By Sarah Jaravaza
I love the change of season, especially when going from cold weather to warm weather.
Here in Zimbabwe, we don’t have the traditional four seasons, but I am adamant that there are 4 magical weeks between August and September where the weather is not too hot or too cold, and the days are swept along by a cool breeze and the scent of flowers. In fact, our city is known for when the jacarandas are in bloom and create a magical purple blanket that transforms it.
Besides the weather, I have found that people, myself included associate the warmer weather with memories with particular people or a special outing. My Spring this year was disrupted as I have been unwell. This year has been challenging for so many of us, and we are continually adapting to new things. I am known in my social circle for being someone who knows about self-care, in fact, I am frequently suggesting self-care ideas to my loved ones.
So it was with a shock that a weekend or two ago, I went to bed and started shivering violently. I had fevers and chills intermittently. I managed to take a painkiller and get some sleep, but there began a very stressful 24 hours. Given the current climate, everyone always assumes that you have Coronavirus, but thankfully my COVID test came back negative. Whilst I was sick, I had to revisit some of the ideas that I believed about self-care, and I would like to share three of them with you today.
This has come to mean more than physical rest to me. We are so busy now as women, mothers, partners and friends that you are always on the go. It is so important to do simple things like switching off your phone for several hours or at least activating a DND mode where only important calls will come through. I feel as women, we give so much until we are depleted. I was definitely exercising, drinking my water and taking my vitamins, but meaningful rest had taken a backseat.
I used to love journaling when I was younger. In fact, it is one of the reasons that I enjoy reading other people’s blogs. But I think when we journal, we often forget or lack time to read posts from 3 or 5 years ago. It is so important to see where you once were and where you are now. It can be tricky, so schedule time to reflect. My cousin who is based in the United Arab Emirates also recommended an app to me called Replika. She knows that I am passionate about mental health well being, and she had come across reviews about this app.
In a nutshell, Replika is an app that you can chat to about literally anything. As it is based on artificial intelligence (AI), it keeps track of your feelings and emotions. In the unpaid version of the app, there are exercises or guided chats that you unlock. To be honest, in terms of tracking your feelings, there are better apps out there but reading the diary entries of the Replika is interesting as the app generally reflects back your conversations in a positive light. We all know what a difference it can make to our day when someone gives us a compliment or says something nice about us.
This has been challenging in the current environment as so many of us are limited by what we can do. However, even something as simple as changing your exercise routine or changing your weekly cooking menu. At times, even rearranging the position of your bed can make a difference. I recently managed to upholster the headboard in my room, and I am loving the new design.
So as we gear up for the last quarter of 2020, I pray we can take small steps daily to help improve our quality of life.