To be honest, I hesitate to write about the quarantine on this blog because the intention is for the blog to be evergreen. I want you guys to be able to come back here indefinitely and read about whatever you want and for the information to still be applicable to your lives. Posting about the quarantine felt strange because it felt like if we talk about it too much it won't go away. But the reality is that this is really difficult and really scary. I figured if I'm having a really hard time with it then other people are too, so let's open up the dialogue and talk about it.
We will get through this, though. If you're reading this from the future on the otherside, then hopefully these practices will help you navigate through your daily life in a way thats more kind to your mental health. My intention is to share the few things that have helped me in hopes that they will help you too.
A lot of what I’ll be talking about are mental health practices that I’ve implemented in my daily life in order to help improve my own mental health struggles. None of these things are considered treatment or alternative to talking to a mental health professional. So yeah, you know the deal #DISCLAIMER & please talk to your doctor.
Okay, let’s get into it.
The biggest shock of quarantine for a lot of people (it me) is the lack of structure. One of the easiest ways to regain a sense of stability is to implement a structure around your day. Schedule it out like you did when you had places to go. Here’s an example schedule:
9AM - 10AM: Morning pages, coffee, news/social media, stretching
10AM-11AM: Home workout
11AM-3PM: Work from home, writing, personal projects
4PM-5PM: Work from home
5PM-7:30PM: Video chat with family & friends, go for a walk, read a book.
8:30PM - 10PM: Movies, TV Shows, etc.
Morning pages are a free writing exercise I picked up from a little book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. To do it correctly you have to have at least THREE sheets of paper and a pen. You start writing and keep going until you fill up three pages. The key here is not to censor yourself! Just write. Write all the mumbo jumbo of an inner monologue that plays incessantly in your head. Put it on the page and see what you discover. Please don’t stop until you’ve reached three pages. It really takes a while to fully let go.
Meditation is scientifically proven to help improve quality of life. There are so many free guided meditations available online and through apps that you can easily find beginner guided meditations. We are in quarantine now, but once we are safe again, I highly recommend meditating in a temple or in a group. It's an amazing experience.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
There is no denying that this quarantine is really difficult on us mentally. So much changed so quickly and it is definitely worth acknowledging that things feel out of control. It is important that we focus on things that we can control. Therapy still has this negative stigma - something is wrong with us - but that’s not true. Therapy has helped millions of people and has worked wonders for many. Especially a new form of talk therapy - called CBT - cognitive behavioural therapy. A technique developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960’s that looks at how we interpret events to change our views and ways of thinking to get happier and better behaviours. I’ve recently started using an app called BLOOM that allows me to move through CBT exercises every morning in the app. It's very affordable, and even has some free features. You can set goals and track your moods over time. It is more than worth the small investment.
I hope some of these things help you feel better during your quarantine. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments section. I want to hear how everyone is doing during this difficult time, please let me know in the comments or feel free to send me an email via my contact form!
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline