How To Gently Lure Yourself Out of a Quarantine Slump
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Throughout 2020 I have felt a range of emotions: anxious, sad, uncertain, unconnected, unmotivated, over-motivated, scared of change, ready to embrace change, and now finally… content.
It’s okay to feel how you feel - let yourself feel it. It’s a pandemic and it is understandable.
When you are ready to pull yourself up and out of the heavy feels, here are some helpful tips.
Be kind to yourself
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I think we can all agree that this year we have spent more time in solitude than ever before. I didn’t take part in Zoom happy hours. I didn’t buy a Peloton. I didn’t bake banana bread once. And that’s okay. We all deal with stress in different ways. What’s most important is being kind to yourself and recognizing where you are at and what you need.
As a recovering perfectionist, this one proves to be difficult for me. For many years I felt that I could not be happy until everything in my life was exactly how I wanted it to be. “If I could just have ____, I would feel good”. Insert perfect body, perfect relationship, perfect career. In turn, I never felt satisfied. I cringe at all the moments I missed out on because of it. I didn’t let myself have ice cream on my 19th birthday because I felt I didn’t deserve it. Because I didn’t work out. Ugh, 27-year-old me wants to give her a hug.
Start noticing how you speak to yourself in your head. Is it the same voice that you would use to speak to a friend? If the answer is no, it’s time to re-evaluate. Be kind to yourself, prioritize yourself, and watch your life dramatically change. We live inside our heads; so let’s try to make it the safest, kindest home.
Schedule your self-care like an important appointment
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Now that we covered being kind to ourselves. It's time to talk about self-care.
For me, self-care is: reading for pleasure, going for a long walk, noticing the sunrise or sunset, listening to music instead of informational podcasts, taking a long shower, etc. It's the little things.
But sometimes we forget to prioritize our needs. We're all guilty of it - the busy moms, the overwhelmed college students, the badass career-driven women. We often forget to ask ourselves:
"How are you, really?"
When we don't take proper care of ourselves, we burn out. Set boundaries for how much you can handle. Schedule your self-care like you would schedule an important business meeting.
The more you are there for yourself, the more you can be there for others. The more you love yourself, the more you can love others. You can't pour out of an empty cup. So for the love of Cole Sprouse, fill it up with as much love and care as you can and let it overflow.
Set realistic goals
Look good, feel good. I usually say this about my outfits, but the reverse if also relevant - when you feel good you look good.
I don't weigh myself daily because I don't believe that a number - a number that displays my relation to GrAviTy - should define how I feel. But when my clothes are feeling a little tight, I know that it's time to assess my exercise routine and nutrition.
Exercise allows your body to release endorphins, you know, those feel-good chemicals that are fundamental for mental health. Society can make us feel that exercise is all about getting the perfect body (doesn't exist btw) and we forget that working out is beneficial for our overall health.
Take baby steps. What helps me is laying out my fitness clothes so they are ready to go in the AM. And obviously my Soulvation Society headband.
Set goals that you know you can reach. Don't jump right into a 2-hour workout everyday, that is not sustainable. Focus on how you feel. It shouldn't be miserable, it should be enjoyable - you have to find what works for you. Apply the same concept to eating; food should make you happy. Fill your refrigerator with healthy whole foods that you love that simultaneously fuel your body.
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...and I'm not talking just about material things. Practice gratitude for your health, your relationships, the unique talents that you have that make you you.
For example, try reframing your thought process from: "Ugh I have to go workout" to "I'm so glad that I have a body that can workout".
It takes practice. I keep a journal by my bed that has a daily section for "What I am grateful for today" and every day is different. Over time, your brain alters how it views the world around you. Today, I'm grateful for this pumpkin spice cup of coffee I'm drinking and for a mom who answers my phone calls at any time of the day. It's great to appreciate the grandiose moments, but its the little things that add up to create a wonderful life.
So, perhaps 2020 wasn't the year you anticipated.
But maybe in the quiet, we can reflect on some of the positives of the lockdown: maintaining connections despite social distancing, coming together to make healthy changes to take care of each other, and finally... being kinder to ourselves and expressing gratitude for the world around us (however uncertain it may feel).