Before you start to read this, I just would like to politely ask if you think the article is helpful, please forward to a friend or share on social media. If it wasn’t helpful, please DM me on Instagram @wellnessrob and let’s figure it out. Enjoy!
Not exactly the break I thought….
All I have heard since the beginning of the quarantine is how great this time is supposed to be. It is supposed to be a time to take advantage of, a break from the stresses of life, connect with family and friends, and blah blah blah. The problem is with all these statements is the fact that it is pretty hard to do productive stuff when you have a giant looming cloud of existential doubt cast on by a pseudo apocalyptic event affecting the entire world. This thing sucks, and I haven’t heard enough people just outright say it. So that’s what I am here to do, I am not sugar coating anything, and we are all going to be better for it in the end…. I hope.
Let’s be real, a couple weeks ago I was one of the idiots jumping for joy at the prospect of having a ton of “free time” to do all the things I can never get too. I had grandiose dreams of learning Spanish, reading a book every day, becoming a proficient programmer, and lots of writing, all the writing, maybe even a book worth.
Now here I am 3 weeks in with a patchy beard, ¾ of a book read, 45 minutes of python tutorials under my belt, and this is the first thing I have written in months. I have been anxious, antsy, and stressed for about the past two weeks ruminating over the infinite number of scenarios that COVID-19 could bring upon me, family, friends, and the world at large. The term social distancing has become an excuse for us to all practice social media abusing to no ends. I can not even comprehend the number of memes I have voraciously consumed since the start of all this madness, but they seem to be the only thing bringing me comfort at this point.
I know I am not the only one feeling this either. I have had some great phone conversations with people, and they seem to share a similar take as mine. Most people aren’t out there, killing it, learning everything, and getting in great shape in their home gym. Most people are stressing about employment, trying to keep their loved ones safe, and only just trying to hold it together when you aren’t sure what the next day will bring. It is a traumatic event for everyone, and the levels of intensity vary depending on the person.
That being said, I am aware that I am fortunate in this situation. My company has been fantastic, my family has been healthy, and I have a great apartment complex with a lot of reasons to get outside. Even though I have all that, this still sucks!
That’s the thing. I don’t even have it bad, and I am not handling it well. I can’t imagine how others are doing who are experiencing more dire situations. I am sure a lot of people reading this right now are experiencing a much worse time than I am, and my heart goes out to you.
When it all comes down to it, this is a new, challenging, scary, and stressful situation that is affecting the whole world to varying levels. Sitting on Instagram, barking about how great this time is to become the best, is absurd to me at this point.
We are all being forced to live in a way that is detrimental to our mental health. Isolation is reserved for the worst and hardened criminals. We are social beings that need to be in the presence of others talking, hugging, kissing, and laughing, or else we start to spiral out of control. I am already starting to see some people spiral on social media, and I don’t think it is going to get any better with extending stay at home orders.
So we are all starting to lose it, but somehow we are supposed to learn violin, read, journal, paint, do a “40 min home cardio HIIT burnout with milk jugs”, spend time with our loved ones, eat healthily, and vision board every day. The problem is doing all that stuff is difficult even if you didn’t have existential doubt and fear hanging over your head. Just getting out of bed in the morning is going to be a feat this month, let alone learning mandarin.
*If you are handling it by being super positive and getting a bunch of stuff done, that’s awesome! This article is for the rest of us….
So are we doomed?
Up until this point (if you are still reading), you probably were a little thrown off by my doom and gloom take on things. I try to be positive, but there have been way too many “good vibes” right now, and I thought we all needed a little dose of reality. No, I do not think we are doomed. The truth is that I really am being optimistic and productive in quarantine but in a limited fashion. It is honestly just hard for me to give anyone or thing my full undivided attention right now. Something that I think a lot of us are feeling and it makes it worse when it seems like others are “killing it” in this trying time.
Honestly, I don’t think anyone is handling this exceptionally well. The overwhelming amount of positive media being put out seems to be more of an attempt to cope with the situation than actually take advantage of it. We are all dealing with this in different ways, and that is okay. There are definitely some better things to occupy your time than others, but we will get to that in a minute.
My take on all of this is that right now, it doesn’t matter what the future holds. No one knows what that is at this point, and that is probably the most stressful thing for me. What I do know is this time is unprecedented and something we have never faced before as a species. Trying to ignore it and distract yourself is not going to help you or anyone in the long term. The only thing that can be done at this point is to accept the darkness, be present with the darkness, and work every day to overcome the darkness.
