Staying Sane At Home

By: Leslie Hughes - Jun 16, 2020

Some people have adapted to the idea of quarantine better than others, but there is no denying that the last few months have been a varying level of “difficult” for everyone. Even self-proclaimed “home bodies” have found themselves struggling to stay home this much.

As for me, a travel writer, I never thought the highlight of my week would be going to the grocery store for an anxiety and stress-induced opportunity to see people.

I have been fortunate enough to stay healthy throughout this time, and for that I am so thankful. There are thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside-down in the worst of ways due to COVID-19, and I am nowhere near that. Instead, I am here to share with you what I’ve done throughout the last couple months to stay sane (as well as what I plan to do for a while, as stay-at-home orders have been extended until July here in Los Angeles.)

Since travel writing was my main gig and non-essential travel became non-existent, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I knew there was no hope of trying to live my normal life during quarantine, so I instead aimed to create a new idea of normal. And this is a peek at what that looks like.

1. Exercising

B.C. (Before COVID), my workout routine was heading to my local Pilates studio to hop on a Megaformer machine and get the best workout of my life. When all gyms and studios closed at the beginning of quarantine, it was a challenge to find a workout that pushed me as hard as Pilates. However, I pushed myself mentally to find workouts to do at home and stick to them. And the physical push eventually came naturally.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I could not have made it through the ups and downs of quarantine without exercising. Not only did it kill time in my days that suddenly seemed eternal without work or travel, it also helped curb some of my anxiety, even if it was just for an hour of the day. I rediscovered the beauty of daily walks and this time brought me a great deal of peace.

2. Riding the Waves

One day I felt great and the next day I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but park my body on the couch and watch Netflix all day. At first I fought this struggle; I made myself feel bad for “wasting” days. Then I reached an acceptance: I was going to win some days, and lose others. It was better to ride the waves of up and down rather than try to force productivity when it just wasn’t in the cards.

3. Finding Hobbies

As a millennial who is self-employed, I have bought into the hustle mindset since I set out on my own. Hobbies seemed like a waste of time because whenever I had free time, I felt I should be using that time to work more on my job, or to find a side hustle.

When work was taken away from me during quarantine, I reconnected with the idea of hobbies - something I had put on the backburner for years. I learned to find simplicity in things such as macrame, puzzles, cooking extravagant meals, and a whole lot of baking.

I appreciate quarantine for forcing me to slow down and find joy in the small things, and for forcing me to realize that hustling 24/7 isn’t healthy.

4. Breathing Exercises

I have put a great deal of effort into meditating, but recently came to the conclusion that it is not for me. I envy those people who can do it, and who reap the countless benefits of meditation. But that person will never be me.

When anxiety levels hit an all-time high during quarantine, I knew I needed to find something to calm me, and that’s when I discovered the Wim Hof method. The man behind this method is known for crazy feats such as climbing Mt. Everest wearing nothing but shorts and sandals. But what I knew him for was his free 10-minute breathing video on YouTube that started my day off on the right foot rather than the typical panic one feels when looking at their phone first-thing.

His breathing exercises are something that I will incorporate into my day for the rest of my life. (Also, I just discovered that he has a free app, so I look forward to testing that out as well!)

I hope these tips help you to survive what’s left of quarantine where you live, and possibly help you find ways to improve life post-quarantine as well.

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