When I was 9, I used to love chatting with 30-year-old men from far away countries on ICQ. When asked A/S/L, I was either 24/F/California or 17/F/Florida, depending on the way my creative juices were flowing that day. I would tell boys online that I was a bartender and had my own apartment. Because English probably wasn’t their first language, they believed me.
One night, I received a marriage proposal and proudly showed my Mom. She found the whole thing very entertaining. “OH MY GOD LISA, HE WANTS TO MARRY YOU!” Then I started to get freaked out and my Dad told me to turn off the computer and go to bed. That was the first time I broke a man’s heart.
Now, you may be asking yourself “What does your weird 9-year-old catfish story have to do with staying sane during lockdown?” Well, this FANTASTIC childhood memory came to me last night during a moment of stillness. And this is exactly where I want to start my list of things you might want to consider doing to stay sane during lockdown:
Practice stillness, but not in an annoying way. You can do this several times during the day. I’M NOT SAYING YOU HAVE TO MEDITATE AND CHANT FOR AN HOUR ON THE FLOOR UNTIL YOU LOSE SENSATION IN YOUR LEFT THIGH, OKAY. I’m just saying, if you make yourself a warm cup of coffee or tea in the morning, enjoy the entire process, you know? Notice how delicious the smell of coffee in the kitchen really is. Appreciate the sound (even if it’s the worst) of the coffee machine. Feel the warmth of the cup in your hand. Put down your phone and just enjoy your coffee. I SAID PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, it can do more harm than good. I don’t know about you, but my morning coffee feels a lot like meditation.
Pretend you’re good at yoga. I am a forever fan of Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga for Anxiety and Stress. She heals me. I am a ball of anxiety and the woman gets me. But like, let’s be real for a minute… yoga at home often looks a lot like this for me.
WHATEVER. It really doesn’t matter if you can’t do handstands or if you don’t know the name of the positions (like how am I suppose to know what CHATARUNGA means, please). But if Britney Spears isn’t afraid of filming herself doing yoga in her backyard and sharing it on Instagram with 23 million people, we shouldn’t be scared of attempting a pose or two in our living rooms. I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes I watch cooking shows while I’m supposed to be focusing on my breath and it still feel great. As Adriene would say, find what feels good. Sometimes, a cooking show and half-assed yoga feels incredible.
6pm aperitivo should be part of your daily routine. A few peanuts and a few glasses of wine. If you have a balcony — even a tiny one — put on a jacket and get on that balcony! This is a game-changer and will give you something to look forward to. Try new wines, new cocktails, new peanuts…just do it okay.
Be the person you were when you were younger. Remember all of the indoor activities you used to love when you were young? This is your opportunity to find the joy you used to find in the little things — you finally have time now. Coloring, watching movies, reading fluff… this is your chance. I am a BIG hula hoop fan — always have been — and even though I knock lamps over because my skills are somewhat lacking, it brings me so much — perhaps too much — joy to hula hoop to Maria Carey’s “Heartbreaker” in a scrunchie and 1 euro Primark hoops. Yes I have pictures, but I just don’t have the courage to share them right now.
Stop trying to be productive. This is not a time to show off. There’s a lot pressure floating around the universe and online about everything we “should” be doing in quarantine at home and I’m not here for it. If you feel good about the idea of cleaning all of your windows and organizing under the sink, go for it. But it’s not a requirement, okay? It’s perfectly acceptable to lay on the floor in ripped jogging pants and drink cheap wine. Stop with the pressure. We’re in isolation, okay. Let’s just get through it without giving ourselves bangs.
Quiet the anxiety by talking to yourself out loud. This is one of the few things that helps me deal with my crushing health anxiety. These are the questions I ask myself (out loud) and answer (out loud) when I’m in the shower:
OK LISA, HAVE YOU BEEN WASHING YOUR HANDS ONE MILLION TIMES PER DAY? YEAH.
HAVE YOU TAKEN ALL OF THE PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY? YEAH.
1 METER DISTANCE? ALWAYS.
ARE YOU HEALTHY? YES. ARE YOU OVER 60? NO. DO YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS? NO.
DO YOU KNOW ANYBODY WHO HAS HAD ANY SYMPTOMS? NO.
IS YOUR FAMILY OK? YES
ARE YOU AN EXPERT SOCIAL DISTANCER? YES. ARE YOU STAYING AWAY FROM OTHERS BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO CONTAMINATE THEM? YES.
ARE YOU EATING WELL? YES. DRINKING MODERATELY? ALMOST YES.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU COULD DO MORE THAN EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING? NO.
Just make sure to manage your feelings because things start to feel heavy after a week of being inside. Also, reading up on what’s going on is okay to stay informed, but know your limit. This is a fantastic podcast that helped me.
If you’re working from home, I cannot stress this enough, create your own cute workspace. This is mine.
You may be asking yourself why there’s a bike at my desk. Well, I usually bike to work so to imitate the feeling of physically arriving to work, I strategically placed my bike in front of my desk.
Truth is, it’s really hard to not be sad and overwhelmed about what’s happening in the world right now so I guess I don’t have much more to say. Human beings are dying in hospitals and they can’t say goodbye to the people they loved. Others are losing their jobs and don’t know how to pay their bills. Can we all just stay home for a few weeks so we can go back to loving each other instead of being scared of each other?
I hope you’re all staying home and staying safe. If you’re in lockdown like me or in quarantine, what are you doing to stay sane while at home? Would love to know. xx