The Coronavirus has hurled us all into strange and uncertain times, so I’m sharing my quarantine tips. These are the tools I’m using to remain as grounded and calm as possible, and just maybe they’ll help you too. Incidentally, most of these tips are generally useful for working from home/freelancing under “normal” circumstances.
Quarantine Tip: Drink Water
Our bodies need hydration, and when everything else feels out of control, this is something small yet meaningful on which to focus. I recommend using a pitcher or a Hyrdro Flask, so it’s easier to keep track of how much you’re consuming.
Quarantine Tip: Establish a Routine, Not a Schedule
Rather than attach healthy, daily habits to the clock, I attach them to an order of operations. As a recovering perfectionist, aiming for a schedule opens me up to immense failures and self-criticism. If I oversleep, maybe because I truly needed the extra sleep, I can easily feel like I’ve failed before I’ve even begun. On the contrary, if I merely aim to meditate after I wake up, it doesn’t matter when I wake up.
Quarantine Tip: Carve out Space for Quiet & Calm
The advice to meditate is seemingly everywhere at this point, and for a while, it made me cringe, but I bit the bullet. I like the structure and guidance offered in the daily meditations of the app Calm, as well as the sleep stories. Matthew McConaughey reading to me works wonders for when I find myself wide awake with a racing mind. Creating a comfortable space I like helps me feel more inspired to sit there and establish a habit.
Quarantine Tip: Quarantine Your Phone
Of course the phone can be a tremendous tool for connection during social distancing. It can also be a great distraction and source of stress. I was experiencing the latter. Even when I had my phone in another room, it beckoned to me because I typically left it in the most heavily trafficked area of my apartment. The temptation was real.
As an experiment, I put my phone behind a curtain in a lesser frequented corner. The result was palpable! I felt so much calmer, more focused and less anxious. I use the app Moment to keep track of phone usage, and the stats affirmed the success of the experiment.
But First, Coffee
Repeat after me: No email before coffee! No email before coffee! No email before coffee! No email before coffee! No email before coffee! No email before coffee! No email before coffee!
Admittedly, I stole this one from my former partner, but he was right. Coffee, especially this coffee, is sacred and should be savored. Email is mostly a pain, so keep the two at arm’s length.
Quarantine Tip: Get Dressed
Don’t get me wrong, the occasional day of sweatpants/yoga pants/pajamas can be indulgent and rewarding, but if it becomes routine, it can be very demotivating. Getting dressed feels like setting a positive intention for the day. Go ahead and wear a necklace. We shouldn’t save our “nice” things only for other people.
Side Note: Support Local Artists (if you can)
This necklace is from local (to me) jewelry maker Cat Luck of Collarbone Jewelry. It was a very special gift to myself because I’ve come to revere jewelry as empowering armor, and Cat’s bold jewelry is no exception.
Quarantine Tip: Dog Bonding
Julep is the main reason I am mostly ok right now (and in general). Granted, a dog is a HUGE responsibility and a financial investment. It’s not a choice to take lightly. However, if you’ve been considering it, now might be a good time for adopting your own fur baby. You’ll have plenty of time to bond. (Incidentally, adopting a puppy requires a fair bit of social distancing because of vaccine schedules. I’m juuuuust sayin’.)
Alternatively, lots of foster dogs are in need of homes right now, and if all else fails, I can’t recommend this live puppy feed enough. I keep it open in my browser all day, and it puts the stupidest grin on my face.
Quarantine Tip: Take Walks (But Still Respect Social Distancing)
Taking a walk with Julep and listening to an audio book give me a change of pace and scenery, and I’m cruising through so much good content. But remember to respect other pedestrians, and leave six feet of space (or as much as possible) as you pass each other on the sidewalk. I’m especially looking at you Pittsburgh pedestrians!
Quarantine Tip: Eat/Drink Your Fruits & Veggies + Be Resourceful
With restaurants closing and changing grocery habits, we’re all figuring out how to feed ourselves in quarantine. I’m focusing on my fruit and veggie consumption. Want to waste less? If your produce is starting to turn, use it for smoothies. What the fruit loses in texture, it typically gains in sweetness and helps stretch those trips to the grocery store.
Want to make a green drink? Try this recipe.
Quarantine Tip: Be Reflective
I’ve been in an online therapy program with Ta’lor Pinkston for months now, and it has drastically changed my life. Just as we need physical care, we need mental care, especially during these unpredictable, alarming times. I can’t recommend Ta’lor enough. Her program is rooted in self-love (not to be mistaken with pampering), and it’s very affordable.
Additionally, I’ve been spending lots of time journaling and diving into astrology through the book, You Were Born For This. In the words of the author, Chani Nicholas, “Astrology is not therapy, but it is therapeutic.” I agree.
Quarantine Tip: Write a “108 Dreams” List
What if there were no pandemic? no boundaries? What if money were no issue? Who do you want to be spiritually? emotionally? relationally? … Write a list of 108 dreams.
This was an assignment from Ta’lor Pinkston, and it helped me turn a major corner. The Covid-19 pandemic makes it feel impossible to plan, but brainstorming this list (still a work in progress) gave me permission to dream, to feel hopeful, to remember that this too shall pass, and ask myself, how do I want to emerge from this?
Quarantine Tip: Reach Out To Friends
I left this surprise present on a friend’s porch to lighten both of our days. I also mapped out who each of my friends would be in Tiger King (ha!) and emailed them side-by-side comparisons. Several friends have texted or called to check on me, and it has meant so much! We all need each other, and we have to find new ways to be there.
Quarantine Tip: Establish a Nighttime Routine
In light of all the extra potential anxiety, I’m finally focusing on sleeping better. I’m finally working on establishing a nighttime routine that does not include falling asleep on the couch watching Netflix, waking up at 4 am and then being wide awake. This is what has helped me, but I am definitely open to suggestions!
I invested in a rose oil face-care set because it actually makes me feel excited to get up and wash my face. Once I get my rosy face into bed, I journal what I’m grateful for, and then I read until I can’t keep my eyes open. I found that a lighter, more positive book, especially one I already know and love like The Alchemist, works well for a bedtime read. If I don’t fully remember what happened the night before, it doesn’t really matter.
That’s what I got. What about you? What tools are helping you during social distancing?
Be well, friends!