Tips for staving off stress during an uncertain time…..and some fun stuff
As we carry out ‘physical distancing’ (we’d rather not call it ‘social distancing’), let’s try to practice psychological closeness by creating – across physical distances – shared experiences with family and friends. (h/t Jamil Zaki)
“Several of you mentioned the soothing effect of listening to podcasts. Audio news and storytelling has become a commuting fixture for many of us, so it makes sense to incorporate them into your WFH (work from home) day. M.C. says she’s created some stability to her routine by “still listening to the same podcasts I usually listen to during my commute as I get ready [in the morning].”
Not surprisingly, working in some type of physical activity, meditation (more about meditation from Sheri), or breathwork is another theme that came up again and again. L.P. told us that she’s started tuning in to streaming live classes being offered by her regular yoga studio. “They also have an online subscription with pre recorded videos but there’s something comforting about knowing several yogis are tuning in to practice at the same time – it makes me feel less isolated,” she says. For those who don’t have a livestream of choice, K.W. recommends an app called Downdog for unique yoga routines. (Lynn’s yoga studio is offering online classes here.)
If you can exercise outdoors, the sunlight and fresh air will also help. But even opening the windows of your home or apartment can provide a boost, says M.P.: “When we both start up work in the AM, we leave 3-4 windows open for at least 30 minutes. It helps our apartment feel fresh.” (Experts say it’s ok to take a walk outside now.)
Writing in from Milan, where she’s on her second week of quarantine, S.W. recommends setting your phone to ‘do not disturb’ when you can. “Whenever I need a break from news, texts, insta messages, or calls, whether I’m cooking, working out, (trying to) meditate, DND is very helpful. Being inundated with news and constantly having the same ‘how are you’ conversation can be draining. DND FTW.”
Another tip came from M.C., who is keeping a “gratitude journal.” She says: “It can be so easy to get overwhelmed and upset with all the negative news we’re constantly flooded with. A few highlights: 1) being able to be with family during this time, and 2) technology that makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family. My friends and I even made a list over a text chain yesterday of all the restaurants, bars, and events we are looking forward to going back to once all of this craziness is over! Gives us something to look forward to.” (More from Sheri on gratitude.)
Our readers from digital self-care startup Shine pointed out that the company has partnered with Mental Health America to create a whole mini-site dedicated to helping people manage their COVID-19-related anxiety. Check it out here. (More here too.)
E.H., from rural Washington State, has taken FaceTimes with friends to a new level. “I have thrown myself into organizing fun events for my co-workers and friends via video calls. We’ve done several ‘show and tell’ sessions, some meetings to help figure out what’s for dinner and we’re doing a virtual scavenger hunt next week. For my friends, I’m setting up a virtual book club with video call discussions later this month.” She’s also gotten into computer games: “The virtual reality provides a portal away from my reality. A grown adult buying up expansion packs and reading cheats for Sims 4? Why not.
T.C.B. says she’s hooked on Bon Appetit’s Gourmet Makes with Claire Saffitz. “Every single video is just a pleasure to watch. They are wholesome and put a smile on my face—every time. I especially love her recent one where she is recreating the famous Girl Scout cookies.”
Please take care of yourselves, your friends and family, and the community around you. We will be in touch again next week.