- Mata Traders
- 13 Jan, 2022
It's 2022! We could go on about the relief we feel at 2021's ending, but instead are trying to focus on making this year the best we possibly can.
Staying Connected During a Pandemic
Whether you're coming at these colder months with the confidence of a seasoned quarantiner, or the dread of a seasoned quarantiner, the emphasis for us at Mata this year is staying in touch with our network of support. We're going into this season with an open heart and a positive mind, attempting to really tune in to ourselves and those around us. If you have the energy, time, or motivation (and we 100% understand if you don't, it's a difficult time right now), anyone and anything you might be in frequent contact with can be considered an important connection to maintain this winter.
Those of you with a phone call aversion, fear not. There are lots of ways to keep people in your life regularly, keep your spirits high, and cut the isolation with an edge of fun.
The "bubbles" we embraced in early 2020 still exist for many people. If you're lucky enough to have family included in your regular contacts, enjoy your typical time together. Those of you distanced (socially or geographically) will find yourself scratching your head coming up with ways to stay relevant in the daily lives of loved ones.
For an older generation, embrace the long lost art of writing letters. The time spent writing compares to an afternoon visit (a fact not lost on the Golden Agers), and in many cases you'll have more meaningful conversations than you might in person. For cousins and extended family, set up a low pressure group FaceTime once a month, allowing whoever wants to pop in to do so. If you're nearby, try indulging in a little outdoor competitiveness with a cornhole or bocce tournament. If it's too cold (and there's snow), go sledding! It's not just for kids anymore.
"A walk in nature walks the soul back home." - Mary Davis
Start your day with a walk outside! If you're not a morning person, giving yourself a small challenge on each walk, like spotting a particular item or person, or rewarding yourself with a treat afterwards, can be a great way to add a pinch of motivation. Short on time? Find a sunny window – exposure to full sunlight in the morning is known to be a mood booster throughout the day.
With close knit friends, a little can go a long way. Small check-ins (texts are fine) break up the monotony of home life and let them know they're on your mind. Send a gif! A clip! An Instagram post that legitimately made you laugh. Mailing a small card or gift, no matter how tiny, serves the same purpose. Or if you're in search of some more "normalcy," organize a group to watch something simultaneously. If FaceTimes and Zoom calls have already crept into "dreading it" territory, make them fun by organizing trivia. Or, work quick chats into your regular life, calling on a walk or while running an errand. The key takeaway: it doesn't have to be A Thing, you can make it quick.
Clean house! Easier said than done, but with some extra time indoors, you might unearth your heightened awareness of rooms that aren't working for you. Try to knock some things off your domestic To Do list, removing nagging tasks from your brain's back burner. Paint a room, do a deep clean of your kitchen, remove some clutter, or do your lungs a favor and get some (okay, LOTS of) houseplants. Rearranging furniture can spice things up a bit.
The most overlooked but important consideration in your happiness during the slowest and dreariest months of the year: connecting with YOURSELF. Mental health is more important than ever right now, and designating time for self care is critical. Schedule time for yourself like you would anything else: a daily ritual that's just for you. Our tip? Try the morning, so nothing else will push it off and distractions can't dominate. Take a bath, make some progress on the book you just started, or randomly choose a new topic to spend some time investigating. At the very least, try writing down a few sentences each day, because who knows if anyone in the future will truly understand what this period of time was like. Taking time to invest in your mental self is just as important as pampering and working out your physical self. Make it happen every day.
As a small team of 13, we're still working remotely, strengthening our communication with each other and our producer partners in India and Nepal more and more each day. Staying connected to people, spaces, and things will keep us sane (we hope!) until Chicago starts to warm up again.