• Six Ways To Optimize Life Amidst Uncertainty and Isolation

    Hope everyone is doing well during these strange and unprecedented times. It’s a real shock to the system when all plans for the foreseeable future have been overturned by a global pandemic, made worse by the impact this has had on people’s health, families and financial situations. I’ve consumed a LOT of digital media – far more than usual as I’m stuck at home – but I wanted to distill the great pieces of advice I’ve learned from thanks to all the wonderful corners of the internet and share them in one place. My hope is that at least one or two of the below six points resonate with you as achievable, low-cost and low-maintenance ways to bring joy and a newfound spirit of purpose in these uncertain days and weeks ahead.

    • Make a financial game plan for the next three months.
      Uncertainty is by nature impossible to plan around, but you can take some simple steps to streamline your finances, set aside money for the future and ensure you’re living comfortably and happily right now.

      The good news? The recent guidelines on self-isolation and limiting non-essential travel means a lot of us will be saving on day to day expenses. However, it also means finding new ways to entertain and indulge ourselves, and for some it might unfortunately mean changes to income/business and additional costs of healthcare and maintaining wellbeing.

      Wherever you may fall in these circumstances, it’s worth considering developing a financial plan of action. Outline your fixed expenses for the next few months, factoring in where those may have changed due to the circumstances, and include any major payments you’re expecting to make in the next few months as well. Now revisit your discretionary budgets (all the non-essentials but nice-to-haves) and see where there is room for some of these to be eliminated and contribute to your savings instead.

      Now, while you’re planning your work/life balance from home for the next few weeks/months, see if you can identify one or two things you can do to treat yourself and bring you joy during this tough time. Put it in your calendar and commit to it so you know you have the budget for it when the time comes and you feel you need it most. Whether that’s an online therapy session with a professional, a swanky Deliveroo or a new Asos haul to lift your spirits, make sure it’s accounted for responsibly.
    • Use this opportunity to develop a skill and pursue an interest.
      If you’re not commuting at the moment, think of it this way – you’ve got nearly two extra hours in each day to dedicate to self-improvement in a leisurely way. You won’t be graded or assessed on your performance as you try to learn how to play songs on your new keyboard, dig out an old guitar or learn French on Duolingo. The possibilities are endless!
    • Show your support to others by spreading love and kindness.
      And put it on the agenda for the day so you know it’s got to be done – have you reached out to a friend, neighbor or elderly relative who might be alone right now? Written a letter to someone far away whom you were meaning to visit before the travel restrictions were imposed? Shown support to your favorite small businesses and online entrepreneurs? These are just a few ideas – but it’s amazing how the feel-good factor really kicks in when you open your heart to others and let kindness lead the way.
    • Get crafty in the kitchen and use what you have.
      People may be panicking, but if you’re well prepared – there’s no need to. Before doing a massive shop, identify what’s already in your pantry for you to use during meal prep, and then add fresh produce/sauces and condiments as needed.

      Writing out an outline of what you have on hand for meals and snacks for the week ahead will take less than 10 minutes, and provide peace of mind as you look to focus on other areas of your life. At the moment, I’m loving smoothies with my frozen fruit and greens, canned soups and stews from Biona Organic and Amy’s Kitchen, and breakfast for dinner to fill me up and lift my mood! Better yet, find a few recipes online and bake up a storm of sweet treats for a relaxing way to end the day.
    • Reboot your self-care routine.
      I’ve loved using this time to redefine what taking care of myself means. Whether that’s finally using up all the beauty samples from past Sephora orders and experimenting with new hair masks and primers, spending extra time on my skincare and makeup routines to get set up for the day, plan FaceTime dates with family and friends, organise my room so I have a better sense of where everything is (including summer clothes for the coming season!), taking more time to journal and reflect and having literally no excuse to not meditate more frequently, I don’t think I’ve taken this good care of my body and mind in a long while. I’m reaping the benefits of it for sure – my amazing Form Nutrition cognitive health, energy and sleep supplements are a game-changer, I’ve been enjoying getting extra sleep, foam rolling and stretching before bed and so much more. Talk about a silver lining during a difficult time!
    • Forget optimizing and get comfortable with uncertainty and boredom.
      While this is counter-intuitive given the title of this post, it’s an important one to keep in mind. I read an amazing quote the other day: “The quality of your life is directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty you can withstand.” What better time to stumble upon these words than now, when it pays to get comfy with being uncomfy, embrace uncertainty and let this be an opportunity to ground you further within yourself, look inwards and breathe. Boredom is fantastic for creativity, and is a rare luxury that modern life quickly crowds out. Sit quietly and observe how it changes you if you let it, and what good can come of a change of pace. @halemur’s Instagram post also included a great point from her therapist for everyone beating themselves up for not living their best life amidst isolation:

      “Any energy you spend beating yourself up for not “making the most” of a global pandemic (so fucking dark!!!) is energy stolen from you by capitalism. You are more than your output. (Repeat 3x)”

    Hope these thoughts were helpful to someone and that they gave you one or two new ideas on how to shake up this strange time at home. Sending you lots of love!