Hello & Happy Monday!
I hope this blog finds you healthy & happy! Right now, our world is in full chaos and our lives have been put on hold and flipped upside down. The majority of us are without jobs and are full of uncertainty of the future, and as we stay socially isolated we can expect our body image and confidence to plummet. As soon as I read the news of the mandated quarantine my heart sank as I remembered my first year in social isolation. My heart broke for all the people that will soon learn the depression, low self esteem and worthlessness that I felt.
You see, I have always considered myself as an introvert. Shocking, right? I prefer quietness. I prefer laying in bed on a Friday night instead of going out. I prefer one on one dinners than large get togethers. I always considered myself as an independent person who would be fine being alone. So when I made the decision to leave my corporate office job to be a full time business owner, I thought I’d be happy. No coworkers, no dress code, no schedule. Full freedom, I thought! It was the job I had been working towards for TEN years. It was the lifestyle I envisioned and planned out thoroughly since before I graduated high school. It was everything I had always wanted, but it turned out to be one of the hardest years of my life.
I dug deep into my work and as a result I became isolated and severely depressed. I began to miss the mundane “How are you?” greetings. I deeply wanted someone, anyone, to ask about me and my life. I yearned for chatter, for pointless conversations, even to be annoyed! I never thought in my life I’d ever want to deal with annoyance, but I was welcoming it because ANYTHING would be better than NOTHING. My life consisted of waking up, going straight into my home office to work wearing clothes from the day before, cleaning and going to bed. Day after day after day. I felt like a cog in a machine. I felt like I didn’t belong to the world. I felt lost and empty. Unbelievably empty. I felt like I had no purpose, and like I wasn’t making any kind of impact in the world.
In December, I hit the lowest of lows. Basically the basement of rock bottom. Physically, mentally and emotionally I had fallen apart. I think that’s all I really have to say to help you understand why my heart broke last week. I knew people were going to be introduced to these feelings, some for the very first time. On top of losing their jobs, paychecks, social plans and lifestyle, a lot of people were about to experience isolation and the dozens of affects it has on us mentally and physically.
Since I’ve gotten out of my funk, and have learned how to stay happy & healthy while living an isolated lifestyle, I thought it was important to share with you all. These can be applied during this quarantine, if you normally work from home, if you’re a stay at home mom, etc.
So what can you do?
Routine, routine, routine. When I became full time, I didn’t understand the importance of routine. I was working and living chaotically, with no direction or game plan. I’ve learned to create structure in my life so I can feel in control and more clear headed. Now, I’m not talking about having to set an alarm for 5AM and having your day mapped out hour by hour - unless if you think that will help you. But normalcy in an abnormal life is important. Your routine will be totally up to you and your lifestyle. Did you use to wake up, make breakfast and sip your coffee before work? Did you use to work out in the evenings? Keep doing that. This will make it easier on you to get back into the swing of things when we all go back to work and resume our normal lives.
Get up & get ready. I was so excited to work in my PJs - or pantsless - all day every day. Waking up early to do my hair & makeup and frantically drive to work was a daunting chore and I felt like life would be better if I didn’t have to do that. But I was wrong. So wrong. It turns out, having that routine is important. Laying around in sweatpants, unwashed hair, and no makeup really took a hit on my confidence. I felt disgusting, dirty, unworthy, miserable. So now, part of my routine is waking up, taking a shower, putting on NORMAL clothes, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, putting lotion on…. all the things I typically would do to get ready for a work day. Some days I do light makeup to take it one step further. I know it is so tempting to not do these things, and you may think “well, I have no one to impress right now and I’m just stuck at home, so do I really need to do all of that?”. The answer is yes - you need to do this. You will feel much better about yourself.
Do things for yourself. Right now, we have all the time in the world to do whatever we want (inside our homes!) so I don’t think this will be a hard, but now is the perfect time to start setting up these habits so when things do go back to normal, it’s easy to keep it going. This can also come in handy for SAHM’S or those that normally work from home. A lot of the time we get so wrapped up in life, in taking care of others & our homes, working, doing the basic necessities that we often put ourselves on the back burner. This leads to burn out, feeling worthless, feeling like we don’t have a purpose in life. It’s so important to set aside some time - whether it’s 15 minutes or 2 hours - every single day to do something we enjoy and makes our individual souls happy. It could be taking a hot bath in the morning before everyone wakes up, or working out regularly, or get back into cooking your favorite elaborate dishes. It could be painting your nails, or reading a book, or writing poetry. Whatever it is that makes your soul smile - do it. Do it without feeling guilty or selfish. This is self care and self care if never selfish.
Call people. Hearing people’s voices is so much better than an impersonal text. Get on the phone and talk, even if it’s for 10 minutes. This will help you feel more connected.
Eat healthy. I know right now we are stressed, locked up in our houses and bored out of our minds. We turn to our comfort food and mindlessly eat. I’m not saying you should put yourself on a diet - absolutely not. But eating healthy foods full of nutrients that fuel our body and mind is essential. I used to be a sugar addict. I’m talking sugar from the time I woke up until I went to sleep. Hundreds and hundreds of grams of sugar and carbs a day. And in turn, I battled depression, anxiety, rollercoaster mood swings, PMS, acne, fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, month long headaches, heart palpitations…. you name it. I know it is so tempting to eat all of our quarantine snacks right now. I know it seems like the comfort food will comfort us. But it doesn’t. In the end, the food we eat dictates how we feel, think and behave. The food we eat can make or break us. Your body and mind need healthy whole foods every day, but more so when life is stressful.
Pick up a hobby. And no, that doesn’t mean scrolling social media *cough cough, Me.*
Don’t put things off. Do the chores or tasks that you’ve been procrastinating. You’ll feel much better.
These are just a few things, but they’re BIG. These are the things I did to get out of my rut and love life and myself again. I know some of these aren’t fun, or relaxing, or desirable, but they’re important. They’re important now, and they’re important in the future when life goes back to normal. It’s essential to take care of yourself and your soul.
If anyone needs more advice or just someone to talk to during this quarantine, please reach out to me directly or feel free to share in our Facebook Group! Remember, we are all in this together and you are never alone.
Stay healthy, happy & confident!