Are you feeling like depression in this quarantine has flirted with you once or twice? You’re not alone….
It’s May which means it’s Mental Health Awareness Month! As great as having a month is, let’s be honest, every day is mental health awareness day especially now.
I feel like life has been the most insane rollercoaster these past two months. The ups have been mediocre and the lows have been intensely low and exhausting. I think it’s safe to say we have all experienced a sense of depression at some point since sheltering in place. The news alone induces panic attacks and feelings of being stuck, but I think it’s insanely important to not only count our blessings, but to gain some perspective each and every day. This is in no way shape or form invalidating your feelings because they are real and they are so very appropriate, but the greatest gift we can give to ourselves right now is a way to center and ground ourselves once again. We are fortunate to be in a situation where we have endless possibilities at our fingertips, quite literally. We have ways of making this time more bearable and honestly quite productive and conducive towards bettering our future selves, but the hard part is making it a priority and acting on it daily. That’s where this heaviness and feeling of treading through quicksand comes into play.
// why is it so hard to accomplish anything right now?
Do you feel like getting anything done or finding the energy or motivation to accomplish anything is impossible right now? I get it. This may be your first real time experiencing this feeling, but it is one I’ve dealt with my entire life. It’s why balance and consistency are two areas I struggle with. Living in a state of confusion and uncertainty is hard and we are forced to literally just be present. Majority of us haven’t experienced living in the present moment for longer than an hour if that, so having to be present in this moment for months is scary and new.
The unemployment rate is astronomical so if you are unemployed right now, having something to work towards, work for, or be motivated for, may not even exist in this moment. Or you are the small percentage of people still employed and you are being forced to have your place of rest now be a multi-functional space, add in roommates or family members and you are most likely at your wits end.
The idea is that we want to make this time as beneficial as possible and that breaks down into a few different parts that sometimes work against each other…
- we need to listen to our bodies and minds and deeply understand what it is we need right now
- we need to create productive routines. Before you give me an ear full, “productive” doesn’t necessarily mean do 10 loads of laundry, batch cooking for a month, and working out for an hour every day. I’ll elaborate in a little.
- we need to understand our bad habits and how we spend our free time.
what is it that our mind & body need right now?
Obviously, this looks different for everyone but the base of it remains the same for all.
- mental stimulation and evolution
- physical stimulation and evolution
- emotional stimulation and evolution
What are you doing each day to stimulate your mind, expand your way of thinking, and grow in some manner?
What are you doing each day to breathe into your soul? What are you doing each day to get the blood flowing and helping your body continue to stay healthy?
What are you doing each day to attend to your emotional needs? What voids are popping up (like lonliness) and how are you trying to fill them? By spending hours on Tindr talking to losers or by learning how to give yourself some love and attention?
It seems like a lot, but when you take a step back and examine how you spend your free time or your entire days, it becomes evident what your bad and unhealthy habits are. The relentless scrolling, the 8-hour binge session on Netflix (occasionally is fine, and if you’re looking for another show to watch, check out these 34 Shows to Binge Watch), the snacking on junk food because of some victim mentality we have all adapted (like this isn’t happening to everyone at the same time), and the increased amount of time we are spending sitting and being sedentary.
I know this sounds like tough love. That’s because it is. That’s because I don’t want anyone hurting mentally or spiraling into a dark place without realizing it because it is so hard to get out of that place once you land there, so friends, we need to be proactive.
creating productive routines
I am still working on this as well, so trust me when I say I am with you, but creating a routine that works for you is necessary right now. First thing to start with is your sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day has been proven to not only help with your mood but your level of productivity. You may not be “waking up for anything”, but you are. You’re waking up to another empty day that is full of possibilities if you really want it to be.
Next, we need to practice gratitude. So, as you wake up and go to grab your phone first thing to check Instagram, instead head over to your Notes app and write down three things you are grateful for that day.
Alright, now the mother in me is going to be ever so present, but eat breakfast every single day. It could be toast and jam for all I care. Make your damn breakfast. While you’re eating breakfast think of 5 things you want to accomplish that day. Big or small, doesn’t matter. After you figure out your “5”, number them 1-5 in order of what you will tackle first through last. Last but not least, in their order, put a deadline time next to it. What time are you going to make sure you completed each task by? Write it down and stick to it.
You get the jist. Creating a routine each day will change the way you feel instantly. Make your bed each morning, try to work out during the week a few times if not daily, learn something new and do it at the same time each day. Just. Do. It.
what bad habits do you need to break?
