Take a deep breath, and release. The circumstances that the people living in Lebanon have been facing for the past few years, and more so, the past few months, are quite frankly, out of a movie. One incident after another, power cuts based on changing schedules that last hours, the summer heat, dreams of refueling long when you see the lines in front of gas stations, monopoly money circulating… and those in power provide no sign of hope for the country to emerge from the crisis.
But when all hope is seemingly lost, there is a way to make life, work and getting through the day and night a bit more comfortable. Here are tried and tested tips, to keep your health and sanity in check.
Get some rest
Yes, sleeping in a hot room over your covers isn’t the best of conditions to get much needed shut eye. But sleep is vital for you to function throughout the day, with all the circumstances you are forced to endure. Try getting into bed a little earlier every night, in a cold room, to get you into the sleep cycle. When the power cuts, try deep breathing techniques to get you back into your deep slumber. Do not pick up your phone or do anything that stimulates you if you happen to wake up.
Access to quality food may be a little trickier than usual now, and storing some types of food at home can be a recipe for disaster. Try integrating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, and choose safer options such as pasta, canned goods and grains. There are many simple recipes that you can find online and reasonably priced local produce, fresh from the source. Check out these suppliers:
- Mint Basil Market – a leading market of Lebanese brands, and healthy treats
- Better Life Market – a market for all things organic and natural, made in Lebanon
- Eshmoon Organics – add to your pantry, including cereals and chocolates
- Al Khodarje – For fresh produce, check out their store in Ashrafieh, or purchase fresh produce on their website
- Souk Al Tayeb – Lebanon’s delightful farmers market, every Wednesday and Saturday in Mar Mkhayel
- The Keto Foods – Lebanon’s first keto bakery, with delicious packaged ready to eat food
- From Lebanon – a marketplace bringing together all the Lebanese brands you can think of
- TAQA – for a healthy bite on the go
- Bites of Delight – gluten free snacks to satisfy the cravings
- Biomass – homegrown fruits and vegetables and packaged fresh goods
Matters of perception & mental breaks
It can seem like the country is caving in, with limited control over how matters unfold… but you can choose how to respond to every incident and negative piece of news. Choosing your battles has never been this important – does X or Y incident really deserve for you to get worked up? Try to keep matters in perspective and take as many breaks as possible. Breaks can be from negative conversations around you, from the news and from social media. Just because you are not plugged in all the time, doesn’t mean you do not care… but rather it is self-care.
Plan the work day based on power cuts
Plan your day every morning, based on the changing power cuts schedules. Answer your emails first thing in the morning when the power and internet are on. Finish all online work, such as research, sharing of documents and so on when the electricity is on. Then plan for offline work when you know the power will be out. Activities can include: Documents you need to work on, presentations to finish, team meetings or brainstorming sessions.
Carpool your way out of the city
Anyone that has ventured out of the city during the crisis will tell you, that it’s a whole different world out there, from an energy perspective. Try getting out of the city (if your fuel tank permits) at least once a week. You can opt to go for a walk in nature, have a picnic, go for a hike or watch the sunset from a different city. Remember to carpool to preserve gas and really try to disconnect from all the madness, even if only for a few hours.
Support groups matter
Everyone living in Lebanon is enduring similar circumstances to varying degrees. Some have better living conditions, and others are much worse off. Some deal with chaos in a lighter manner, and others are continually stressed and angry. Whatever your situation is, remember that who you surround yourself with can make a big difference. Asking for support and then offering support, as well as surrounding yourself with uplifting people is integral to get through this phase (try to steer clear from the incessant naggers).
Just remember, when things get really tough, crisis situations do not last forever. If you can make yourself and your families a little bit more comfortable (even if it is just 5%) do it and soon. Stand by your friends, peers and try to extend acts of kindness to those around you. You never know who needs it the most.
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