We are in the midst of a unique world situation, which calls for an unusual and perhaps not entirely wedding related post. Sheer Ever After find ourselves in a 21 day lockdown when no-one in South Africa is allowed to leave the house even for a walk, only to buy groceries or to seek medical help. Today we want to share with all our readers how to keep productive and positive even during such a testing time. With our tips below we are hoping to help you all to make the best of a difficult situation.
Follow your same Monday to Friday/ work life routine
It is important to wake up, get out of bed, get ready, shower, make the same (or healthier) breakfast around the same time as usual. Make yourself ready for a normal work day by performing your morning beauty routine, entailing even make-up, perfume and sophisticated work clothes. This might seem strange and unnecessary when you are more comfortable in your track suit pants and fiances t-shirt, but it will definitely help you to keep a sense of normality.
If your job is by the computer but you are not working from home, sit down in front of the computer and do a different task. Set up a station which is your “office”. Your body and mind will get quite shocked if the routine is suddenly changing, and especially if you are confined in a small space, to follow your same living pattern is the best strategy to keep a sense of stability going.
Stick to a schedule
Make an effort to set times for different tasks that you have planned for the day. Get into a habit of setting directives for the following day before you go to bed in the evening. This way you will begin your day with a clear plan.
Start and sign off from “work” (whether you are working from home or not) at the same sort of time. Be efficient and productive during your normal hours, then relax and unwind at the same times you usually do.
Continue to plan your wedding and work on your project
Even if it is only a Pinterest board and a “sometime in the future” event, stick to the process of planning a wedding. If your first wedding plan does not seem achievable at this stage, plan a courthouse wedding or elopement, if a traditional wedding is not on the cards this year. Keep your passion for your wedding alive. Dream and be innovative. Write a list of bridal salons to visit, draft a wedding menu, write a photography shot list and continue all your wedding related tasks possible from home, even if you don’t have a new date yet. Don’t drop your vision but rather do everything to keep the engaged magic in your life!
Do wedding crafts. Bond with bridesmaids. Research vendors and ideas. Make a journal of wedding ideas and tasks. Be the bride-to-be you were before the quarantine, and will be again afterwards. Enjoy the same Instagram feeds with pretty pictures and stay attached with the wedding industry and blogs which will fill you with inspiration and wedding ideas!
If you are working in the industry, stay connected to your brides and co-workers. Write newsletters, work on business improvements, catch up on old emails and make future plans. This is a good time to work on your website, branding and to learn new business skills through online courses and research.
Connect with other brides/ wedding professionals.
Cancelling a wedding or months of planned work and events is a very disappointing and traumatic thing. There are many others in your position and it will be valuable to reach out. Support each other and compare notes. Strive towards building new connections, new clients or collaborators that will boost work activity once this phase is over.
Nurture your body and mind
Stay on the same health plan you had before, if you were following one. Don’t mope around the house in your PJs and watch telly all day. Stay in good physical shape and on track. It will be destructive for your mental health to let your normal good habits slip. Keep respecting your mind and body. Avoid drinking alcohol or other self-destructive habits. Eat healthy food – this is not a long weekend. Use this time for inner reflection and try your best to keep a sense of perspective. Get fresh air, in your garden or from your balcony or window. Open your window for as long as possible each day – fresh oxygen is like medicine for your brain.
Do at-home manicures, bathe, do some extra masks and DIY treatments, try new hairstyles or makeup techniques. Again, use the internet for inspiration and new ideas.
If you are feeling down or anxious, organize your thoughts in a diary. Make a photo journal, a log book of your activities and share on your profile. Feed your mind with beautiful things.
If you are living alone, a video diary can really help to maintain a connection both with yourself and the world. Connections with others are important even just through a screen.
Even if you are not working, create goals for yourself. Catch up on unfinished projects. Paint a wall, fix a crack, sort through piled up admin, and organize things that have been neglected for ages. Go through old files on your computer, delete unnecessary pictures from your phone, piles of paper, find clothes to donate, de-clutter and spring clean. Find areas to be productive in and reasons to feel proud of what you are achieving.
