Three life lessons learnt from living through and living with (day 18) the COVID-19 virus.
Virus lesson 1: mindfulness
As content creators clamber to create positive stories (and that’s not a criticism, good for them), it seems movement and mindfulness are number one in the feelgood charts. If you’re tuned into any kind of social media or news you will have heard why the now matters — now more than ever.
Reading an article on Medium, I’m reminded that it’s easy to convince ourselves we’re in control, as Darren says: “The uncertainty was always there, but before I could convince myself I had a way to manage it — to beat it.” And of course, I’ve been listening to my old favourite, Virgin Radio’s, Chris Evans, who’s between 630am and 10 am is all about the now and being upbeat, and running, too! Finally, of course, my Headspace app, it says the same thing, in different ways, it’s my daily practice, to reinforce the message, it makes sense to stay in the moment, and breathe.
Virus lesson 2: gratitude
Again I was reminded to be grateful as I read LBC Radio’s Theo Underwood’s story in the Sunday Times, the 38-year-old nearly died from this virus — and yes, no underlying health conditions. And also in the Sunday Times, in article about how to cope with isolation, Terry Waite, the archbishop’s envoy who was famously captured and imprisoned in solitary confinement in the Lebanon for almost five years, reminds us, simply, not to feel sorry for ourselves — there really is someone worse off. Anyone who’s listened to a meditation, or read a self-help book, or just glanced at social media, will know what I mean when I say ‘be grateful’. It’s simple, be grateful for your house and the safety it provides, rather than say you’re stuck at home. Be grateful for the TV, radio, social media, friends, food, family, soap, water, and opportunity to do something different. Read more about the science behind gratitude here.
Virus lesson 3: being centred
Writing in Psychology Today, Diana Raab, phd says: “Being centered means that you have a reference point or a place to come back to when life’s challenges and emotions push you off balance.” Running anchors and allows me to be centred. It sets my body barometer for the day, whether I run, or have a day off. Not running makes me feel out of sync with myself. But as I type this, my 18-day coronavirus lingers on. I feel like have a sleeping lion in my chest, purring away at the moment, but, if it’s troubled again (as it was on Thursday when I ran 10K), it’ll roar — and who knows where that will leave me… so I’m learning (or re-learning) these basic life lessons.
For me, fitness is my centring place, and my back to basics barometer. Now is not a time to overcomplicate things. I often take up weight training or yoga and think, oh I really should do this more often? Then I slip to my default way of training — running — and forget about the stretching, the stillness, and tuning into my ever-tighter muscles. I suspect many people are finding running now and thinking the same as me. Whatever way you do it, stay centred and stick with good habits.
Read about Fiona’s virus experience, as told to the zone contributor, Jo Waters, for the Daily Mail in March 2020.