And that podcast I was listening to had a therapist on it who was talking about how people with anxiety and depression are seemingly handling this better than others because they deal with this level of stress on a daily basis. And I had to laugh out loud, because I do believe it's true. She said something to the effect of, "This is what being on the verge of a panic attack feels like for those who are unfamiliar." So, if you are one of those people who can't stop watching the news and hiding under your covers, I totally feel that. I've felt it on more occasions than I would care to admit. And I promise we'll come out on the other side of this.
Here are some ways I'm taking care of my mental health during quarantine. I hope some of them can help you all, too!
As I mentioned, I've been reading more than I ever have lately, and it's been so nice. Reading is something I've always loved but in my adult years, have lacked the time to really commit to on the level I want. If you're someone who enjoys reading, let this be a nice escape for you and crack open a book you've had on your shelf for awhile. If you're local to Charleston, I'm happy to drop off some of my recommendations on your doorstep as well. So far in quarantine I've read (and loved):
Listening to Podcasts
I have been listening to podcasts like a maniac lately. Whether I'm running, showering, cooking, folding laundry, etc...I likely have a podcast on in the background. I've even gone back into the archives of some of my favorite podcasts to listen to extremely old episodes. To me, it's just nice to have familiar voices in the background and listen to people talk that you admire or think are funny. Some even have great life advice that would be helpful once we get out of all of this. Some of my favorites are: Bad on Paper, Girls Gotta Eat, and A Thing or Two.
luxurious shower routines
To preface, I am a newly married twenty-something living with my husband and our three cats. I realize those with children may not be able to sneak away for lengthy amounts of time to enjoy a luxurious shower or bathing routine. However, I'd recommend trying it if you can. I've been taking this time to truly enjoy every aspect of "getting ready." For example, my luxurious shower routine looks like taking an extra long, extra hot shower with all of my fanciest products, including some body scrub samples I've found in my drawers...applying a face mask afterwards while I lounge around in my robe, clip and paint my nails, and listen to (you guessed it) a podcast...and then lathering on my favorite body butter or lotion and slipping into my coziest sweats to finish. It always feels like I'm treating myself. And I'm a big fan of treating yourself.
washing my sheets more than usual
There's nothing like sleeping on fresh sheets, and so I've been washing ours more than usual just to have something to look forward to in the evenings when I crawl into bed. It's the little things.
Video Calls With Family
Technology is both a blessing and a curse, but it's very much a blessing in this scenario. Use this time to Facetime or Zoom chat with your family and friends if you're feeling lonely.
watching comedy specials
I've been trying to keep my media intake light throughout all of this, which means no intense or scary shows that trigger me emotionally. I've been watching every Netflix comedy special I can find to make me laugh and unwind on the evenings I'm not nose deep in a book, and it's been so great. Would highly recommend!
I talked about this in a recent Instagram post, but I have exercised nearly every day during quarantine, and I was feeling really guilty about it until I realized that this is my coping mechanism. Exercise is and has been my coping mechanism since I fully recovered from my eating disorder. It soothes my anxiety. It makes me feel like I’m maintaining structure or routine of some sort. It’s my way of escaping my day to day. I’ve been seeing a lot about how people shouldn’t feel guilty about indulging in their “guilty pleasures” during this time. And I agree. Mine just happens to be excessive movement. So I’m allowing myself to feel all of the things and cope with it the best way I know how.
Has anyone else been getting so much more sleep during quarantine? Because I definitely have. I feel like I'm catching up on my many years of shitty sleep, and I'm letting myself enjoy every bit of it.
Again, not here to judge for however you are able to cope with the current state of the world, but for me, eating fresh foods and cooking nutritious meals makes me feel so much better physically and mentally. That's not to say I haven't drank an entire bottle of wine by myself on more than one occasion during quarantine, because I absolutely have, it's just making sure there's a healthy balance.
However you are choosing and are able to cope with quarantine is perfectly imperfect and valid, friends. I hope some of the above suggestions are helpful if you are seeking any guidance during this time. Remember, we'll get through this. I adore each and every one of you so much. Stay safe!