It’s like clockwork, the cycle of feeling well adjusted for a few days and then crashing straight after as your mental health disintegrates.
While socially isolated, we are all jumping from one obsession to another to avoid sitting with our own thoughts.
To survive, it seems, one must either be drinking a martini or have the emotional constitution of one (frequently shaken, never stirred).
If there’s one thing that we didn’t need a global pandemic to prove to us, it was that social media is difficult.
Staying healthy is hard
Now that everyone has baked their sourdough, iced their banana nut muffins, and painted their loft, we are left with burning thighs and thoughts that no amount of couch-to-5ks can escape.
Here are some tips for staying mentally healthy while social distancing safely.
Remember those first months when everything felt real and fake all at once? The physical and mental impact on our loved ones was huge!
Think about ways you can be accountable to others, but also think about how they can serve you.
Adjust to your needs
Athome workouts and credit cards can’t solve pandemic negativity by themselves!
Find space for reflection, time to healthily engage with disappointment and missed memories. The truth is, no individual can be full to the brim, working flat out all the time.
We need room to spill and flow, to empty and fill up.
One way to reduce stress is to use online chats. Another option is taking care of yourself by turning off the political and health news.
We need to have time to ourselves to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and infact, negativity.
We can’t regret our emotions, even with the people we trust the most.
Things change, people change
The good things in life don’t have to be self-consciously crushed into cat food like pills – we can own the things we value without explanation, without disguise.
There is less need for urgency: time doesn’t mean what it used to. Be kind to yourself, take things slower.
The rules have changed and we know now that time is very short because it can also be very long. We have to reclaim ‘me time’ in lockdown.
Embrace your interests, stay connected.
Get a cheap projector throw a sheet over your garden fence and watch Roman Holiday with your reluctant sister. Watch Gregory Peck distractedly order a watermelon in an Italian courtyard because he’s too busy admiring Audrey Hepburn.
Watch the early episodes of Friends because the hair and spirits are high and the tv is grainy and leaves some things to the imagination.
Paint your room while you have the house to yourself for the weekend and shimmy around to Lizzo feeling like the montage scene around the hour mark of any romcom worth its salt.
Learn by the second coat of paint to close your mouth when painting the ceiling.
Missing out is okay
It just means that you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself for a while and then you can move on. All the good things we do pave the building blocks for something better.
Making mistakes and having regrets are also helpful and natural.
We can’t have our cake and eat it too. Rather, we must have our cake and learn to embrace the undignified, lumpy process of baking it.
Another thing! Self-care and comfort are not inherited; people aren’t usually born effortlessly at ease with themselves – you have to work at it.
So by all means, attempt a healthy relationship with exercise but don’t bother trying to pretend it will always be a refreshing, pleasurable thing; sometimes we need chores.
Be patient with yourself, this is still a pandemic.
Focus on the positive
So, my friends, make new scrapbooks with snarky titles, get a cheap typewriter, take up bookbinding. Drive out alone at sunset with a croissant and a flask of tea just because.
Put Smallville on and watch Tom Welling age like a fine wine. Unfollow two people you don’t care about on Instagram and follow one cheesy body positivity blog.
The weather will improve. We are getting better at this.