Musing Monday – what will you do differently?

Each Monday I’ll post a picture of a place I’ve been to or lived in, along with some reflections to go with it. I’ve changed this week’s name to just Musing Monday as the topic is not something to be taken lightly. This week the photo is from Paris, France.

So this photo is a recent one. In fact, it’s one I took just this morning on the way back home from dropping of my daughter at school. It epitomises everything that has been happening the last few days in France and in many other European countries – the second Covid-19 wave and re-confinement along with the closure of many businesses.

It’s a sad image, particularly for Parisian culture. In Paris, the bars, restaurants and cafes are a big part of life, where so many people go to start their morning with a cafe at the comptoir, their after-work apero with a glass of wine or beer on the terrasse before heading to a trendy restaurant for dinner. On the weekends there is always a line to eat at the most popular places for brunch and bars are buzzing.

It’s going to be a struggle for many businesses as well as ourselves, having to be confined (once again) in our homes. However, we have history on our side this time. We know what to expect. It reminds me of this artistic performance by Yoann Bourgeois called “La Mécanique de l’Histoire” or “The Mechanics of History”. It’s a very interesting piece, and one where (how I interpret anyway) takes a look at history and the steps that we have walked on before. We can follow in the footsteps and do exactly the same, or we can decide to make a few changes along the way despite the same circumstances.

As many of us head back into lockdown, what will you do differently this time?

What are you mentally preparing yourself for? Mental health was a big one last confinement, and so I want to provide some links and things I’ve found helpful in coping with my mental health.

Breathing. I know it sounds simple, and taking the time a few minutes a day to sit and focus on your breathe will help because it tells your brain to relax. Breathe in through your nose, then slowly breathe out. Any thoughts that come, allow them and acknowledge them. Then release them and continue breathing.

Exercise. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day to go out for a walk, it will get those endorphins going. The fresh air and the sounds of nature will help ground you.

Cut yourself some slack. It isn’t easy, we are going through tough times. Allow yourself to feel the way you do and don’t be hard on yourself. If some days are better than others, so be it. Don’t feel guilty. One day we may be super productive and baking up a storm, the next day we feel emotionally drained and just want to watch Netflix eating those cupcakes we baked. BOTH ARE OK.

Connect with loved ones. If you are feeling down, connect with those you love. See their faces, have a chat, find an online game to play together. Sometimes just knowing how others are doing (and that they are feeling and going through the same as yourself) it can help.

Talk to a professional. Sometimes we need a new perspective and coping skills. Here’s where a professional can help so don’t hesitate to contact your local doctor who can refer you to someone. There are now also hotlines you can call and have someone be there for you.

Here are some resources and links to get you started:
Apps for breathing: Balance; Calm; Headspace
Hotlines: SOS Help in Paris; NHS hotlines in the UK; Lifeline in Shanghai
Exercise: BikiniBodyMommy (don’t let the name fool you, she has some great workouts for those just starting and especially for post-partum); Couch to 5K and if you’re in France, Neoness Live. Also, reach out to any local studios to see if they offer any online.

*Please note, I am not affiliated with any of the above and it is not a paid sponsorship, it is purely as a resource

Please take care of yourself as we re-enter another period of confinement.

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