Posts Tagged With: happy

Surviving COVID-19 Quarantine

 

I’ll admit that I’ve never seen disruption to this degree in life! I remember back in 2003 when I was a travel agent, and facing similar uncertainty with the SARS crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is definitely a whole new level!

I do miss my routine (work, play). I bet you do too. But it’s not quite so bad. In my neck of the woods, we can still go out for walks, exercise outdoors, walk our dogs, etc. And I’m super grateful for this! But many of you are not so fortunate. Leaving your home without proper justification can mean legal trouble, so you are confined within the walls of your humble abode.

You’ve likely kept sane by watching countless hours of YouTube videos, Netflix, etc. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve been using this time to catch up on my WIP.

And I’d like to share some similar ways to pass the time, especially in one with so much uncertainty and fear.

I’ve been telling people around me to stay positive, and I’m hoping by the end of this post you will be inspired to do that. The most important things you can do are the things that make you happy. Because when you are happy, you will think positive thoughts. So here are a few small things you can do to channel those positive vibes while practicing social distancing:

1. Take up a new hobby – here’s where YouTube comes in. Ever wanted to learn how to play a new instrument? Paint? I suggest using this downtime to learn a new hobby you’ve always wanted to take up but never had the time. Watch some videos (and there’s plenty of them) to get a feeling since you obviously can’t go out and buy a paint set, instrument. That can come during better times. Why not set out some time to learn a new hobby online.

2. Learn a new language – there are lots of language-learning apps out there, such as Duolingo. They’re free and have lessons for complete beginners. I use one to learn French and German, whilst keeping up my Spanish. I suggest devoting thirty minutes a day to doing simple lessons. You will be surprised how much you can learn in that time.

3. Journal – no, you should just write down your daily happenings. I suggest going deeper and being reflective. Make a list of the things you are grateful for; your best skills; the things that have made you a better person. What would like to accomplish by the end of the year (you might remember a previous post I made suggesting this). You will not only discover more about yourself, you will also think positive thoughts. You can even note how COVID-19 makes you feel in your journal. Go ahead, you know you wanna!

4. Exercise – this is crucial, and you can still get it indoors. Again, YouTube can be your helping hand. If you’re a yogi, you’ve likely been practicing during this whole social distancing thing. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give yoga a try? Well now you can, and there are plenty of videos for total beginners.

5. Meditation – definitely a necessity for positive-thinking. COVID-19 is bringing about stress beyond belief, and meditation can help curb said stress. You don’t have to meditate like the hard-core types. Just find a quiet spot in your home, close your eyes and listen to soothing instrumental music (no lyrics at all) for about eight minutes.

What you want to avoid is getting fixated on media regarding the COVID-19. I’m not suggesting ignoring it completely, but absolutely don’t let it become an obsession. When you get fixated on the news, you will start leaning towards the negative spectrum. And you don’t want that. Because then you won’t sleep or eat properly.

Stay positive and know that we will all get through this!

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Winter Wonderland

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Some of you are probably not going to like this post, and that’s okay. But it seems that Christmas Day is the one day everyone wants to see the scene in the picture above, and most of the time (at least where I am) it doesn’t come. The white stuff seems to be plentiful once the holidays are over. Which isn’t convenient because we are all back at school, work, etc. By now, some of you are depressed from all the snow and the thought of listening to any song praising snow and winter just makes you want to punch something – or someone.

Here in the Great White North, we are accustomed to long, cold and snowy winters. Many decide to head down to the all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, while others less fortunate opt to hibernate and binge on Netflix and the like. Nothing wrong with that, however, I choose to embrace winter. That’s right, I actually love seeing the snow, though I hate it when I have to drive in it. But I mean winter is part of what makes my country unique. There is something celestial about hearing the snow crunch under my boots, gazing at the white stuff while inhaling the frosty air. And I want to share a few things to help you embrace winter since you can’t always rely on the possibility of an early spring.

Here are some of the ways you can enjoy winter. For those of you living in warmer climates, feel free to laugh or share this with friends in colder climates.

  1. Skiing – my favorite winter pastime since I was eleven. It’s great exercise and it really gets the adrenaline going. You don’t have to go to the Rockies or the Alps to enjoy skiing (unless you want to). Even a local ski hill will do just the trick. I am fortunate to be within 100 miles of at least six ski hills, and I currently have a season pass to one of them.

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2. Skating – another favorite of mine, and often a more economical winter pleasure. There are bound to be lots of indoor and outdoor choices near you, and if you don’t own skates, you can rent a pair for a modest fee. Plus, it is a great thing to do as a couple or a family. You can even indulge in hot chocolate afterward.

3. Snowshoeing – if skating or skiing isn’t your thing, snowshoeing can be a substitute. All you need is a pair of snowshoes and access to a forest or hiking trail. You might even spot a few furry creatures along the way, such as squirrels.

4. A simple walk through the woods – no equipment needed, just simply take a long stroll down your favorite walking trail. I am also fortunate enough to live close to a mile-long trail that cuts through a forested area. It’s good exercise, fresh air and a chance to get in touch with nature. One thing I love about winter hiking is no mosquitoes, which means a relatively peaceful walk.

Now you don’t have to do the following every day. With our daily grind, it is just not possible. But just once a week is better than nothing. It would be a shame to spend all winter cooped up, soaking up screen time.

One way to bring calmness into your life is to appreciate the present moment. We often get so caught up with what lies ahead, we forget to pause and reflect on what is happening right now. Instead of hating winter and wishing it away, it is better to appreciate it while it is here. Spring will eventually come around.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Reflecting on 2019

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So first of all, I want to thank those who commented on my last post about Poland! I wasn’t expecting such a huge turnout! Funny how things happen when we’re not expecting them!

I’d also like to apologize for not posting as much on my blog as I normally did in years past, as well as for not being active on Twitter. I will try and make the former more of a priority. As with the latter, well…my plan is to come back to that when my debut novel is finally finished. I just don’t like to brag as much about my personal life as other authors.

Anyway, with 2020 just days away, it’s time look ahead to the potential fortunes of the new year. But before you do the countdown and crack open the bubbly, try and look back on 2019. I mean once it’s gone, it’s gone. A friend once told me that it’s good pause and reflect on the recent past and present. It helps appreciate what has been accomplished. We often get so caught on looking ahead to the future, we don’t stop reflect on what we have already achieved. What were your biggest achievements of 2019? Was 2019 not your greatest year? No worries! It might be a good idea to look back on what didn’t go so well so that 2020 can be better.

I thought I would share some of my top fives of 2019:

  1. I successfully completed my teaching contract in Poland
  2. I voluntarily created a LinkedIn page for my former school
  3. I helped a woman get home after she found herself stranded in my town
  4. I visited new countries: Hungary, Croatia and Turkey
  5. I made significant progress in my novel (ten chapters written)

 

Unfortunately, this year saw the end of five-year friendship. Actually, this friend lost me. After enduring months of his toxic attitude and jealousy towards me, I had to kick him to the curb. As much of a relief it was, it caused a lot of pain since we had been friends for such a long time. A lesson learned: any friend who is constantly jealous of you, criticizes your actions and holds a grudge for petty things is NOT a friend! The good thing that did come out of this is that I learned to stand up to people that rub me the wrong way (a weakness for many years).

Sadly, my uncle passed away this year at the age of 85. He was a wonderful man, always treated me like his own son whenever I visited him, and a tireless worker, father and husband.

I challenge you to look back and write down five of your biggest accomplishments of the year, and even one of two things that didn’t work out for you. Think of it as saying ‘thank you’ to 2019.

And on a final note, Happy New Year to all my loyal followers!

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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