Life inside is not always so great. It’s easy to feel trapped, imprisoned, gasping breath, etc. I made another post that refers to how the quarantine is a bit like building a blanket fort when you were younger. It’s fun at first, but can quickly turn into a place of fear and panic if you can’t leave. But your blanket fort does not need to turn into a place of fear and panic. The mind is a powerful place and it’s easy to get trapped inside your mind, but misinterpret that as being trapped inside a place. This guide is not going to tell you what you should be specifically doing, but instead provide and outline and guidelines to keep yourself in check and keep your mind in the present.
1. Start a Daily Routine
Creating a routine is super important! Draw out a calendar. Set a time for your meals. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Set a timeframe if you choose. Tell yourself: “Breakfast is between 9am and 10am everyday.” Don’t let yourself snack all day.
Plan out your meals in advance. Make a meal calendar. Write down what you are going to eat. Make it balanced. Make a list of stuff to buy at the store. DO NOT BUY SNACKS. If you want snacks, stick to things like clementines which require work to eat (opening and peeling) and are healthy (fruit!). And no, Oreo wrappers do not count as “work.”
Add some sort of exercise to your calendar. Mix it up. Go jogging one day (cardio!). Do a pilates video another (I love Blogilates). Do a stretch another day. Find a yoga video (I prefer Fightmaster Yoga, her voice is so soothing, but there are tons on Youtube to search though). Make sure you are moving your body and taking care of it. So important!
2. Choose an Accountability Partner
Are you home alone? Do you have a roommate? Do you have a video call app? GOOD. Choose a person to be in this together. Check in with each other. Choose a time to wake up. 8am? Okay. Both commit to waking up at 8am. Call each other at 8am. Talk. Wake each other up. Motivate the other to make coffee or start breakfast. Support each other.
Have a partner or a roommate? Make a commitment with them. Wake each other up. Make the other breakfast. Talk about your plans for the day.
Text or talk to your accountability partner throughout the day. Tell them your achievements, what you learned, what you did, how you exercised. Update them, call them, encourage them. You are in this together.
Say goodnight. You are a support system. Keep up the hard work. Encourage each other. You are not alone.
3. Create Goals
You can do this as an exercise with your accountability partner, or you can do it on your own and then review it over with your partner. It is important to talk about it and tell someone else about your goals and plans. This will help solidify it and make it more tangible. Put your desires out into the world and go and grab them.
You can choose to set your goals in any way you like, but this is how I prefer. Start with a list. Make a list of the things you need to get done every day, weekly, monthly, etc (laundry, vaccuuming, chore-like things, keep yourself tidy!). Then make a list of all the things you want to: Create (art, sewing, painting, woodworking), Consume (books, tv series, movies), Learn (online trainings, classes), Do (miscellaneous). Write it all down, even if you don’t think you will have time. Go into each item and start making details. Ask yourself: What exactly do I do want to do? How will I get this done? How long will it take? How much energy does this require? Ask yourself all the necessary questions. Probe your partner a bit, ask them questions, force them to think a little deeper and more seriously about each aspiration.
Finally, go back to your calendar and make concrete bullet points. Don’t stress and try to fit something in at every single hour, but instead choose a couple of things that you for sure know you can do and that you won’t stress over. For instance, I want to learn how to do a cut crease with eyeshadow. For a while this was something I had in my head of “Oh I want to do this,” but I never dedicated the time for it. I put it on my calendar to practice on certain days and guess what? I actually did it! I admit it was kind of hard to force myself to get the ball rolling, but once you get the ball rolling, it’s always much easier. I also wanted to spend some more time blogging and here I am! I may not do it every day, but it’s something I do want to do on occasion.
Again, don’t stress about filling out every hour and making a schedule that looks like your school schedule. Choose an activity and just do it! Lose track of time and enjoy yourself in this activity. Learn without the constraints or stress of time. Relax.
4. Relax the Mind
Our mind can easily become trapped in a prison it creates for itself. The notion of time can also easily trap and destroy the mind. It’s often incredibly easy to get stressed about time. Either: “I don’t have enough time!” or “I am so bored! There is too much time!”. Both of those thoughts can lead to dangerous paths which causes the mind to buzz. Have you ever felt like your mind is moving faster than you can think or process information? That there is so much in there that you can’t remember it all and it’s just easier to scroll on facebook and pretend that nothing exists? Yeah I feel you bro.
Learning to relax the mind can be difficult at first. But it’s necessary to learn to relax if we are going to start training the mind. Being in confinement is a great time to start. Most likely you are either less relaxed than normal or more relaxed than normal. Both are great places to start.
It is important to always be aware of your body and where your body is. It is important to remember what is the present and what is now. It is easy to be so caught up in the past and future that you forget about the present. That is what mindfulness and meditation practices are all about. Learning to be in the present has helped my mind slow down and reduced many of my more anxious or depressing thoughts.
I am not an expert and I am not going to be teaching you how to achieve this state. But I can help you, and guide you in the right direction. There are so many online resources now and that is a great place to start.
For me, personally, I use the app, Headspace, to help guide me and my mind to being more self aware. I like to take a break from my activities or after my work and remind myself that I am here, I am in the present. Additionally, I like to focus myself during my yoga practice and be especially aware of my body, where my body is, and listening to my body (especially in forms of pains, aches, strengths, and stretching limits.)
I recommend starting by watching this video from the Vox, The Mind Explained series on Netflix. You can learn more information about it here, and read a list of articles related to what mindfulness and how it is helpful.
Other websites I recommend reading to get started and learning more:
5. Stay Connected
Just because you are at home, does not mean you need to socially isolate yourself. You only need to physically distance yourself. That does not mean ignore the rest of humankind! You need some sort of social interaction and there are many ways to achieve this.
- Facetime your friends
- Play Cards Against Humanity Online
- Go to a Zoom Party
- Zoom with Strangers
- New York Times Suggestions
- Join a discord chat on Reddit.com (Find a community you relate to and join their chat! Chat and converse with others)
Remember to take care of yourself during this rough time. Try and create solidarity with your neighbors. Meet your neighbors. Try and interact with them. Show them you care. Take care of your friends. Respect society. Stay home and reduce contact. Wear a mask. Sew masks. Donate supplies if you can. It is the time to help each other as a humankind and be kind to one another. I hope these steps can help you and can help all us survive these crazy times. Stay at home, but stay connected!
Regarding goal setting, I want to end this list with a quick quote:
“Ultimately the only thing you’re worried about is the transition from one state to another, and that can’t hurt you because it’s just a state change.” – Harry (Rasmus Hardiker)Black Mirror, White Christmas
Taken out of context, this is a great quote. I immediately related to it and realized that the “change of state” is exactly the reason that a lot of my goals aren’t being realized. It’s like getting out of bed. You hate your alarm song or sound so much by this time that you get slightly triggered if you hear it in other areas of your life. But, once you are out of bed and made your way to the shower or the coffee machine, things aren’t so bad. It’s that change of state that was hard, but it did not hurt you. I Setting goals and starting action on them is the same thing.
Taken in context, I would not recommend following Harry’s advice. If you have seen the episode, you understand why. I won’t go into spoilers, but I suggest taking this quote at a base and simple level. Sometimes to achieve your goals, all it takes is a little state change and standing up and getting started. Once you get the initial ball rolling, inertia will help pull you to do it more and more often. I’ve been slacking at my french studies, but simply pulling out and opening a book pushes me closer to making that change of state and renewing my interest.
Good luck and STAY AT HOME.