So, you’ve already gone through the baking banana bread and tie-dyeing your wardrobe stages of the pandemic. Now what?
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, or anything in between, you’re not alone. While our individual experiences are unique, we all share facing the unknown. Here are seven gentle reminders for living through a pandemic.
1. Don’t be hard on yourself.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with the pandemic and the changes brought upon our lives as a result. Don’t beat yourself up for not doing what others tell you you should be doing right now. Social media is filled with people telling you to start a business, invest in stocks, learn new skills, take a course, and so on and so forth.
The only thing you need to do right now is to take care of yourself first. If that means starting a business, great. If not, great. We all have different needs and priorities in life. Just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you need to be doing it, too. In fact, this leads me to our next reminder.
2. Take social media breaks. Often.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, check your phone? Same here. Let’s break that habit. Avoid checking social media for at least 30 minutes to an hour upon waking up. Instead, you can use that time to set your intentions for the day, meditate, and do your morning routine. For me, that means doing my skincare, brushing my teeth, and since the beginning of September, going for a mile run or walk.
Don’t get caught up on social media seeing so and so doing this while you’ve been doing that. Seeing people’s highlight reels and curated content can make it easy to feel like you’re not doing enough and falling behind. Everyone goes at their own pace.
I plan on setting new personal records for how fast I can run a mile and my goal is to run a mile without taking any breaks. I could sit here and scroll on social comparing my stats to others, but how would that serve me? Our bodies and fitness levels are unique. It’s not fair to myself to compare myself to a professional athlete.
Instead of focusing on what others are doing, spend more time looking inward and nurturing yourself to be your best self. Make a conscious effort to show up for yourself daily and take steps to help you achieve your goals. The only person you should be in competition with is yourself. Work on being a better you today than you were yesterday.
3. Listen to your body.
If you need to rest, rest. Have a nappuccino. Take a break. Lay down. Relax.
If you’re like me, you have a need to always be doing something productive. For whatever reason, resting does not instinctually count as a productive task for me. Why is it so ingrained in us that our sense of productivity stems from our output of work and the number of tasks we can tackle in a day?
It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be an energizer bunny 24/7 without burning out, even more so these days. There is no need to feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Some days what we need the most is to do the least.
4. Start moving.
I know what you’re thinking. Shirin, you literally just told me to rest. What do you mean, “start moving”?
It’s easy to become a couch potato when stuck at home. Exercising can help boost endorphins and lift your mood. It’s good to get your blood flowing. You don’t need fancy equipment or access to a gym to exercise. Going for a walk or doing bodyweight at-home workouts are wonderful ways to break a sweat.
I like having a routine of exercising in the morning to jumpstart my day, but I know everyone’s preferences and schedules are different. Find a time that works for you and stick to it. My favorite fitness influencers to follow on Instagram are @evolve.nation, @realrubaali, and @krissycela. You will feel the burn after doing their routines.
5. Join a community.
Communities can help buffer against challenges we face via support and feelings of belonging that are necessary for our overall well-being. Virtual communities can be as beneficial as in-person communities. It’s nice to feel surrounded by a group of supportive people who share your interests.
At the beginning of the lockdowns, I participated in weekly Zoom makeup and chill hangouts where I got to meet new people and do one of my favorite passions, makeup. One week, we challenged ourselves to create an eyeshadow look using only purple and blue. Those are two colors I don’t use often, so it was fun stepping out of my comfort zone and seeing what looks everyone created. Putting on makeup is so therapeutic and relaxing for me, plus I love how confident it makes me feel.
A lot of my favorite DJ’s also started live-streaming performances, whether on Twitch or part of virtual shows hosted by Insomniac Events. Simply being in the chat room and interacting with fellow ravers made me so happy to be part of such a loving community where we can share our passion for electronic dance music. Some people even organized Zoom watch parties and dressed up for the occasion.
There are many ways to get involved in virtual communities. You can host game nights with your friends on the Houseparty app or participate in fitness challenges, to name a couple ideas.
6. Check in on your friends and family.
Speaking of support systems, check in on your friends and family to see how they’re doing. Getting a “thinking of you” text or call is a nice reminder that you are loved. Here are some ways to reach out and show you care:
- Tell them you miss them
- Share something that reminded you of them
- Send a funny meme or video
- Wish them a wonderful day
- Share a new song you’ve been loving
- Ask if they’ve seen a new TV show
- Offer to run errands for them
- Compliment them
7. Reflect and refocus on your goals.
Take time to think about your priorities in life. Maybe it’s time to set new goals. One lesson that 2020 has taught me is that life is too short. Live in the now.
Why set limiting beliefs instead of chasing your dreams? You are capable of achieving what you put your mind toward. This is your reminder to start living as the best version of you. You can do it.