As the day and week continues, each time you go to do something that doesn’t benefit you, write it down. Even checking Instagram. Keep a running list and at the end of the first week I want you to check in and see how many times you reverted to doing something that wasn’t restorative or productive.
Now, I understand checking social media is restorative for some of us, that’s fine. Write it down anyways because you need to be made aware of how much time you are spending on that app. If you have an iPhone, I dare you to check your screen time stats.
I remember I got a message from that app saying I spent 10 hours on my phone one day. What in the actual fuck? That was a low day and I promised myself it wouldn’t happen again. TEN hours! I could have read three books, taken an online course, and batched out like 2 weeks worth of blog content in that time.
// how do i feel motivated during this time, though?
I get it. The days are bleeding together, time is continuing on yet it feels like we’re at this unbreakable stand still. There is no end in sight, what is the point?
Well, here’s the thing. You’re right. Time is continuing on and these days are becoming wasted moments in time if we don’t use them for some type of good.
The thing is, is that we all want what we can’t have. Prior to this time, we all wanted a break from work and unfortunately, now we all have it. Some of us hated our jobs and wanted to quit, well now you’re laid off. You got what you wanted, just now how you wanted it. We all wanted endless free time, now we have it. Granted it is not how we pictured it (ie. without friends, without traveling, etc.) but we have it now. So how are we using it?
I understand that there is a lot of pressure right now for everyone to be productive and kill this time, making people feel ashamed that they just mentally can’t. Trust me sister, I’m right there with you. But there is a perspective shift that needs to happen because this is a time you will look back on and you don’t want to wish you had spent it differently. You don’t want to think “what if I had tried to focus on such and such?”.
You need to change your mindset. You need to realize we are all in this together right now. No one is not affected by this right now. My biggest fear is that we are using this time to create even more self-limiting beliefs. Why do I say this, because I’ve been doing it too! And this my friends, is what the victim mentality is and it too is a toxic, unhealthy habit.
Having a victim mentality means that you blame others for the negative challenges you have faced or are facing in life. Now, this situation is obviously an interesting one in which, is there blame to place? Probably, BUT that doesn’t mean that you then sit in a negative pool of mush and not control what you have full control over. Does that make sense? You have full control over how you spend this time, how you utilize this time, and how you grow from this time.
Right now, the news is toxic. It is full of fear-based propaganda and emotional-inducing stories. People are rioting the stay-at-home order. People are feeling “oppressed” for having to wear a mask at Costco. Forget about people of color losing their lives by the hands of authorities. Forget Jews being tortured in concentration camps. Forget the kids of immigrants still being held in cages. Forget slavery. Forget same-sex marriage still being banned. Forget human trafficking. Forget that your mask is actually a liberty. You get to wear a mask to protect yourself.
This my friends, is victim mentality at its finest.
// so what do i do when i feel so low?
First, get your booty outside. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun on your skin, and listen to life still happening. Take a walk and after listening to the birds chirping, the wind blowing, and life still moving, listen to some feel good music and count your blessings.
You are here.
You are alive.
You have seen another day in this turbulent time.
You have the access to the internet.
You have a phone.
You have food.
You have your life.
Try to tap into some form of meditation. Headspace is an incredible app that I always suggest. Give it a try, preferably outside. It’s not about shutting off your mind, but it’s learning how to acknowledge your feelings and let them be. Don’t give them any weight. Just learn to be.
Start to get back into old hobbies and new. Try new things and do some form of expression daily. Dance, draw, paint, create something, etc. Just express yourself in a creative manner.
Be careful who you are allowing into your circle or who you are giving time to. We don’t need soul suckers in our life right now, so create some boundaries and be careful who is influencing and affecting your thoughts and your moods. FaceTime those feel good people who spark joy within you.
Start planning things that let you look forward to something. Virtual happy hours, webinars, viewing parties, etc. There are SO many things being streamed from opera houses or museums or whatever the case may be. Find something and look forward to it. Hamilton anyone? Way to go Disney+.
Find new innovative ways to make this time work for you. With that being said, I highly encourage all of you to start thinking ahead in terms of creating some sort of income producing thing that you can do on your terms from your home. This pandemic is at the very beginning of its life and this will be a long road that we have to face together. Money is tight, the fear of not knowing when our unemployment kicking in will begin, and not knowing if today is the day you get laid off is A LOT of stress. Start thinking outside of the box for some side hustles that you can be excited about. Create something, join something, learn about something new. Set yourself up for the success you deserve that will be unwavering during any time such as this.
Last but not least, know that you are not alone and we are all in this together. This blog is a place for community to come together and lift each other up. Get in the comments and let’s start leaning on each other.
Love and light always,
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