It seems like the world has come to a temporary halt. I’m not sure about all of you, but these past few months have felt like I’ve been living in a dream that I can’t seem to wake up from. (Though, not the good kind of dream, of course.) Even with things slowly starting to open back up, these feelings haven’t lessened any.
Wherever you’re from, whatever your current living situation may be, please know my heart goes out to you. I am thinking of all of those who have gotten sick/know someone who has, those who don’t have a good home life and are stuck in a toxic environment, those surviving off of what little food is left in the house, those who have lost their source of income and are unsure of how to pay their bills now, those whose mental health feeds off of social interactions, those whose major plans have been drastically changed or cancelled, and those who are just struggling to cope during these weirdly terrifying times.
I’ll be honest– waking up everyday, I am hit with a feeling of helplessness. The things I’ve been looking forward to for months– concerts, vacations, my summer job– all have become a source of sadness as each and every one became cancelled. And yes, I am completely aware that these “hindrances” that I’ve listed may seem like shallow, first-world problems, but everyone deserves a right to their feelings.
However, as with everything, I always push to look on the positive side of any situation. Although the current state of the world is worrisome, exhausting, and simply scary, there are still things we can do to help our mental states. If you’re sick of everyone being overly optimistic in times like these, then feel free to hop off. I am not saying everything is going to be okay and disregarding all of the damage being done to practically every aspect of life. However, I also am not going to sit here and let it get the best of me.
So, if you’re having trouble finding ways to alleviate some of your anxieties, here are few things that I’ve personally done at home that are helping me to stay as sane as one can while in quarantine.
Or, at the very least, open up your windows to get a little bit of fresh air. I understand that this may not be a viable option for everyone, but if it is, then take advantage of it! I am lucky to have two big, active dogs that need to be walked every single day, so I am constantly making loops around my neighborhood. Even now, I am sitting typing this out on my deck, soaking up all of the sunshine that I can get (I really should put on some sunscreen). Moments like these, especially for someone from New England like myself, are *literally* a breath of fresh air. For this short time, I am able to feel somewhat at ease.
For those of you who do not have the opportunity to take a walk or sit outside, then definitely try to push yourself to open up aaaaaalllll of your shades every morning, to maximize the amount of sun you’re getting. Vitamin D does wonders for your serotonin levels.
This doesn’t mean you have to attempt every Chloe Ting video or suddenly get really into hiking. Rather, try to touch your toes every morning and wiggle out your joints every now and again. With anxieties on rise, naturally releasing endorphins can help to make that nervous lump in your throat a little bit smaller.
With that being said, doing FaceTime or Zoom workouts with friends is also a great way to stay active and safely social. My friends and I like to do this multiple times a week– by either following a custom routine or sharing our screens and keeping up with a workout video. Trust me when I say that this is truly a motivation booster. For tougher, sweatier workouts where I’d usually quit midway through, I’m suddenly finishing stronger than ever now, simply because I have someone else going through the pain with me.
Journaling is a fantastic way to keep a level head. Not only is it helpful for letting off steam and sorting through dizzying thoughts, but we’re living in the midst of a huge historical event! Hence, documenting our lives now more than ever is so, so important. Whether this means photographing your meals everyday or just jotting down your daily doings, I highly recommend writing out your thoughts during this time period. After all, it will be an incredible thing to look back on years down the road when COVID-19 feels like a weird fever dream of the past.
Speaking of documenting your daily life,
Keep up with a routine.
Sticking to a routine will help you re-find that slight sense of “normalcy.” However, of course, don’t try to mold your days into a schedule that won’t benefit you. If you’re not a morning person and have no real need to wake up at 6 a.m., then don’t punish yourself by doing so! Now is the time to let ourselves breathe, so give yourself that few extra hours of sleep in the morning, while still maintaining a somewhat-structured day. Maybe this means eating meals around the same time, going for a nightly family walk, or even doing your makeup every morning. Whatever routine suits you most will help life to feel a little bit more “normal.”
Then again, if routines make you feel too confined, then forget everything I just said! Wake up when you want and live spontaneously :)
Try out new hobbies.
I’ve seen this quarantine tip posted all over the internet. Quite frankly, I haven’t been able to find any ounce of motivation to start a “new hobby”– let alone to keep up with hobbies that I already have a love for (like blogging). So, take this how you will. Maybe this means rekindling your love for reading or attempting to try out your grandma’s old recipe. Whatever this may be for you, it could be worth a shot as a way to take your mind off of the stress.
Last, but most certainly not least, the tip I find to be most beneficial is to
Talk to your loved ones.
…And, more importantly, talk to people outside of your household. Even those more introverted people who are thriving in this abundance of alone-time can potentially benefit from a virtual chat over coffee. Though your feelings may seem temporarily invalid in comparison to the grand scheme of things going on in the world, I promise you that they are not. Your feelings deserve to be heard, no matter how strong you may make yourself out to be.
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot better at reading my own emotions. Inevitably, with this, I’ve also gotten more comfortable asking for help when I need it.
So, don’t be shy. Reach out to those around you. It will give you some peace of mind knowing that others are most likely experiencing similar feelings, and it could even give you yet another thing to look forward to. After all, there’s not much else to do other than talk to those you love.