With this, I don’t mean spending the whole day on social media! Now is a great time to actually pick up the phone and talk to people, like people in the “old days” used to do before the invention of instant messaging. Take up the craft of writing long, meaningful emails. Deepen your friendships with heart-to-heart chats, re-ignite old connections and call even distant elderly family members. It will mean so much.
We need the comfort and support of each other right now.
Mix efficiency with leisure
If you start your day with a useful task, try to find something pleasant to do later too. Go through your many photos from the last few years, pick your favorites and make a photo album. Read books, poetry, play a game or look at funny movies or memes. Use this time to approach the things you have always intended to explore, but not had the time/ energy to.
It is also important to create “special occasions” in your week to celebrate something, such as your achieved goals this weeks, the medical staff that are working day and night, or the individuals in your country that have already recovered. Make an effort to cook a nice dinner, wear something glamorous, and treat yourself to something special even though you might not see the point right now.
Do art, photography, drawing, sew, sing, play an instrument if you have one. Find materials around the house to start a creative project. Make new arrangements with items and trinkets to decorate your home, maybe change the furniture around or rearrange the wall decor. Paint, draw, use your computer to make graphics or build a website. Get really creative with social media Stories. Make collages from magazine cut-outs of nice things and words you see. Try new recipes, bake, paint a feature wall, or refurbish an old piece of furniture. Look for opportunities for crafting in your surroundings, even if they are limited. Seek inspiration from internet and let your imagination do the rest.
Nurture each other by practicing a strong sense of humor
Positivity and laughter is the best defense for boredom, fear and restlessness. Listen to both relaxing and upbeat music, and watch funny movies and amusing things with your partner. Try to joke and keep a lighthearted conversation as opposed to debating with those in your surroundings. Avoid fighting, talking to much about doom and gloom, and always support each other if one of you is feeling down.
Internet is an enormous resource with lots of free courses. Some websites and organisations have even created online events and lectures you can participate in. Dig up podcasts, watch a documentary on science, culture or history, read intellectual publications, or whatever tickles your fancy. Look up compelling online courses in subjects you have always been interested in, but not had a chance to find out more about. Challenge yourself to learn something which seems difficult, such as a language, computer program or a new practical skill.
Is it important for your immunity to keep up your exercise routine. Exercise videos can be found for free on Youtube and other channels. Put on your favorite tunes and dance, or learn new moves from a video! Your gym, yoga studio or ballet school might be running live stream classes. Even if you don’t have an outdoor space or permission to be outside, you can use your own body weight for boot camp style resistance training at home. Skipping, burpees, sit-ups, push ups, lifting books and water bottles and other toning or strengthening moves will keep your heart rate up and your muscles activated. Try to do at least 30 min 3 times a week, at your normal exercise times.
Don’t obsess over statistics and news
Whilst it is good to stay aware, being glued to the reports and news channels will raise anxiety levels. Do your very best to trust that everything possible is being done and those who are able to are handling this to their best ability. Your best contribution is to be in the position you are in right now – at home- and this is the most secure way forward at this stage.
Try to not feel too sorry for yourself, but continuously work on a positive attitude. You can do this! Acknowledge and celebrate what the citizens around the globe are doing for each other, knowing that we are all in this together for the greater good of the world. Be proud of leaders, scientists and medical professionals who are doing everything possible so that we all can live a better and safer life. We are in this together and our actions will make a big difference, and even if it is frightening and uncertain right now, this too shall pass. The best thing now is to not panic, to stay calm and confident. Turn the downtime into an opportunity to develop yourself, and to grow more resilient and philosophical.
Plan for the future
Harbor dreams, ambitions and imagine a future which is full of positive times. Make lists and plans for things you will do once this period subsides. Stay ambitious, determined and inspired, and help others to keep their morale high too!
The silver lining is that the world will without doubt come to appreciate health, our existence and the life on our planet and not take it for granted. After this, we’ll all try to live a fuller and more meaningful life – I am sure of it- once we have overcome this challenge!
Whatever you do or feel right now, know that you can always reach out to somebody who is in the same position. As a community, lets support each other through this, and lets do all we can to stay safe!