Hi. My name is Jen and I am an extrovert. I thrive on interacting with people and detest monotony.
This pandemic is hitting me hard.
In this age of coronavirus, social distancing and staying inside, I’ve found myself struggling. As much as I love my family and my little corner of the universe, I really need this social isolation to be over. As we all do, I’m sure.
Over the past weeks, I’ve started to develop a few practices that, when done daily, have really helped me turn a mental corner. So I wanted to pass them along to others who might also need a routine to help them slog through the quarantine as well.
4 Essential Practices To Help Anyone Get Through Quarantine
Start (and stick to) a Daily Gratitude Practice
Okay, hear me out. Before you eye roll, I know this isn’t exactly earth-shattering advice. You’ve heard this all before and perhaps even given it a go once or twice. I’m telling you that in this moment of time (read: pandemic) a solid gratitude practice can make or break you.
So the general consensus for something like this is that as you practice gratitude you should focus on both the big things in your life you are grateful for (your health or your family) and the small things in your everyday life (a good cup of coffee or a beautiful sunrise). For me personally at this moment, I’m focusing hard on all of the small things. Because that’s helping me get through the monotony of sheltering in place and the endless news cycle of doom.
My practice is simple – I grab a notebook at the end of the day and write five small things from the day that I am grateful for. (Blooming daffodils, a warm fuzzy blanket, dinner table conversation, etc.) It’s amazing how this simple practice centers me and keeps me focused on the positive day in and day out.
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu
Laugh. Smirk. Gaffaw.
Not everyone ascribes to this school of thought. In fact, a full 1/3 of my Facebook feed will probably hit me back on this but I’m standing my ground. My coping mechanism of choice is humor with a little snark mixed in for good measure.
But people are DYING you say to me. And so many jobs have been LOST. Yes, I realize that. And frankly, I’m just as terrified as you are. But I choose levity over fear because I refuse to spread more panic.
And if you want to be all scientific about it, studies actually link laughter with a release of endorphins. Endorphins then boost your mood, alleviate your stress and increase your immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. And that actually improves your resistance to disease.
Find A Side Project
How funny is it that we all now have the free time that we once clamored for and yet aren’t jumping at productive ways to fill it? Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I also jumped down a Netflix rabbit hole for awhile. The Tiger King was a delicious trainwreck and I was 100% down for that adventure.
But with weeks behind me and an undetermined amount before me, I realize that couch surfing isn’t how I want to remember my newly aquired free time.
How about you?
I’m not trying to put pressure on anyone to write a Nobel prize-winning piece of literature, I’m just here to advocate for you to try something new. Aside from organizing the house, I’m also writing more and developing my photography skills. (Shoutout to my free Lynda.com account courtesy of my local library.) Also, I’m thinking of taking up rock painting. (Yes, that is actually a thing.)
A funny thing happens when you get outside.
YOU FEEL ALIVE.
When I start to feel overwhelmed or emotionally exhausted I pause everything I’m doing and head outside. It works like a charm every single time.
Research has shown how transformative spending time in nature is for people, especially those who are stressed and battle anxiety or depression. Social isolation is a double-edged sword that can make life seem lonely, and a jaunt outside can help battle that.
There are plenty of ways to be in nature while also practicing social distancing. My favorite is taking long walks, hikes or runs (safely). I try to stay mindful of my surroundings and, of course, maintain my distance from others.
I’m interested to hear how others are coping during this time. Got anything to add? Leave a suggestion in the comments!