Everyone’s dark is different, so everyone’s solution is going to be unique. I am implementing various things in my life right now to combat stress, stay positive, and keep healthy. Sure, some things that I do can be applied in your life and work, but I want everyone to look at this through their eyes. My situation is not the same as yours, and that is entirely ok. We can all make it out of this better in the end. The key is going to be an increased focus on your mindset, health, and peace. Below I outline some things to consider for everyone and what has changed for me.
For the first two weeks, my mindset was all wrong. I was expecting to not be affected by the overwhelming stress of a pandemic. I thought I would jump into a bunch of ambitious endeavors with unshakable motivation. This was sheer ignorance, and I completely underestimated the mental toll this entire event would take on me. Instead of diving into a book, I dove into sugary snacks. Rather than keep up my usual morning routine, I found it extremely difficult to jump out of bed at 5 am. My programming aspirations went out the door as soon as I saw a glorious mullet and tiger stripes on Netflix. In the last two weeks, I consumed more sugar, mindless tv, and Instagram than the previous two months. This is all because I had the wrong mindset.
In my mind, I figured I would be strong enough for this to not affect me, so instead of embracing the changing times, I chose to numb myself like a lot of other people are doing. That is the biggest issue, it doesn’t matter what it is if you are using it as a cheap distraction, then, in the end, you are only prolonging the inevitable suck coming your way. That’s what happened to me over the weekend. Hungover on Sunday, I was succumbed by overwhelming anxiety that made me irritable and depressed. I knew something needed to change, and the first thing is the mindset.
Now I am accepting the fear of COVID-19 with open arms. This is a new time, with a lot of unknowns, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. So instead of ignoring it, I am accepting it, learning from it, and looking at it as a challenge to overcome. Instead of ignoring the new way of life brought upon us, I am adapting to it. Focused on the things that bring me peace and health. With those two things as a priority, happiness will follow along without much effort.
You can’t be unhealthy and happy. This is the most simple thing to consider when there are things outside of our control that brings us stress. Ignoring the urges to overeat, stay in bed all day, and drink like a frat boy are pretty hard when you aren’t sure what the world is going to look like tomorrow, and your daily uniform is sweats. I get it, that’s what I have been doing the past weeks.
The issue is that poor eating habits, staying stagnant, and hitting snooze all lead to poor health both mentally and physically. All of these habits increase the stress hormone Cortisol. The hormone that is already surging in your body due to the cloud of overwhelming uncertainty. Pairing toxic behaviors with the current state of the world is a fast track to disaster.
So after you change your mindset, you have to focus on how you are going to adapt your health habits to this new way of life. For me, I am now focusing on intermittent fasting, hydration, avoiding processed carbs, and just learning to shut the pantry door. My biggest issue is boredom, and stress makes me want to snack. Two things which are overtaking a lot of us right now. So there is no better time than now to brainstorm and figure out ways to overcome these urges during this pandemic. When and if things do go back to normal. You will now have increased discipline that will lead to a healthy future. At least that is what I am hoping to get out of it.
There is no health without peace. You can eat all the kale you want, run 5 miles a day, do yoga every hour, and still be unhealthy if those things do not bring you peace. The greatest thing you can do for yourself right now is sitting back, take advantage of the extra time, and reflect on what really brings you peace in life. I can’t stress this enough, really think about it, and be honest with yourself. Don’t just look at your life from the past couple of years, but instead reflect on every part. You may find some things you lost, but you need now more than ever.
Peace is going to look different for everyone. For me, peace can be death metal and a diabolical workout, or it can be a walk with nothing but me and sunshine. For you, there could be tons of things that can bring you peace. There are so many activities and hobbies out there to achieve stress relief in your life. It is on you to find those things that you can do right now and find peace amongst the current chaos. If you can answer the task of finding peace in a time like this, then there is nothing that can hold you back from a happy and productive life.
All in all, I am here to help.
I know I have ended every other blog with a request to contact me if you have any questions or want some help with lifestyle changes. As always, I really do mean it, especially now. Just like you, I have a lot of extra time on my hands. I would love nothing more than to collaborate with you and figure out ways to get healthier. I am not charging anything, and I do not expect anything in return. I genuinely love talking about wellness, and I could talk your ear off if you let me. So DM me @wellnessrob on Instagram, email me, or call me if you got them digits. I’d love to hear from you for realz.
We are in an unprecedented, trying time, and we all need to work together to get through it. It is okay if you aren’t handling it well, neither am I. A realistic mindset, an adapted healthy lifestyle, and overall peace will not make this a great time. No matter what, this is not an ideal situation, and the goal is not to smash goals but instead to bear the weight. Putting together a schedule that will bring you health and peace will make this pandemic more bearable. When it is all over, you may not have written the next bestseller, but you may just become a better person. The goal everyone should have.
With Big Love,
P.S. – Carole Baskins killed her ex husband