I tend to be a bit obsessive. Like when I get an idea stuck in my head or find the courage to try something new, I go all in or not at all.
Being the fact that I tend to be a bit obsessive, I thrive off of routines. I like knowing where I have to be, what I have to get done, and really just enjoy having my day mapped out.
Before COVID hit, my routine was the same for as long as I can remember. I got up in the morning, went to the gym for an hour, came home and journaled, took a shower and got ready for work, drove to the bus stop, and read on the way down to work.
I also had a “post-work” routine as well. I would walk to the bus stop, read while I waited for the bus and on the ride to my car, would hop in my car and drive to the grocery store to pick out what I wanted for dinner, and would come home.
That was my routine. It brought me a sense of comfort in knowing what my day was going to look like.
Then COVID hit.
I remember it was Friday, March 13th and my boss came to me and said that everyone was going to be working from home for the next two weeks while they figured out what the next steps would be.
For me, I panicked more about the fact that my daily routines were going to be ruined instead of the fact that the world was in the midst of a pandemic. It’s not that I didn’t care about others. I just didn’t know COVID was a thing until earlier that week.
Since March 13th, I still haven’t been back into the office and probably won’t be ever again unless I decide to go and grab my belongings.
Adapting To A New Way of Life
This pandemic has made it challenging for a lot of individuals. Even if you and your loved ones have managed to stay safe during this pandemic, you’ve still experienced the stress that comes with the world being in a pandemic.
Stores are closed (some for good), you have to wear a mask everywhere you go for your safety and the safety of those around you, and every time you turn on the damn television, all you see is the death toll continuing to rise.
Life as we remembered it just a few short months ago will likely never be the same.
Oddly enough, I have handled this pandemic better than I could have ever imagined. I thought it was going to be the worst thing I have ever had to deal with, but honestly, the months we have been in quarantine (I don’t know if we can even still call it that anymore) have been some of the best months of my life.
I have grown in so many ways personally. I feel that I have been able to maintain my physical health while also improving my mental health tenfold.
Today, I want to share with you what’s worked for me. I want to share how I have been able to stay healthy during quarantine.
Don’t overindulge in unhealthy self-soothing.
Wine, candy, chips, soda. All are fine in moderation. When humans are under stress (including isolation) we go into self-soothing strategies. Self-soothing strategies are ways that we calm ourselves down when under stress. Many of us self-soothe with alcohol or junk food. Though alcohol or junk food may help your mental health in the short term, it will affect your physical health, and therefore your body’s resistance to infection. Limit drinking and consumption of sugary or processed foods.
Vitamin D is important in the immune response. Getting sun will increase your vitamin D reserves. Opening shades and windows, sitting in sunny areas of your apartment, and even getting outside when social distancing is possible (maintaining 6+ feet between yourself and others).
Even if it’s raining or too crowded outside to practice social distancing, exercise in your apartment. New York City apartments are small, but there are workouts you can do in any size apartment. Wall push-ups, squats, guard circles, Supermans, and etc. are effective exercises with limited space. Switch between upper and lower body exercises to get your heart pumping and add a cardio component.
Manage your environment.
Designate an area to work if feasible. In a New York City apartment this can be near impossible, so ritualize the beginning and end of work. Play certain music only when you’re working, or wear “work clothes” while you’re doing work and change clothes when you are transitioning to downtime. You can change your environment with lighting, music, and clothing. Change your state by changing your surroundings. Be deliberate about creating a “working environment” and a “downtime environment.”
Connect with others.
We need to feel like we are part of a community. We thrive off of interacting with others and that face-to-face interaction. But this can be challenging as we are told to isolate and to social distance from others.
Despite being told to quarantine, you can still interact with those closest to you over Zoom, FaceTime, or just calling someone and hearing their voice. Last Easter, my family celebrated in three different households over Zoom. It was actually… enjoyable.
As we don’t know what the winter is going to hold and whether or not we will have to go into full lockdown mode again, it’s important that you find new ways to connect with others and maintain that sense of community.
Find a routine to help manage anxiety from all the change.
It’s good to find some sense of normality when everything is so strange. Like 6 months ago, who would have thought the world would be in the state it is in today?
While it’s good to also venture out and embrace change, it’s also useful to establish some type of routine so that it doesn’t feel as though your entire world is completely upside down.
If you are struggling to find motivation, try setting an alarm in the morning and waking up at a consistent time.
If you are struggling to be productive while working from home, try dressing up as though you were going into work for the day.
Maybe you just need to escape your house. Every morning or night, get outside and go on a walk. Make a habit of doing so and build it into your daily routine.
Create an outlet for yourself.
Journaling, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, painting, there are so many ways to express yourself. Find an outlet that is comfortable for you and express your emotions freely and openly.
Keeping our emotions bottled up inside of us isn’t going to do any good. The longer we bottle up our emotions, the stronger the become until they consume our every thought.
Find your outlet, and if you can’t find one, then create one.
Be Happy and Stay Healthy
It’s no question we are experiencing trying times right now. The best thing you can do for your mental and physical health is to try and do more of the things that are going to make you happy.
The happier you are, the healthier you will be.