad days and not have a ‘productive’ day. Sometimes the best ideas and thoughts are born in the most boring of moments.
By no means am I saying that by doing these things and thinking this way that you will solve all of your problems and feel happy all the time. The problems a lot of us are facing are very real, scary and require attention. But when you have done all you can and there is nothing more you can do. Take a break, read this article again, breathe, slow down.
If staying in Peru during COVID-19 has taught me anything it’s this…
Find your quiet optimist.
My respect goes out to all those working during this time to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and my thoughts go out to those who are struggling, who have lost their jobs, who are taking care of a family and who have lost or are worried about loved ones.