Quarantine Sanity Routine
I hope everyone is doing ok! I know it's been awhile since I've written a blog post and it feels like now is as good a time as ever so here I am. We are now on day 10 of San Francisco's shelter in place ordinance to combat the spread of COVID-19, but to be honest this is day 14 for me as I hadn't left the house since returning from my Havasupai/Grand Canyon camping trip. Boy has it been a strange 2 weeks...
I, like most of you, am not immune to the emotional and mental toll that the isolation order has been causing. It has been a bit of a personal battle to control and stabilize my moods and disposition during this time as life has changed considerably and money woes are abound. I feel like my weeks are like a pendulum: some days I am enjoying my time to myself and feel relaxed and peaceful and other days I am irritable, depressed and anxious about the situation and feel like I am crawling out of my own skin cooped up at home. However, I am trying to be positive and reorient my view on it to see it in a positive way so it is not so devastating. Perhaps the universe is forcing me to take a prolonged break that I have been unable to allow myself to take because I relentlessly pursue my financial goals? Maybe now I can finally finish the massive stack of unread books next to my bed I never feel like I have the time for? Maybe I can stop fear baking so much and play around with some confections?
That being said, I thought I would share some of the things I have been doing to stay sane in case they might help you as well. So here's a little peak into my Quarantine Sanity Routine:
1. Force myself to get up and groom as if it was a regular day:
For me, it is incredibly tempting to lounge around in pajamas all day and difficult to want to engage in prolonged beauty/grooming routines when you know no one is going to see it or appreciate it! It can be easy to frame this practice in the realm of self-care as "giving yourself a break" but for me, the reality is that this behavior actually mimics what I do when I am getting depressed. In a way, by engaging in this lack of self-care (which is what it really is) I realized my behaviors are encouraging my brain down a path to depression. Taking a day off and blobbing on the couch in your robe all day is fine if you've had a busy week and need that break but at least for me, if I let it become a habit and continue for a few days in a row my body starts leading my brain down a path I just can't justify encouraging right now.
2. Bloom: App for self- CBT
No, not that kind of CBT ;) ! I'm talking about cognitive behavioral therapy which "is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve mental health. CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems." As someone going through a masters of psychology program with a behavioral orientation this is one of my favorite tried and true therapy modalities for a bevy of problems. Most importantly- you can do a lot of it on your own with a little bit of self-discipline and for free! This app has a daily 10 minute practice to work on whatever you feel you need that day (there are options) and then a multitude of other practices if you need a little boost including "Morning Motivation Booster" "Reframe Loneliness" or "Gain Self-Confidence". I have found this to be the best app I have found in the self-therapy realm and I always feel markedly more positive after my morning session and have been trying to do extra exercises on it when I feel the urge to scroll through social media or the news (which literally never makes me feel better).
3. Calm: App for Meditation
This app I have been using for years. Calm is an incredible app to help you develop, foster, and deepen a meditation practice no matter what level of experience you have. They also have a daily 10 minute meditation but also a number of series on different topics including: "7 or 21 Days of Calm" to help those who are new to meditating foster a practice, "7 Days of Soothing Pain" to help those with chronic pain issues try to mentally manage the effect of pain on their wellbeing, "7 Days of Gratitude" or "Relationship with the Self" amongst others! You can do guided sessions like the ones I mentioned above that feel like mini therapy sessions or unguided sessions where you can drop deeply into yourself and let the brain do some healing. I truly believe in the benefits of meditation but it is a daily practice that is rarely easy and requires a lot of self work and discipline- but what a perfect time to start!!
4. Something for the self NOW
I don't know about you, but I often have a hard time indulging in recreation activities if I have other more important things to take care of on my plate (I can be a bit of a work/goal-aholic). Since a major aspect of that drive has been forced into a screeching halt (my life as Jeniveve), I have plenty of free time to engage in activities that make me happy. Also, considering it feels like a daily battle now to not let myself fall into an anxious depression, I need these self-care, happiness inducing activities more than ever! So I have been making it an intention to immerse myself in AT LEAST one self project a day. Whether it be cooking, or reading, or journaling- I have been making it a point to force myself to do something I know I normally enjoy doing even if I don't feel like it in the beginning. I have been cooking up a storm lately (will write a blog post about that later) and have had some great successes that have both relaxed me and allowed me to feel productive which gives me a mini mood boost.
5. Something for the self LATER
Sitting at home for 2 weeks as my goals get further and further away from me has been one of my biggest struggles. I have been finding it difficult to engage in cognitive tasks as my brain space is being invaded by a cluster of new worries and negative thought patterns. However to keep myself feeling like I am moving forward and not just totally wasting this time I have been forcing myself to engage in one task a day that will benefit my life when things go back to normal (or at least we are allowed out of our houses again). That could look like spending some time in the Jeniveve domain by either writing this blog post, organizing my digital photos on my computer, posting to OnlyFans, or brainstorming for future photoshoots/tours. I have also been getting ahead in school assignments and reading supplementary material for my capstone research project next year. Anything I can do that serves the domains of my real life that have been put on hold. I feel that this will make it easier to transition back into these aspects of life when things resume without feeling I am abysmally behind.
6. Things have changed- but you don't have to let it change you
Life has undoubtedly changed in ways I don't think most of us were ready for these past 2 weeks and there is a lot of things we used to do that we just can't in the same way anymore. But this doesn't mean we have to abandon them completely! If you used to work out or take fitness classes regularly before- don't give that up! Yeah, working out by yourself in your house or a small square of a park isn't quite the same as the music pumping, light flashing beautiful chaos of Barry's Bootcamp- but it will keep your brain chemicals up in a similar way and let's be honest, we have plenty of time now anyway. Many gyms and fitness instructions are aware of this and are offering free workouts online. Here are a few of my favorites below!
Also now that we are bored at home, it is tempting to spend more time on your phone scrolling endlessly or panic reading about the pandemic. As tempting as this is I implore you to try to resist if possible. I spent the first few days of quarantine scrolling through social media and the news endlessly and I believe it was a big contributor of my mood taking a sink in the beginning. Other peoples reactions whether they be catastrophic or blasé were grating me way more than I expected and none of it was making me feel any better. I have taken to leaving my phone in my office and only checking it 3 times per day. I understand this isn't something most people can do but the sheer act of resisting the scroll has made me personally feel much better and grounded in the situation. I don't want to come off as sanctimonious with this suggestion because we all know less phone time is better for you but I just wanted to say as someone who was going scroll crazy and then stopped I can attest it made a noticeable difference in how I was feeling.
I hope some of these help you and if you decide to try one of the apps please let me know! I love hearing about others people's experiences engaging in mental health practices and definitely incorporate them into my other endeavor with my psychology degree.
Stay safe and sane everyone and I can't wait to reconnect soon once this is all over.