How are you bearing up? I’m not going to lie, I have good and bad days, and with another four weeks of lockdown to go in Mauritius (hopefully no more), I’m sure the rollercoaster of emotions will continue. I have to be honest, I don’t engage much in talk of the current situation, for many reasons, but mainly because I don’t want to feed it. For me to stay healthy of mind I need to do other things, to carry on as normally as possible and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you’re finding your own ways of dealing with it. Nevertheless, I know many of you may be struggling so I wanted to write about what lessons I’ve learned from all of this – what has helped me, what hasn’t and what I wish I’d done sooner. Please note – it’s in no way meant to be one of those ‘You should do this and that’ blogs, they’re annoying and one size doesn’t fit all. Rather it’s just my reflections on what I’ve done, not done, and should have done sooner, which I hope someone will find helpful in some small way. So let’s begin…
There was a time when all this started when everyone suddenly became master bakers; you couldn’t move for pictures of baked goods on social media. Got to say – I never did it, not once, and don’t feel like I missed out. Unless there is a shortage of bread in the shops, you won’t catch me baking anything, ever. Baking is not my forte and I don’t really want to start now ☺
One thing that’s been critical for me during this time is maintaining a good diet. At one point early in the lockdown, the Mauritian Government closed the supermarkets overnight for over a week, meaning we had to live on what we had in the house. This wasn’t a good time. It was worse for many others but I hadn’t stockpiled (we were told there was no need) and was truly frightened about not having enough food. And by the time I was able to shop again, I was so scared it could happen again that I bought sooo much food I wouldn’t normally eat, (and not the good stuff), which led to two weeks of frantic eating. I was in panic mode and overate to compensate. Thankfully, a balance returned and I’ve managed to eat sensibly (most of the time), which has helped keep my energy levels up. I may not be a baker, but I make an excellent range of soups. I can share my recipes with you if you wish, just get in touch.
Again, whilst it was the ‘thing’ to be undertaking new exercise routines online, I did nothing for weeks, but wish I had. Thankfully I’ve now begun to exercise a few times a week, and I do feel so much better, especially mentally. In Mauritius we can’t leave the house to exercise, so I did resort to running laps of my garden at one time. However I now do yoga and strength training mostly, which is essential for straightening out the kinks from hours at the jewellery bench or computer.
Keeping a routine
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t want to dwell on the situation we’re in and to help ensure I don’t (though I do get lapses), I’ve tried to keep as much of a routine as possible. I’m lucky in that I can work from home so can generally continue to work as before. Despite newly subscribing to Netflix, I’ve resisted the urge to binge watch all the goodness, rather I keep it for a few evenings a week. Since being in Mauritius I’ve not been a huge TV viewer and haven’t missed it in 5 years.
Listening to podcasts
When not watching Netflix I love listening to podcasts. I know many people feel pressure to use this time ‘well’ to grow as a person, or to learn lessons, and I’m not saying you must do that, but I’ve always found listening to podcasts that help me grow as a business and a person really interesting and helpful, so why stop now? Maybe I listen to them a bit more now, but I love how they make you think and ask questions, which rarely happens when you’re flaked out in front of the TV. And right now I need plenty of mental stimulation.
I have two favourite podcasts at the moment. The first is a podcast by a US mentor called Jim Fortin. He specialises in looking at how to help people live their best lives. But he’s different from the others – whilst they say you need to change your mindset to live the life you want, his view is you must first change your identity, and how you see yourself; only then will you be able to make all the other changes you need. He really is fascinating, so if you’d like to read more just visit www.jimfortin.com. I’d like to give a huge shout out to Sophie Le Brozec of www.sophielebrozec.com, for introducing me to him. Sophie is also a great source of inspiration on living your best life, and I urge you to check out her life reboot camp.
A podcast I’ve been listening to for nearly a year now is Thrive by Design by Flourish and Thrive Academy in the US. It’s aimed at jewellery businesses but if you have any product-based business, this is a great source of information, training and mentorship for you. Their online community of support and business information really has kept me sane throughout this time. These guys really are at the cutting edge of business mentorship and were helping businesses pivot right from the start of the current situation, so no time was lost in keeping up business momentum.
Getting some sun
In Mauritius, the sun is (almost) always shining. The problem is, my garden is covered by palm trees and the only glimpse of sun I get is between 2-4pm on my narrow pathway each day. For weeks I didn’t realise how important it was to get some sun each day, so didn’t, and felt lethargic and generally low of mood. I also had terrible skin (which the make up artist Armelle Bathfield told me was partly due to a lack of vitamin D). So I’ve started to sit in the sun a bit more, though I know I need to do it more often.
Skyping with family and messaging friends
Without electronic forms of communication, this period would have been unbearable. I regularly skype my family in Wales and was due to fly back over Easter. Knowing I wasn’t going to see them in person has been the worst thing about all of this, it truly broke my heart. But luckily, we have Skype, and I think by now, they are tired of seeing my face so many times a day ☺ Seriously, being able to maintain contact with them has been essential for me; I hope you can keep in touch with your loved ones too.
The biggest saving grace right now is that I can continue to make your jewellery. Due to my studio being at home, I’ve not only been able to continue making your orders but I’ve managed to really flex my creative muscles. I’ve experimented with new styles of jewellery and have been designing like crazy, which has really stretched me in terms of the jewellery styles I’ll be bringing you. Mind you, I have had to take it a lot more slowly these past few days as I’ve injured my shoulder from all the making. So yes, there can be too much of a good thing.
So there you have it – what I’ve done, am doing, and wish I’d done sooner during this time, to keep me balanced both mentally and physically. The balance isn’t perfect and I’ve not got it ‘all sorted’, but it has gotten easier over the weeks. I hope you’ve found your sources of comfort and are managing to live as you would like, as best you can. To quote Jim Fortin, it may not seem like it, but ‘Things always have been, are now, and will always be fine in life’.
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