Today’s post is a more personal one. The impetus behind it is that over the past few weeks I’ve had so many of you DM me asking for advice handling the loneliness that comes with being quarantined alone. Single and quarantined alone. In a relationship and quarantined alone. Just out of a breakup and quarantined alone. (UGH – hugs!!!) MARRIED to someone in the healthcare space and… quarantined alone.
I will be honest: I don’t always feel equipped to answer that question and I don’t know that I always handle it well but… I’m trying my best? I also want to preface this post by saying (obviously!) I am a blogger and not a mental health professional. I’m not giving medical advice (some professional resources are linked at the bottom of the post), I’m just sharing my experiences here in hopes of being helpful. I also recognize that EVERYONE is struggling (to all the parents who are now homeschooling – my heart goes out to you!!!) but I write what I know, and I am a person living alone during quarantine. Today’s Day 30 for me and it’s been… a lot!
The past month has been extremely hard. I’ve had a great deal of anxiety, I’ve been incredibly lonely, and right as this all went down things went awry with the person I was dating. (I’m telling you this as context, I can’t really talk about it out of respect to him and we didn’t date very long so I feel dumb being upset about it, but it still sucks!!!).
If you’re quarantined alone I’d love to hear how you’re coping! Leave me a comment!
PS – I would also recommend checking out this post from last week with nine ideas for things you can do at home…alone!
How to Maintain Your Mental Health During Quarantine.
Get Outside (Responsibly).
I take a walk every day to get a little bit of sun. But I am responsible about it; I wear a mask and I don’t go where the people are. (I love walking over the Williamsburg Bridge and that can be pretty quiet mid-day but on weekends it’s a hard no, same goes for Domino Park). Sometimes I just zig zag through quiet streets wandering aimlessly with a podcast (or audiobook, highly recommend Jessica Simpson’s book for this!)
Set boundaries with work.
I’m really lucky in that I don’t have a boss but I still have a lot of people holding me accountable; be it my blog readers or instagram followers… or my brand partners. I think that for someone with a more traditional job, this article from the WSJ would be really helpful in terms of setting boundaries with your employer.
Facetime… or don’t.
Communicating with friends and family is so important! I Facetime with moderation. I do find it’s the best alternative to real face to face contact. It was starting to add up and make me feel MORE lonely last week. I do think that it helps… that connectivity, even through screens. It can also add up! I talk to my parents almost every day and my sisters each a couple times a week… and then have Facetime sessions a few times a week with other friends. Digital happy hours are great, too!
Take a news break.
I have noticed a direct correlation between my mental health and how much news I’ve consumed. I try to balance staying informed and staying sane. So I watch the governor’s addresses and will put the news on here and there but I try to limit my overall media consumption as it can be… A LOT.
I am not here to sell sell sell (and also remember, not a doctor and everyone will have a different experience) but I wanted to include this as Equilibria has helped me SO much during this time. I take the 25mg soft gel every night before bedtime, and half a dropper of the extra strength drops whenever I feel stressed (all the time? JK – tops, twice a day). I wrote a blog post about Equilibria, and you can take 20% off with my code graceatwood.
Sometimes I just want to work from couch and not move from my blanket/laptop sitch but on the days I do exercise I feel so much better. Taking care of your physical health can really help your mental health! The connection between mind and body is really amazing. Yoga is great but to be honest it’s VERY hard for me to concentrate for a whole hour right now. So I’ve been really loving Melissa Wood Health’s workouts.
Find a creative outlet.
Getting creative has helped me immensely. It’s going to be different for everyone but it’s so important to find a creative outlet that makes you happy! Making my silly videos for instagram has been my latest creative side project and has helped me immensely. I laugh a lot making them, and I’m also learning a new skill set as I learn better ways to edit them, add sounds and music, etc!
Headspace has always been REALLY helpful to me. I wrote a post about my experience with Headspace and am so impressed that they’ve recently made the service free for New Yorkers, health care professionals, and many others! It’s one of my favorite and most used apps. I love the bedtime wind downs, too!
This sixteen second breathing trick is a godsend! It really does help to calm you down so so quickly.
This is definitely a more frivolous one (but whatever, this blog is frivolous) but for me, ending my day with a bath has been really beneficial. The days can stretch on and I’ll be in the same pajamas all day… but when I finish my work I hop in the tub for 20 minutes. Not only does this help to relax me in itself, it also acts as a separation between work time and relaxation. My current favorite is this mustard detox bath – it’s a little intense but in a WONDERFUL way – really makes you sweat!!!!
Mental Health Resources
As mentioned above, I am just sharing some of the things that have helped me. I am not a mental health professional so wanted to provide a few good mental health resources from actual PROFESSIONALS. I would love for you to share any recs in the comments if you feel comfortable!
Talkspace offers online therapy sessions. I have no relationship with this company but have heard from others that it’s incredibly helpful! They have over a million users so have to be doing something right. Recently, they launched a COVID-19 anxiety program.
The CDC’s guide to coping.
The CDC has a great resource for coping with stress and anxiety.
The SAHMSA (substance abuse and mental health service administration) has an online guide that may be helpful.
Crisis Text Line
The crisis text line is pretty cool. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis. A counselor receives the text and responds. More info on their site.
photos (old!) by Trent Bailey, taken at The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.