Things That Are Getting Me Through Quarantine
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed everyone’s lives over the last couple of months and many are still figuring out how to cope with those changes. Personally, I have found that quarantine has not only given me a “new normal” to get used to, but has also come with a rollercoaster of emotions that I had (and have) no clue how to manage all at once. After noticing that I have had more panic attacks over the last five weeks than I have had in a long time, I realized that I needed to try to find outlets to help alleviate the stress and manage my feelings surrounding my new normal. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not have it all figured out, I am just doing my best, like everyone else, to get through this insane time day-by-day. That said, I wanted to share the few things that I have found that have been helping me get through quarantine in the hopes that they might help someone else who is struggling.
I have found that taking long, regular walks has immensely helped keep the claustrophobic, cabin-fever feelings at bay. Even though I am a true homebody at heart, having the option to go out to the store or spend time with friends taken away from me has made me feel increasingly anxious and trapped. Taking walks allows me to see that I still do have the option to go out and get some air, even if just to exercise. I was surprised at just how much the outdoors and the change of scenery has alleviated day-to-day worry and anxiety during this time. Taking different routes every time I go out to give myself a change of scenery with each walk, quells the claustrophobia even more. Seeing flowers blooming, breathing fresh air, and watching the handful of cars transporting essential workers on the road reminds me that the world is still moving outside my home. If you have a buddy that you are quarantined with that you can go on those walks with, bring them along with you! That’s what I do 🙂 and that definitely makes my walks even better.
Journaling is a great way to de-clutter your mind. It allows you to get everything out of your head and onto paper (or onto a digital document if you are like me and use an iPad and an Apple Pencil!) and free up some headspace. For me, journaling has facilitated the processing of my thoughts and feelings. The more I journal, the more I realize that I can better understand what I am feeling, why I am feeling it, and what I might be able to do to feel better. Journaling makes me feel like I am venting to my best friend and gives me a sense of catharsis once I am done. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to journaling, just start with writing down your stream of consciousness and go from there 🙂
I have already talked about how obsessed I am with the Calm app (an amazing meditation app) in a previous blog post, but it’s definitely something worth checking out, especially in stressful times like these. Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety and also promotes emotional health — all things that I felt like I wanted to focus on during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Personally, I have found that meditating regularly helps me to be present and worry less about uncertainty and the overwhelm that comes with it.
While I would recommend the paid version of Calm (that’s the version I have and I truly think it’s worth every penny) if you are looking into starting to meditate, there is a free option available as well as the option to try a free trial of the paid version. Calm is also offering free resources here for anyone to use to support mental and emotional wellness during this stressful time. I would highly suggest trying meditation out and what better way to do so than by starting with the free resources that Calm provides!?
Embracing Time for Self-Care
I still struggle with embracing the need for the occasional personal day or even the occasional unproductive weekend. I feel guilty when I am not utilizing all the time that I have to be productive and work toward my goals. Recently I have realized that, in reality, I need to prioritize self-care now more than ever. In fact, using the time I have for self-care is productive. Seizing opportunities to rest and focus on your mental health, especially during times of high stress, can actually help you be more productive in the long run and avoid burning out. Giving myself grace and being compassionate with myself are things that I have difficulty doing, but I have found that there is no better time to practicing than now.
Don’t forget: we are all trying to cope with this new normal together. Coping mechanisms and daily routines will look different for everyone, but always remember that just because someone is posting happy, motivational posts on Instagram does not mean that they don’t have days where they are struggling too.