With all of the challenges and changes to our lives that have come with shelter-in-place, it has been too easy to fall into the trap of negativity. It happens all too often; we get sad, annoyed, angry, start thinking about all the things we miss and what we want to go back to “normal”, and from there just start spiraling.
As I’m sure others have unfortunately also experienced, I’ve had a lot of binging Netflix, a couple of emotional breakdowns, and much higher levels of anxiety than previously normal for me. Because of this, several weeks into quarantine I started making an effort to switch my perspective and look at little ways my life may have changed for the better. (Yes, some good things about quarantine life do exist!) They may be small things, but it still has made a difference and I suspect some of these may not have come about if quarantine measures hadn’t happened.
Here is what I came up with.
1. This blog!
I have created so much content, expanded my categories, become as consistent as I had intended to months ago, and literally tripled my following in a couple of months. I wanted to write and start sharing some of my works for a long time but could never seem to put aside the excuses, find the motivation or time to do it, and do it well. Now I have achieved many of my goals and am pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished, and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.
2. My physical fitness.
Despite gaining ten pounds which, annoyingly, somehow I can’t seem to shake off (due to stress? eating more? drinking more alcohol?), I am actually in surprisingly great shape right now. After moping for a while at the beginning of quarantine, I was able to slowly start running and doing home workouts again, and as a result I feel pretty damn strong right now, if I do say so myself.
3. My hydration game is on point!
When I was at work outside of the house, normally I would make somewhat of an effort to drink water when I could, but it definitely wasn’t as often or as much as I should have to keep my body hydrated. First, because I was busy and often distracted, and second because I didn’t want to have to keep running off to relieve myself throughout the day. Now, being stuck doing things only at home, I have constant access to the bathroom, so I am drinking all the water, all day long. I know, this is such a small thing, but it’s the little victories, isn’t it? My body is definitely happier with me because of it.
4. Connection with family members and close friends is stronger than it has been in a long time.
My grandpa is in a retirement home and hasn’t been able to have any visitors or even go outside since this whole thing started. As a result, all his extended family have come together and made a huge effort to call and send letters frequently so he knows he’s not alone. I try to send letters to him often, sometimes with pictures because I know he enjoys them. I also talk to my parents and other family members quite a bit, and I’ve connected with old friends and current ones through zoom, social media, and through good old-fashioned phone calls. I know this situation sucks, but at least I know I have people I can count on and who can count on me to still be there.
5. My To-Be-Read List has gone down!
Anyone else have a list of books they want to read that’s always a mile long? For the first time in a long time I actually feel like I’m making headway. I’ve managed to make it a habit of reading every night, and this past month I finished reading four books so far and I’m working on the fifth. There are still a ton left on my list, but I’m making progress and I’ve been loving it!
6. I’ve made my mental health a priority and learned a lot about self-care.
Self-care has always been important to me, but now more than ever I feel more weight on my shoulders, more stress about my current situation, and more anxiety about the future. Honestly, it’s hard not to dwell on it. However, during this time I have gotten to know myself and my fears more than ever, and thus I’ve branched out and tried different things to take care of myself.
Exercise has been huge for me, so doing some sort of activity every single day has made a difference, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Breathing and mindfulness exercises, bubble baths, staying away from constant news cycles, listening to interesting/motivational podcasts, and journaling/writing have also been game-changers.
So, although I think we can all agree life as we know it now has its unique challenges, it can also have some benefits. Sometimes we all just need a little nudge to shift our perspective and see the sweeter side of life.
What have some of the good things been for you?