Spring in the Netherlands has arrived and I could not be happier. The grey winter has slipped away and plants and flowers blooming make their appearance. The longer daylight hours mean an hour less of sleep but that’s alright with me since more time can be spent outdoors. With the weather warming up I’ve been longing for outside activities like picnics at the park and beers on the terrace.
However, I wonder will I have to resort to fond memories of last year’s spring? With Coronavirus at bay, many of us are quarantined at home looking at the arrival of Spring from our windows. Here in the Netherlands we are in a sort of ‘quasi’ lockdown if you will. As in: the Dutch Government has not enforced a total lockdown and we are still permitted to go outside if not ill, but with max 3 people at a time. Essentially a lock-down, since gatherings are permitted and nothing can remain open. With these measures now extended until the 1st of June, many experts are still criticizing the Dutch approach claiming that it’s not strong enough.
Being stuck indoors for a long period of time practicing isolation and social distancing time has been quite challenging. Over the past two weeks I have found the following activities help me cope better.
Mindful Conversations with Family & Friends
Living in a fast-pace world the pandemic has forced a slowdown on all aspects of life. As strange as it may sound, this positively affects the way I communicate with others. With less external distractions I am having more mindful conversations. It’s always so nice to hear from my family members and close ones back home in Los Angeles, especially during this challenging time. However, by slowing down, being fully present and receptive I am better able to reconnect and further develop our relationship. Practicing mindfulness not only benefits your relationships but can better your everyday life communication.
Exercise, it’s Spring!
It’s nice being at home because I have more time to cook my favorites recipes and indulge in Netflix series. However, after a couple days binge watching ‘La Casa de Papel’ and baking all types of banana and chocolate bread possible, I feel more sluggish and fatigue. This is why staying physically active is important for your well-being. Going on a run makes me feel less anxious about being cooped up in the house and a sure way to get my heart rate up. Although everything is closed, there are plenty of ways to stay active other than a gym membership. Download an exercise app, find videos on Youtube or do a fitness challenge. I personally love following the fitness Guru Cassey Ho and her Blogilates workouts.
Take Online Courses
With all the extra time this is the perfect opportunity to brush up on any skills, learn some new ones or get that certificate you’ve always wanted to showcase on your LinkedIn. I’m so happy to have Dutch classes each week because it’s sharpening my cognitive skills and improving my pronunciation. Not only this but class enables me to stay motivated and self-disciplined to study.
Space is okay
Our previous routines may have entailed going to work, heading to the gym, meeting up with friends and seeing each other when it was dinner time. Now, we are quarantined 24/7 in the house together. Whether you’re living with a partner, family or housemates, this longer time together can call for conflict. This is why it’s important to find a way to better coexist with one another. Whether that’s making a routine, splitting chores, communicating better, going out for a run or creating an artificial space. We must learn to respect each other’s individual space.
Watching the news is vital to stay informed. However, taking a much needed break can be good for you. Last week we had the television turned to CNN & local news stations which consisted of Coronavirus dominating 95% reporting. As a result I became more anxious and frustrated and eventually too worried to leave the house. Try to limit your news consumption if you can.
Life goes on during Lockdown
The Coronavirus has disrupted many things around the world. We are working from home, missing classes & lectures, having events postponed, getting laid off from jobs, and missing face to face contact with our loved ones. This is discouraging to say the least, but we must remember that despite this, life is not cancelled and still moves on.