Sometimes I wonder if I’m successfully settling into a nice, slower pace of life, or if I’m just slowly losing my mind. One minute I feel serene and grateful I get to spend so much time with my family before starting my new, undoubtedly demanding job; the next minute I feel extremely claustrophobic.
I have something to admit: I’m one of those anxious, neurotic people. I’m also very resilient so it doesn’t affect my daily life, but I’ve had my share of panic attacks. As I get older, I increasingly try to deal with it in mature, healthy ways, like working out and getting enough sleep.
Along comes COVID-19 and I’m relegated to spending all of my days at home, which severely cuts into my ability to work out (I’m a runner) and consequently my ability to get a good night sleep (I don’t sleep well when I haven’t been sufficiently active).
As far as I know I’ve beaten the Corona virus, so now I’m focused on maintaining my mental health by doing the following:
I spend an exorbitant amount of time in nature. The excuse is that it’s good for the kids—the truth is that they're only mildly enthusiastic about going to the park every day while I adore being outside. The parks here are so beautiful in the spring that it genuinely feels like a nice break (as long as the kids don’t ask me for snacks every two minutes).
Now that DC's Swampy Summer is starting running is no longer an option because it makes me feel like I’m sweating to death. Hence I’m trying to get into home-fitness. It's great that there are so many excellent free videos on Youtube but still: ugh.
TIME FOR MYSELF
It’s almost impossible to carve out alone-time when you have two demanding little kids, but I manage to get away every day for a trip to the grocery store or a walk around the block. Actually, the best way to have time to think or listen to an audio-book is when my daughter is sleeping in the stroller and I walk the North Virginia trails for an hour or two.
I’ve always found reading very relaxing and now I have more time than ever to find cool books and read them either on my Kindle or listen to them on Audible. I just finished 28 hours of listening to the Fountainhead and now I’m five hours into Ali Wong’s hilarious “Dear Girls.”
I also read “10% Happier” by Dan harris—a birthday present from my husband. This book really spoke to me because it explains how a skeptic of spiritualism can learn how to chill out by sitting still for a few minutes each day and practice mindfulness. I might just give it a try (I’ve downloaded the app but despite daily reminders I’ve only listened to one meditation video so far.)
If meditation doesn’t sound weird enough to you: I’ve also tried self-hypnosis! It actually appears there’s only a thin line between the two. When you’re in bed and you can’t sleep, it’s really helpful to listen to a meditation guru, which can get you get into a state of deep semi-sleep, which is kind of like hypnosis. I’m trying not to overthink it and just use it to my benefit. After all, falling asleep peacefully while listening to great advice about loving myself and stopping bad habits can’t hurt. I hope.
It’s not a coincidence that I’ve been blogging a lot more since we’ve all been required to stay at home. It’s a great outlet for my thoughts. I never wake up thinking I need to enlighten the world with my thoughts, but I know that, for whatever reason, every time I finish typing a little story I feel a sense of relief and even accomplishment.
The one benefit of teleworking, the way I see it, is that you don’t have to be at home to do it, which leaves open the possibility of… travel! That hasn’t really been an option so far, with all the restrictions in place, but more and more hotels and beaches are opening up. So it’s very possible that I’ll be working from Virginia Beach starting next week!