So it's week 4 of quarantine here in Toronto, and I'm basing this on how long my boyfriend has been working from home. (because I always work from home anyway).
A running joke between my friends and I is that almost nothing in my life has changed. I am definitely an introvert, I work from home and I recently moved to a new city where I literally have 1 friend! So needless to say, in normal times, I don't go out too much. I also spent 3 years studying in New York where I struggled to make friends and stayed home with my dog A LOT. So I know how to (or at least manage) keep my mental health.. well healthy?
These last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for both me and my boyfriend, and I've seen how it can affect someone who is not used to spending this much time at home. So just in case you are looking for some tips on how to stay sane and fight depression, here we go.
1- Take 'me' time & 'others' time.
If you live with someone like I do, it can be all too easy to just spend every second together and rely on each other's company. (I am so guilty of this - my boyfriend always calls me a piece of glue)
This first tip is so important for both(+) people involved. Take time separate. Especially for those who are used to having most of the week apart, it's so important to upkeep your respective time apart.
For me, it's doing some colouring alone outside, playing online games or having a video call with a friend. Something I did with a friend over FaceTime was we played a 'Friends' trivia game for a good hour. For my boyfriend, it was having a 'boys night' video hangout with his buddies. Having this time apart is so important to not only bond with other people but to also cut up the times in the day and feel refreshed when you're together again. And also to kind of sit with yourself and take the time to kind of catch up on your own feelings - which brings me to tip # 2
2- Feel Your Feelings - even negative ones.
If you are working from home, or not, the time spent 'having nothing to do' can easily be blocked off by binging a new tv show or watching 3 movies back to back. When we are experiencing anxiety or feeling depressed, this can be an easy distracter, which is a good thing. But I think it's also so important to let yourself sit with your emotions.
This past week I was hit with the bad news that the postponed One of a Kind show was officially canceled. I felt so defeated. I spend the last 4 months preparing for this show - planning and building my booth, sewing extra inventory, and just getting so excited and setting expectations for the show. All that crumbled in a matter of seconds and I can honestly say it was my lowest point of the past month. What helped me get through it was sitting around moping and listening to "Let it be" by the Beatles. If you follow me on instagram you may have seen I posted the lyrics in my stories. Sitting with my feelings and working through them without ignoring them helped me so much.
Right now companies are pivoting their entire messages to dealing with Covid-19, online workouts, motivational messages, things you can do to fill your time like reading, cooking, learning a new language, starting a new hobby. For me, at least, when I felt anxious and sad and scared, none of these things made me feel good. They actually made me feel worse. It's like Joker said, the hardest thing about having a mental illness is having to pretend that you don't. So the one good thing about being stuck at home is that you don't have to pretend. If you are feeling sad and down, FEEL IT. But do me one favour, while you're feeling it - remind yourself this one thing: No emotion is the final one. You may be crying under your blanket in bed right now, but you won't be there forever. Maybe another hour, maybe tomorrow too, but you'll feel good again.
When you've felt your feelings and you're ready to make yourself feel better. Why not switch from 'Let it be' to 'Here comes the sun'. Sit by your window a little and watch whatever's on the other side. If you have a balcony or a backyard - even better.
Download this free colouring page and spend some time colouring! Or - if you don't have a printer or colouring crayons - I've also been using this free colouring app called 'Colouring Book for Adults' but there are so many free colouring book apps out there!
3 - Move your body
I know - I just said that the endless stream of online home workouts can just make you feel more down. But if you are in a good space - they can actually make you feel even better. My boyfriend and I have been doing a set of kettlebell workouts together and it's one of the things I have been enjoying the most! The gym I used to work part time at, Victoria Park @victoriaparkmtl, has been offering a wide range of workouts from yoga, pilates, to HIIT on instagram. I did a yoga session yesterday and it was awesome :) If a workout like that is too hard for you, just go for a walk, inside or out. I also do some movement with my dog inside. A little jog around the apartment or throwing the toy around for her, playing like that together just puts a smile on my face!
4 - Things to watch or play
Now I am also a big movie/show watcher. What I've watched lately and really enjoyed
Disney Plus: Into the Grand Canyon, Elephants, Wild Yellowstone, Onward (get ready to happy cry), Whales, Mandolorian (and I'm not even a Star Wars fan)
Netflix: Coffee & Kareem, Feel free to laugh at me, but weekend mornings I watch Beat Bugs (and I have no kids - I just love cartoons and I love the Beatles - so it's a cartoon featuring songs from the Beatles HELLO yes!), Atypical, If you've never watched RuPaul's drag race, now is the time! The Circle, Love is Blind, The Good Place (!!!! so good)
Cbc Gem: Kim's Convenience & Schitt's Creek (they have the newest episodes to stream for free - but there are ads)
AND something my boyfriend constantly makes fun of me for -
I play this game called Cookie run: Oven break. It's so much fun :) haha it's basically a mix of Super Mario (which I played on my gameboy color - looking at you 90s babies) and cute cookie characters. It's free, fun and a great stress relief for me :) I'm linking a code here so if you download and play we will both get fun rewards in the game :) If you want to play click here!
5 - Take care of something
I recently planted some seeds from the ones I give free with your Wildflowers Collection order, and watching them grow and caring for them makes me feel so happy. Also cooking a home cooked meal for my boyfriend and taking care of my dog just brings me happiness. When my boyfriend has an especially stressful workday, I turned our bathroom into a little spa for him, with a calming bath and candles. Helping him relax and take time for himself like that just made me feel better too. Find something to take care of other than yourself. Put all your efforts into it for an hour or so. Caring for someone else (when you yourself are well) is such a great therapy for me :)
Do you have your own tricks to staying sane during this time? Let me know! :)