Everything is garbage and we all feel like crap.
Sorry! We’re supposed to be positive. Let me try that again.
Everything is garbage and we all feel like crap but there are MANY things to be grateful for. Netflix, Stan, Binge, Prime and Hulu. Ottolenghi and Ostro. Walking. So much walking. Zoom. Yay. Let’s have another book club, quiz night, Friday night work drinks via Zoom. It’s almost the same but actually it’s not at all. It sucks.
Okay, the positivity isn’t working so let’s just be realistic instead.
Taking care of your mental health has most likely taken a backseat to simple survival at the moment. Making it through each day whether you’re in lockdown or simply trying to social distance, is very much a one day at a time situation for almost everyone globally.
Honestly, I’ve had some rough patches in the past but I generally have decent mental health most of the time. This pandemic has knocked me for six because my usual tactics aren’t working as effectively as I’d like them to. They’re working and they’re very necessary but my magic combination of mental health tricks are keeping me in a low to neutral state when they usually have me on Cloud Nine. Eating my greens and getting my sweat on every day is hard work when I still feel like a sad sack at the end of every day but it’s better than letting everything fall to crap.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, here’s what I’ve been doing it to keep it chugging away at a low level. I hope it helps.
Yes! That old trope. Your gym may be closed or you may not be able to afford to go anymore that doesn’t mean you can’t get moving. Get outside every single day and go for a walk. I’m a daily exerciser and I’ve actually upped the exercise I’ve been doing – squeezing in extra walks and even going when it’s raining. I sleep better, I feel better and when I’m ten minutes into my walk I often forget how terrible everything is and I feel almost normal. Get moving. One thing I’ve been doing is free no-equipment workouts with my mate via Facetime. I Facetime her on my iPad, I run the workout on my phone and she copies me. Our 1-year-olds join in too and we usually do it twice it a week. It’s a fun and fitnessy way to start the day.
I’m not a huge user of therapy but I had a specific issue I needed help with last year so I went to a therapist and it was enormously helpful. Even just to have a third party person who isn’t emotionally invested in you to tell you your feelings and reactions are valid. Here are a few ways you can access counsellors and therapists in Australia and in the US.
Get outside every day
Incidental outside time is a thing of the past so you have to force yourself to get your Vitamin D. Eat lunch on your balcony, walk to the shops if you can, offer to take your neighbours’ dog for a walk. We’re all spending far too much time at home. If you couldn’t be bothered, that means you REALLY need to get outside. Take 10 minutes and read a book or a magazine on your front doorstep. Just spend a little bit of time away from your home office/lounge room.
Make friends with your postperson
Not literally. He/She doesn’t want you near them. I mean post things to people. In the last week, I’ve sent 2 x hand-knitted jumpers, a crochet baby blanket, a few books and some local honey to mates of mine. I won’t be seeing anyone I love for ages so popping a little something in the post for them is making me feel better. I’ve also received some lovely packages – a very excellent set of socks and some slippers and books for my kid. Little packages are really making my days right now. Both sending and receiving them.
Have Zoom dates
I know I metaphorically rolled my eyes at Zoom before but really, get on it. I’ve had a regular quiz night with friends and book club with my family for months and it’s been a huge help. I definitely want to reach through the screen and scoop my family into a giant hug and not let go for years but Zoom will do for now. We’ve been having regular Sunday night quiz with our mates for months (we had our 11th quiz last Sunday) and while it’s deeply depressing how many weeks we’ve been in lockdown it’s been a wonderful start to the week and something very excellent to look forward to each weekend. Here’s a quiz I wrote that you can use! It will be super fun, I promise.
Get the hell off social media
… and mute the news. Here’s what I’ve been doing to spend 62% less time on my phone. I’m basically off social media from Thursday night until Monday morning at the moment and it’s a very good thing. I don’t need to be seeing doom and gloom stories all weekend nor do I need to see people going on winery tours, travelling or (gasp!) hugging their families. What I need is to spend long sunny days gardening with my little family without my phone. Turning inward is helping me a lot right now.
One of our mates put together the funniest quiz ever a few weeks ago and it gave us life. We randomly burst out laughing for days afterwards just thinking about it, it was superb. It took a lot of time and effort but far out it was worth it. Try your hardest to get a good belly laugh in when you can. Rewatch Broad City. Call your funniest mate. Rewatch a YouTube video that makes you giggle. Incidental laughter isn’t happening much these days – take the time to seek it out.
Learn a new skill
I’m going to get laughed at for this but seriously knitting has saved me this lockdown. I’m a crocheter – I run a crochet school – but I can’t crochet without writing a pattern, tweaking it, thinking about turning it into a course so I turned to knitting as an escape. I’ve been calling it Misery Knitting and at least a dozen of my mates now have lovely Misery Knits in their wardrobe. Can I suggest learning to crochet? It’s easier than knitting (and I can say that now I can do both!) and it’s a marvellous way to keep your hands busy in the evenings.
That’s it! If you have anything you’ve been doing that’s been keeping your mental health in check, please let me know! We’re all in this together.
Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. I’ve started sending weekly newsletters again and they’re full of useful things and don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer if you fancy making all your Christmas presents this year.