Art by Clutch Cabin
Staying Positive During Quarantine
In high school, my global studies teacher would assign songs to his students. He’d play one of the tunes at the beginning of class and you’d have to guess if it was yours. On my day, there played a cheerful 90s jam from his computer speakers. I had a feeling it was mine, but was too embarrassed to proclaim so in fear of being wrong (even though it wasn’t that big of a deal). ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Deep Blue Something- a little tale of two people who are in a relationship, but aren’t really getting along. They have nothing in common…except for one thing. They both like the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And that’s enough.
I complained to my teacher for a while after that about why he chose it for me. And for a while he told me to figure it out- eventually caving and conveying his reasoning as his thought of me as a starry-eyed optimist. One thing isn’t actually enough to keep two people together. At first, I took it as a compliment. Being an optimist is a good thing. And starry-eyed is a pretty word, but I am neither naive nor foolish.
I make a conscious effort to pick out the good in most because I’ve seen the bad. I don’t want to carry that around with me. Good is glorious. Love is light- much lighter than that of the weight of dark. So I choose. I set out what I want to come back. And I manifest. For myself and for the world.
To say it plainly- things are hard right now. The world’s current predicament is stressful for almost all of us (the almost being 99%). People are falling ill. Millions have lost their jobs and hang at the mercy of the way society is structured. The media is practically spoon-feeding fear. You can see it when you go to the grocery store or even for a walk around the corner- everyone is on edge. And to top it off, 2020s plans were swept away so effortlessly, like the ocean reclaiming its last grain of sand. We are unsure of what’s to come- our lives at a standstill.
It kind of came out of nowhere and threw us way off balance, although we should’ve anticipated something of this nature happening sooner or later. We’ve been put in the corner while all is sorted out. If you aren’t on the front lines, it feels like there isn’t much you can do. There’s just a lot of time to overthink and pace around our rooms, waiting for the next New York Times article with the latest updates. The negatives are poised in our faces and feel like a massive loss for humanity. There’s no kind of reassurance out there, except whatever I conjure up in my thoughts.
I’d like to think there’s a silver lining to this. Just searching for it and basking in my discoveries give me something to do and help fuel positive energy. Regardless of the situation, everything will be alright. Whether the journey to that be long or short.
Times like these, though devastating, happen for a reason. We need to take a good look at the moment. It’s necessary for healing. To show us what we need and what we don’t. For us to realize what really matters. To be grateful for all that we have, even in simplicity; food on the table, a bed to sleep in. It’s funny, things that should normally be priority have now been given immediate importance. We’ve become more aware and compassionate than ever. We have the opportunity to care about our health, to be cautious and to rest– something so valuable to our mental and physical health, but what we practice the least of.
While we’re doing so, the planet is getting a bit of a break from us. The spotlight is on the faulty in what has been built up to now. It was always there, but is now amplified and is not for us to point fingers and blame. This is collective and as a collective, it is time for us to rise together. Right now we wait, but while we do, we prepare for the work of the future. We must lift each other up- doing what we can, supporting as much as we can. And emerge from this better than we came.
The introvert in me wants to say this has been relieving. I no longer feel an obligation to anything. All my ropes have been set loose. I run free in my alone time, and I’m not on overdrive. I do things by my own will and the options are endless creatively. I revisit what gives me joy.
But I know that it can be especially difficult to spend so much time alone in quarantine. Forced isolation and limited contact is lonely- and socializing is vital to some. Stripping that away can make them feel like they’re completely left in the dark and may fall into stressors or harmful thoughts. Without the outside, it makes it easier for past trauma to seep in. We may face the things we’ve been pushing away- which is good, but can also be too much at once. Our friends and family, even just strangers in passing, are life-savers. Technology has made it possible for us to just shoot out a text or be able to talk over the phone. And a phone call can mean and do a lot. It’s important to reach out to your loved ones as a reminder you’re there. Let them know you care and just because you’re not immediately together doesn’t mean you’re not there at all.
