Three Powers to Nail During Quarantine
If you’re anything like the vast majority of Americans, self-quarantine feels like both a gift and a curse. On one hand, your days may have gotten longer in the absence of commuting and socializing. On the other hand, your days may have gotten dreadfully long—so drawn-out, in fact, that it’s been all too easy to throw in the towel, park yourself on the sofa, and queue up Gilmore Girls yet again.
And yet, as COVID-19 radically alters our inner and outer landscapes, it’s vital to focus on the first: That this time is indeed a gift, but only if it’s spent wisely. The future of the world is uncertain but what holds steady is your capacity to come out of this stronger, healthier, and economically sound—in short, prepared for whatever may await. Here are three powers to build and nourish while you’re sealed inside your “cave:”
1. Inner Power
Your inner power is within you at all times—showing up when you need to initiate that difficult conversation, proving itself when you require resilience, and nurturing you in ways you may have been blind to before the coronavirus outbreak. Now, you may be feeling shakier than ever, which means it’s time to pay real attention to reinforcing those critical interior strengths.
Chances are you’re overwhelmed by the state of things and filled with a mix of heartache and fear. This is not only natural but also tolerable. Having survived a number of enormous calamities and setbacks—from learning that my husband had ten days to live to facing the Great Recession while working in finance—I can tell you, first-hand, that this too really shall pass. What got through me those crucial times and countless others was this: The yoga practices I started as a child.
I’m not talking about asana (or the physical postures of yoga)—although these, too, are tremendously helpful. I’m talking about the regulation of my mind that asana prepares ourselves for.
Meditation, as Sally Rooney beautifully put it, can lead to an emptying of the mind that leaves you feeling as if your brain is “like the inside of a glass jar.” It’s a way to cleanse your slate from the concerns that have been tumbling in from every which way; a means to connect with an ineffable, ever-loving source.
As the brains over at Headspace frame it, “Our entire existence is experienced through our minds, and our perspective on life can dramatically alter once we begin meditating.” Science shows again and again that the practice can promote enhanced focus, less stress, and greater management over our emotions. (If you’re new to the practice, go here; if you’re already committed to it, consider lengthening your meditation time.)
Once silence has become an organic part of your day, use it to your benefit. Clean up the attic of your subconscious. Examine the choices you’ve made in recent years and determine if they’ve created the life you desire, or have deterred or distorted it. What can you do moving forward? What does a new life for you, and for the world, look like? Explore this in the quiet.
Lastly, rest your brain—not only during meditation but throughout your now-longer days. If there’s anything the coronavirus has taught us (and I believe there’s plenty), it’s that our collective go-go-go ethos was unsustainable. Welcome the slower pace quarantine is creating by understanding that we are all batteries that need recharging.
2. Physical Health
Your immune system—as well as your loved ones’—are likely on the forefront of your mind. You may have a cabinet crammed to the max with supplements ranging from Vitamin C to Colloidal Silver, are committing to an exercise program, and have been attempting to get ample sleep. All of which is well and good, but genuine immunity is also dependent on your diet.
Remember my husband who was given ten days to live? This was due to a lump that suddenly appeared on his neck and grew to the size of a grapefruit in a number of days. Given that I used to be a medical researcher, I turned to my computer for information that could help. I talked to people that had fought cancer with nutrition and supplements. I implemented every morsel of data on nutrition and juicing I had learned. By the time my husband was scheduled to begin chemo, the grapefruit-sized growth had shrunk to the size of a small orange, and he didn’t have to start it all for several years.
How? By living on a diet that was jam-packed with nutrient-dense food. While I can’t condone the strategy for everyone, so many years later it hammers home the fact that fad diets are fads for a reason—and that the grocery store is your best medicine cabinet.
As you’re self-quarantining, think not of Beyonce’s 5-2 diet or Gwyneth Paltrow’s dedication to keto. Rather, research bio-individual nutrition—the concept that there’s only one version of you and you ought to eat (and live!) based on what’s right for you. Your age, gender, lifestyle, ethnicity, emotional state, food sensitivities, body composition, and more are taken into consideration under this model, allowing you to nourish your specific needs. And no matter what works best for you, know that you can boost your immune health by practicing this rule: Eat lots of vegetables, consume healthy fats in small doses, and dodge refined sugar.
Finally? In order to adopt and maintain physical health and the immunity that comes with it, you must believe in health and trust the strength of your spirit (revisit #1). Doing so will buttress the third power you ought to foster, which is…
3. Economic Wellness
Aside from the top 1%, few of us are immune to the great economic changes that are presently underfoot, and with this has arrived a wave of collective fear. For understandable reasons, too: The market dropped to its lowest point since 1987, businesses ranging from yoga studios to restaurants have shuttered their doors indefinitely, and a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment in the second week of the coronavirus outbreak.
Panicking, however, is a misuse of energy—which is what you will need to endure the COVID-19 crisis and come out of it economically ready. Instead, start exercising “mind money”—a practice in which you apply the tools of mindfulness to your finances.
How? By being just that: Mindful about your purchases, about your consumption of your purchases, about your time, and about your full financial picture.
The urge to splurge may be high during the coronavirus crisis as your brain seeks out pleasure, but now is the time to eliminate wants and concentrate entirely on needs (your rent/mortgage and food should top your list of priorities, followed by utilities and debts). Take this mindset into the store.
Additionally, consider how you can conserve what you have. Can that snack you usually eat in a single afternoon be meted out over the course of three or four? Can you reuse your leftovers to create a different dish the following night? Can you use half of the amount of your body lotion, makeup, and other personal care products?
Examine, too, how you’re spending your time. These long days of staying at home and away from the workplace and social interactions may make you feel that you have all the time in the world, which naturally gives way to wiling away your hours refreshing the news, going down rabbit holes about conspiracy theories, or over-indulging in your favorite TV show. Create structure to your day and find meaningful pursuits that will either a) enrich your preexisting skills or teach you new ones, b) strengthen your bond with your loved ones, c) bolster your health (such as finally joining your friends for CrossFit on Zoom), or d) bring in income.
Mindfulness around your complete financial status is also necessary at this time. As CNBC insists, “Paycheck or no, everyone needs to change up strategies for a new world. That means getting your finances in fighting shape, and reviewing all money coming in and going out.” If you are receiving a paycheck, take the cash that you once used on concert tickets, happy hours, and pedicures and stash it away in your emergency reserve or use it to pay off high-interest debts. And, above all, know that by nailing the first two powers here—inner and physical—you’ll have a clearer mind and a stronger system to deal with the uncertainties in this rapidly-changing era.