With everything going on in the world right now, I find myself more stressed than usual. I’m not as joyful as I used to be. I miss my friends, I miss going out, I miss feeling safe in public places, don’t you? How have you been coping with stress? Have you found ways to find joy? Have you been able to find a safe space where you can relax? I’ve tried a few things and found that there are some activities that help me find my calm, and if you’re reading this, you might find some comfort doing these, too.
Creating a separate workspace
With the work from home setup becoming the new norm for all of us, I’ve found it hard to separate work from play. My work hours bleed into the hours I would have taken for myself at the end of the day. Creating a space that is exclusively meant for me to work in has helped me mentally. I know that not everyone has space, but even just a computer tray being tucked away when the workday is over helps you separate yourself from work. Also, you could make it a little side project in your free time, decorating that workspace. If you want to go for a change that won’t eat up space but has great visual impact, creating an accent wall with beautiful wallpaper is an easy DIY! The Snapdragon Wallpaper is busy, but not distracting, and the color scheme could easily fit in any home.
Make a to-do list
Making a list of things to do for the day has given me a mood boost! Every little thing I can tick off the list I have in my planner makes me feel more accomplished even if that task was just ‘Brush your teeth’. I’ve found celebrating the little things I’ve done in the day gives me something to look forward to throughout my day. It’s such a rare thing now, celebrating little victories. Jotting things down on your Forget-Me-Not Meeting journal or other designs, and checking them off in quick succession is delightful. Tell me honestly, when was the last time you celebrated yourself? Don’t you think it’s time to start?
Put aside time for yourself
How many video calls do you attend in a day? Are you constantly surrounded by family? The love is great, but sometimes you just need time for yourself, and you have to put aside that time for yourself. Whether you use that time to pamper yourself, drum up new ideas in your Ideas Journal, meditate, or just curl up on the couch and read. Take time to enjoy a quiet safe space - you deserve it.
Before this entire lockdown started, how many times did you deny yourself that milk tea? Pushed yourself to work or workout instead of sleeping in? Decide to have yogurt instead of that full fat, creamy scoop of ice cream? If we’ve all learned anything, it’s that anything can happen. So those starlights you’ve been wanting to get for your bedroom? Get them. Indulging ourselves in things that make us happy is a good thing and not something we should feel bad about. Find things that you enjoy and bask in the delight you experience.
Revamp your space!
Early in the lockdown, we were told to take a tour of our own homes, and by this point, I’m sure we’ve discovered every crack, crevice, and creaky step. So maybe it’s time for us to change it up a bit? It doesn’t have to be a construction change. Maybe rearranging your furniture so that it works better for how you now use your space? Adding a few throw pillows that bring in the tropical vibe, like this one.
Have you ever bought a 1000-piece puzzle only to store it and forget about it? I know I have. I recently found a gigantic puzzle I purchased a couple of years ago and never got around to doing. I spend a few minutes on it a day, slowly chipping away at it. It helps me sort out my head, like I sort out the pieces. Corner pieces here, blues here, browns here. It helps me regain some kind of control in a situation none of us really have any control over. Have you found anything that helps empower you? The feeling of finishing a puzzle, a sudoku grid, a crossword, a Rubik’s cube! You would have worked out your brain, and helped yourself get through a moment of depression or stress.
Discover your passion
With the busy lives we’ve led, we’ve forgotten that doing things that make us happy is a good thing. It’s time to find that passion again. We have more time now. The time we used to commute to and from places is time we can spend doing things that make us enjoy life more! Tell me if it’s just me, but I love cooking. But I’ve found that I stopped cooking for enjoyment, and more just so I could eat. Lately, I’ve gone back to cooking leisurely. Eating leisurely, too. Don’t you think that the food you cook when you’re calm and relaxed leads to a more enjoyable meal? I’ve even started experimenting again and writing down my new recipes in the Quest Journal. I’ve discovered that I like drawing the food too. So at the bottom of my new recipe, I’ll draw what it looks like, sometimes color it in with colored pencils. Or if I’m really ambitious, watercolor. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot draw to save my life, but it’s something I enjoy. Have you discovered, or rediscovered, your passions?
Learn new things
There is so much information available on the internet. We have the opportunity to learn new things from people in our industry, from professionals in any field. Some classes you may have to pay for, but so many classes are being given out for free! You can choose to learn how to do origami! Have you wanted to further your knowledge to advance in your career? You can find programs on the internet. Do you badly need a haircut, but are wary of going to the hairdresser? You can learn to do it yourself! If you’ve ever wanted to learn to do the splits, there are tutorial videos on those too. Have any of you secretly dreamt of being an amazing bartender, or at least a master at a couple of cocktails? So many articles and demonstrations are available online! Take notes, make notes, fill up your old notebooks with new knowledge, and your new notebooks with even more. There are so many new things we can learn if we wanted, and the time feels right.
Go cuddle with your parents, your partner, your kid, your pet, a pillow. Are you a cuddler? If you’re quarantined with someone, go cuddle! It has helped me push away thoughts that worry me. Being actively surrounded by comfort is a good thing for the heart and the head. If you’re not a cuddler, maybe hold hands instead. Or sit with someone and enjoy their company. Revel in being loved and cared for. It’s such a simple underrated thing. In turn, remind someone they’re loved and cared for. Send a gift basket. Or send a letter! An It’s Okay to Not Be Okay postcard sent through post is a great thing. You can even send them to yourself, with a letter reminding yourself that you are loved and there are better days ahead.
Do a social media cleanse
How long do you spend staring at the screen? Sure, sometimes it’s for work, but most of the time, we’re going through Facebook, Instagram, or even Twitter. Sometimes it’s fun and makes you happy, seeing your loved ones are safe, seeing 10-sec videos about the kindness of humanity. But sometimes it’s news about sad things, angry rants, more problems happening. Shut it off. A month. A week. A day. Half a day. Any time you can afford to distance yourself from social media is a good thing. Go spend that time you would have used staring at the screen to decorate your planner with stickers or maybe dance around like nobody’s watching. Not only will the time away from those apps and sites give you more time for yourself, but you stop comparing your life long enough to enjoy it.
Cry your heart out
Have you cried recently? Have you let your emotions out in a way that has brought you utter relief? It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not be okay. We all need a good cry every now and then, and I think now, more than ever, we deserve it. Cry because you’re overwhelmed. Cry because you’re worried about your safety, your family’s, your friends’. Cry because this pandemic came out of nowhere and has thrown the whole world off. You can cry because you’re bored, frustrated, or scared. Most importantly, don’t forget to write down your feelings in a notebook or journal. Cry. It’s okay.
Know that it's okay to be happy
With everything going on, sometimes I’ve felt guilty whenever I feel too happy. Have you experienced that? I’ve had to remind myself that my happiness does not mean I am not aware, empathetic, or nonchalant about the situation of the world around me. Despite everything, I try to find happiness in the little things such as this beauty Leafy Jungle Wallpaper. It’s okay for you to be happy.