In much of the world, Covid-19 is still tangibly affecting day-to-day life. With possible effective vaccines on the horizon, there is cause for hope, yet we still face months of restrictions on what we can do.
It’s natural to feel ‘over it’ and want things back to normal. This kind of pandemic fatigue may be making things feel very difficult at the moment. While mindfulness can’t solve everything, here are six steps that might offer some help.
1. Spend time outside
In the northern hemisphere, we are experiencing shorter days and colder temperatures, and if we are working from home, that may mean that our daily routine isn’t making us spend time outside.
While it’s tempting to huddle up and stay cosy inside, it can be beneficial to resist. Instead, by wrapping up warm and going outside, we may will a little better. Use mindfulness to become aware of your steps (even if walking fast!), trees and nature, the sky, and the cold air on your face.
2. Question your idea of happiness
We all have ideas of what happiness is. Sometimes these can be very subtle. It could be a promotion at work, a holiday, or even just a kind word from someone whose acceptance we would like. Somewhere at the back of our mind, we have an idea that “if x happens, we will be happy”. But Thich Nhat Hanh has warned us that this idea of happiness can cause us to suffer.
With so many restrictions, now is a time to try to identify and question our ideas of happiness. What we think is necessary to our happiness may not be so essential after all; we might not have considered other ways to be happy. Establishing this could help tackle pandemic fatigue.
3. Find joy in the small things
Mindfulness allows us to squeeze joy from the most ‘mundane’ activities. When we sit and meditate, our breath can become a wonder and the simple fact of being alive can become a reason to be happy. An ordinary stroll can make us marvel at the human anatomy that allows us to walk. Eating a meal or a snack mindfully can become a symphony of sensation.
We can even use our mindfulness to transform ‘neutral’ feelings into positive ones.
When we have a toothache, we would love for it to end – but do we appreciate all the time that our teeth don’t ache? Or having a roof over our heads? Or being safe from war and violence?
If we can refresh our mindfulness practice and find joy and wonder each day, we will be able to have more patience for the coming months.
We thank the Plum Village App Team for writing this article and allowing us to re-post it here.