Did you guys know that anxiety disorders are the #1 mental illness in the US? In fact, anxiety affects about 18% of the US population, including me.
However, there are times when I am completely free of it.
You would think it would be when I was at church (being a good Christian girl) or with the love of my life (that I waited forever for). Nope. Not during either of those moments. Guess when I don't have any anxiety! Traveling the freaking world!
There is just something about an adventure in a different country that brings total calm to my soul. A lone woman with anxiety, in a new place, with a language barrier, and new time zone. Sounds like a panic attack right? For me it is freedom. The freedom of adventure. The freedom of an open schedule. The freedom from my daily responsibility. It is the freedom to just exist.
Being quarantined because of COVID-19 is weirdly forcing me into that same space.
That place of freedom and just existing.
Now, I do realize that it is not completely the same, because we can't truly be out in the world. And I do have anxiety about the situation in many ways, as I am sure you do as well. In all honesty this virus is a bit scary, right?
Here is my thought though. Maybe, just maybe, since we are being forced into this weird reality, we can take a new, or different, perspective. Many of us are forced to work from home (if possible) and whether we are working or not, might not even have a required schedule. Either way, we are being forced to stay at home and practice social distancing.
This can be maddening. I know I know.
So, I am asking you to take this new perspective. Allow this forced rest/relaxation/time inside to just wash over you. I really believe we can take the best characteristics of an adventure and apply them to our quarantined life.
WAIT! Don't stop reading yet. I have ideas guys! I have ideas!
Here are my 5 recommendations to exist and thrive in this crazy time.
Get in tune with your body
- Eat what actually sounds good, when it sounds good. If you are not hungry when you wake up, don't eat yet! Is it noon and you are used to having your frozen dinner for lunch at work? Not feeling it? Change it up? Do you want something cold today? Heartier? Creamier? Really listen to what your body is craving and needing.
- Move your body how it needs to be moved. Do you just really need a really good long stretch today? Would you rather just dance all over the house than lift your free weights. Listen to your body! Use the quiet to evaluate what you are truly needing to feel good.
Deepen into real rest.
- Do not force productivity. Are you used to being busy and now have free time. Fight against the urge to fill that time with 100% work. This might just be God/The Universe's way of telling you to slow the eff down. FYI this one is the one I am working on the most.
- Allow the empty space. You know how great art has that negative space? Think of your life right now as a piece of beautiful art. If the rest/pause/negative space is not there, we cannot appreciate the busy/full/positive space. Read a book in your pj's...or binge watch a show. It is OK. I promise! Put your phone in another room to charge. Turn off alarms. Eat dinner with your family without the TV on.
- Find new and meaningful ways to be with friends and your community. Skype/face time/zoom with friends and family. Take online classes for workouts, dance classes, and art classes. Browse online tours of museums. Write and send letters in the mail to your family. Find someone in your community you can help during this window of time.
- Get spiritual. Use the quiet to find the real connection. Work on a better prayer life with God, start a new devotional, or catch up on old sermons. Maybe you finally decide to try meditation or a slow practice of something you do already, like dance or kung fu. Really dial in to the connection with the spiritual side of life....I mean, it is part of everything already isn't it?
Immerse yourself in nature.
- Take a stroll outside. I mean it. Get your butt outside. Being inside for weeks will only make things worse. This can just mean a long walk with your dog around your neighborhood. Or maybe it is going to a hiking trail (if that is safe where you are at), walking along the beach (jealous AF if this is you), or just laying outside on a blanket and looking at the sky. You need it. Do it. Put those bare feet on the ground. Get that vitamin D, OK?
- Play nature sounds. Sounds weird, but it can really bring the outside in... and calm anxiety as well. You don't need a paid subscription to a music app either. Just YouTube it! I prefer the ocean waves myself :)