We’re on week four of self-isolation, honestly, I’ve felt like the days have blurred. I don’t know which days are weekdays and what days are weekends anymore, working from home also comes with its struggles when your office is your home and your home is your office it’s easy to blur the lines of work and downtime. In this time of uncertainty, it can be hard to care for ourselves and our mental health. I know these last few weeks have been especially hard for me spending much of my time alone with my thoughts. But there have been a few things I’ve done to stay grounded and keep a healthy state of mind.
Call Loved Ones
First and foremost connect with your loved ones. Living alone is really difficult for me right now. I have very limited interaction with people. As someone who spent much of her time traveling to workout classes, taking walks around the city and going activities like photoshoots and going to concerts with friends almost every weekend this is a huge change for me. I haven’t seen my best friends for four weeks now and it’s becoming really difficult. So instead of getting down call them, we live in such a time that technology brings us so much closer. Set up Zoom dates, or FaceTime with friends to stay connected. Not only have I been trying to make time for my good friends but this has also allowed me to reconnect with old friends. Since my days have slowed down a bit I’m able to make time to visit with friends from New York which has been so wonderful.
Being stuck inside and told not to leave your house for anything more than essential can be really hard and honestly kind of stressful. The walls of my apartment have become very tiresome and uninspiring. But recently I’ve made a list of fun things I could do to keep myself busy while I’m stuck inside. Blogging has been a great outlet for me and has kept me very busy, along with getting back to weekly blogging I’ve found other fun Quarantine activities like watching tv shows, listening to books, podcasts and even learning Spanish. A good way to ensure you’re doing things for yourself and not working all day is to give yourself at least 3 tasks to accomplish throughout the day. It can be as simple as making your bed. Mine includes spending at least 10 minutes either working on Spanish lessons or a song on my ukulele. These tasks will give your day purpose and always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Reformat Your Daily Routine
Obviously, our old routine has been flipped upside down typically I would go to barre or pilates classes after work, run errands, or go shopping and now most of my day is spent sitting at my desk, cleaning or doing one of my quarantine activities. I’m sure you’ve heard this but it does help to recreate some type of normal routine. Getting dressed, having a place you can do to focus and then signing off at a normal hour. Even if I stay in sweatpants all day I like putting on a little bit of makeup in the morning, making a cup of coffee and settling down at my desk for at least the beginning of the day.
Prioritizing your sleep and exercise if you’re an active person is so important. Before COVID-19 I was going to some kind of workout class about 3 times a week. I walked to and from the train multiple times a day and on my weekends I would go out and walk around the city running errands. Now I rarely leave my house so making time to work out is so important. I have found a bunch of providers are giving away free month subscriptions to their online classes and there are some incredible instructors like Body By Bailey and Melissa Wood that have great online classes right on their YouTube channels.
My last point about sticking with your routine is don’t forget to give yourself some grace, it is completely natural in situations like this to have difficulty concentrating, low motivation and a state of distraction. This is new territory for all of us and adaptation will take some time. Make sure to take each day as it comes and don’t be hard on yourself if you just need a day to relax.
As you know I was struggling a bit before the lockdown, I was feeling very uninspired and was having a really hard time getting out of my funk. But the self-isolation has helped me rekindle my love for photography. I love photoshoots and creating fashion shoot concepts with my friends but this has forced me to work a little harder and step outside the box and be not only model but photographer. On my occasional walks around my neighborhood, I’ve enjoyed trying to take more photos of other subjects. It has helped me stay creative and I’ve actually felt more inspired to shoot my images for these blog posts.
I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows in my isolation. I’ve has some really low days, days where I just break down in tears on the floor of my living room and cry. Days I lay in bed and listen to sad songs. The exceptionally bad days it feels good to journal or channel that emotion into something creative like photography or music. Just before this started my therapist suggested I keep a journal and it has been so helpful to get me through these days. I will sit down and write about what I’ve done that day, what I heard on the news and how everything makes me feel. If I’m upset I’ll write a letter asking questions collecting my thoughts and feelings. It’s so therapeutic to get all this information out of my head and in one place. I almost immediately feel better about my situation like I can walk away from the little things. This also allows me to verbalize how I’m feeling and if I need to address a conflict with a loved one it’s all in front of me and I can articulate things more effectively.
Therapy with BetterHelp
Finally, my therapist has seriously been the most important tool in all of this. I was matched with Rebecca through BetterHelp’s amazing database. I filled out a few questions and explained what I was looking to get out of therapy and they matched me with her. As corny as it sounds my life is tremendously different after starting sessions with her. I can message her 24 hours a day 7 days a week, we schedule weekly video sessions and it’s my favorite part of my week. If I’m having a rough day I know I can reach out and she will give me the best advice. She also sends me worksheets with insights as well as prompts for me to fill out to better understand things like depression and effective communication tools to strengthen strained relationships. If you feel like you’re suffering from depression or even just lonely I highly recommend BetterHelp to give you a safe space to talk about your feelings.
Therapy, getting in touch with my creative side and setting up a new routine for our temporary normal has helped me not only stay positive but has also kept me on track for continuing to better my mental health. Let me know in the comments what you have been doing to stay creative or stay positive while self-isolating?