3 Ways to Keep You Sane During Quarantine

March 30, 2020

As we round out week 2 of the quarantine, I wanted to get some thoughts down to reflect on how life in Chicago has been. I’m used to working from home so my day to day isn’t radically different. Spending a lot of time at home is not something I really needed to adjust to. Still, the anxiety about situation the world is in is something that I need to adjust to and I’m actively finding methods to cope.

As news continues to develop around Covid-19, it is becoming more clear that the country will need to prepare themselves for more restrictions, which means more isolation. The uncertainty of knowing when work will start back up has been difficult for me, as it undoubtedly has been for millions of others. This is a trying time and I am seeking new ways to preserve my mental health. These are some easy activities to pass the time (and keep sane).

Be creative – I think this is most important. Since all my gigs in March and April have been postponed, I’m needing to find new ways to create art. I’ve discovered an app on the iPad called Procreate. Using this app and the Apple Pencil I can make digital paintings of scenic landscapes. I followed a few Bob Ross-style tutorials like this or this to learn the basics then began to do some on my own using a photo as reference. “Painting” on the iPad is incredibly satisfying with the Pencil able to simulate brush strokes with great accuracy. It is easy for me to get lost in a painting and before I know it, hours have passed by. I use the iPad Pro, but even the newest, cheapest iPad model now supports the Pencil. You don’t have to use an iPad though, the are a million ways to flex your creative muscles. You would be surprised what kind of art you can teach yourself using YouTube tutorials.

Exercise – A difficult adjustment during this time is not being able to go to the gym or run outside. Exercise has been a routine part of my life for many years and it has been an crucial balance to long hours of editing at the computer. I’m dedicated to not let exercise fall by the waist side during this time. I don’t have any weights at home so I’ve been resorting to routines using only body weight. I follow routines like this one and repeat them several times to get a good workout in. I like these exercises because I’m able to work up a sweat without disturbing the neighbors below in our apartment. 20-30 minutes is all you need to get the blood flowing and the heart rate up. It has been a great boost for me both mentally and physically. I usually finish a workout with another 20-30 minutes of yoga like this. Just like you can use YouTube for art tutorials, you can find thousands of various workout and yoga routines for any level. If you’re going to be using your phone, tablet, or computer, you might as well be using that technology to actively better yourself!

Meditate – I’ve been practicing meditation daily for a few years now, but since the quarantine has started, I’ve been doing even more. I typically start and end my day with it. There are a number of great apps out there to assist with this and there is no better time to start then now. I use an app called Insight Timer that is free. My suggestion is to start with guided meditation where a soothing voice helps regulate the breath. Start by aiming for 1 minute of focused, mindful breathing. It is not as easy as it sounds. It took me over a year to get to a point where I could meditate for 5, 10, 15 minutes at a time with little to no distraction. Headspace is another app that does a great job easing users into the process over the course of many days. I have reminders set on my phone to ensure that I practice daily to hold myself accountable. As I make an effort to exercise daily to preserve my well-being, I now incorporate meditation into that practice too. With uncertainty at an all-time high, I think it is more important than ever to try to take control of the negative thoughts. 

I hope this list helps you in some way. This virus may be wreaking havoc on our world right now, but that doesn’t mean you cannot take of yourself. You can still eat healthy, see and hear loved ones via video chat, exercise, flex new creative muscles, get plenty of sleep, and take care of your headspace. I certainly do not wish to come off as preachy, but I take solace in taking charge in these areas when so much of life is helplessly out of our control. I hope you and your family are safe during these difficult times. If you are reading this and you’re already a client of mine, feel free to reach out at any time for a chat!

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