I also know that some of us tend to get “lost in the sauce” when there’s no structure or routine set in place to follow (including me). The good stuff came after days of laying around, oversleeping, overeating, and starring at a phone screen- feeling like garbage. You fall into this endless wash and dry cycle without question and kind of let yourself go. And suddenly, you’re having an existential crisis. Bottom line: Overindulging? Not so great. We overindulge out of boredom or avoidance. And try to fill the time with excess of everything.
Creating some kind of routine for yourself helps benefit the mind and body. Consistency is good, especially for forming better habits. Even if it’s just for the morning or night, it’s something to religiously follow each day. Parent yourself; set a bedtime and an alarm to wake you in the morning. Get in the flow of rising with the sun. It helps you get every second out of the day and clears the space for more. When you establish your space, you leave the room for things that make you feel whole- that leave you present and grounded. Because being mindful allows us to stay in the here and now, rather than wander off into the negative again. When you are fully engulfed in a task, it’s hard to go elsewhere. We’re fully in control of boosting our mood and learning things within/outside ourselves.
Below are some examples of To-Dos you can implement in your every day, plus an example of a daily routine. Enjoy 🙂
- Nourish your body. Make a smoothie or juice. Cook full meals in place of snacking. Follow a new recipe or reach out to relatives to learn how to cook from your roots.
- Get Outside. Go for daily walks. Do yoga on the grass. Explore a new way of moving your body and get your blood flowing. Moving your body helps ensure that your blood is getting the oxygen it needs to carry to all your organs. It helps them stay strong and improves circulation.
- Educate Yourself. Take an online class. Explore something you’ve had interest in. Or learn something new. Set a time for it each day. Read a book and find yourself parading through a new world.
- Make a vision board. On a big, flat surface, like a poster board, collect images/positive phrases that inspire what you want for yourself. Paint the board, place them on, and add affirmations. Then put it somewhere you can see when you wake up. A reminder.
- Clean. Spring Cleaning! Do the laundry you’ve been putting off. Tidy up the house or your room. Go through your belongings and prepare bags to get rid of the clutter. What do you really need?
- Create. Build something in your backyard. DIY. Get crafty.
- Rearrange. When I’m feeling stuck, I rearrange my room. It helps to shift the energy around and give it a new look. What best suits you?
- Dance. Sing along. Feel the note in each breath. Feel each movement you’re making and let the music take over.
- Go Earthing. Go walk outside on the grass barefoot. It can help ground you. Feel the Earth’s vital energy flow.
- Journal. About the thoughts in your head. Have discussions with yourself. Find prompts and write a story.
- Garden. Tend to what you’ve planted.
- Walk your dog. Or your cat. They like being outside too.
- Self-Care. Treat yourself to a face mask. Dry brush or self-massage. Give yourself a mani/pedi. But also if you’re up for it- throughout the day, when you’re feeling a certain way, try to identify where the feeling is coming from or why it’s present. (Because self-care isn’t just physical.)
- Connect. Say hi to your relatives. Have a facetime date. Virtually hangout with friends.
- Write Letters to Loved Ones. A little old fashioned, but let them know you care a different way. Who doesn’t like getting mail?
- Support a Local Business. Order out. Money is tight at the moment, but if you can, support a small business in your area.
- Play Dress Up. Put on something that makes you feel beautiful.
- Origami. It requires focus and yields a beautiful result. (If you make paper cranes, you can tie a string to them and hang them from the ceiling.)
- Ask Questions. Make note of your thoughts and questions that pop up, then ask your friends or GOOGLE.
- GAMES. Board games. Video games. Card games. Whatever floats your boat.
- Start or Finish What You’ve Been Meaning to Get to.
- And whatever you do…don’t cut or dye your hair, unless you know what you’re doing. It’s not worth it.
Remember it takes the job of all of us to help slow this down. Practice Social Distancing. Go out only when you have to. Not all of us are susceptible, but when we stay home, we help those who are.