Some of y’all love to be home. This is your time to shine.
But for some of us? This is a time of severe spiraling. Personally, I like to keep busy. If I can get us out of the house six days a week, that’s just about perfect for me. I love my kids, but I don’t do my best parenting when trapped in our home with no break, no distractions, no sunshine (STOP RAINING, NASHVILLE. FOR THE LOVE! RESPECT THE SOCIAL DISTANCING EFFORTS AND REWARD US WITH SOME SUNSHINE. I DID NOT STOCK UP ON ENOUGH VITAMIN D FOR THIS.) Excuse the outburst. I told you I’m spiraling over here.
So what do we do when we have the quarantine blues? Hint: it isn’t suddenly run out of Doritos and make an emergency solo trip to Kroger. I’m no expert, but here are some things I use regularly to help break out of a funk:
Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. (Thanks, Legally Blonde!) But really, do some yoga or stream a cardio class on YouTube. Do Zumba. Jump rope. Pretend you’re battling coronavirus with fierce kickboxing moves. Get your heart rate up for a solid twenty minutes. Break a sweat. Hydrate. And then feel those sweet, sweet endorphins do their work.
Plan your day around fresh air. If it’s supposed to rain all day, but suddenly there’s a fifteen minute break in the clouds? Oh, we’re going outside, babies. Get those shoes on. Weather just isn’t cooperating? Open a window. A little drizzle never hurt anybody, and even that jolt of a chilly breeze tinged with the hint of fresh rain can help shake things up.
No News is Good News
Turn off the CNN and Facebook, and turn on a cheesy romantic comedy or guilty pleasure reality tv. Bad news will still be there tomorrow. It can wait. When the darkness of the world comes flooding in and threatens to drown your sense of joy and hope, turn off the tap.
Read a Book
I know some people don’t like reading. But in the spirit of positivity, I like to pretend that’s not true. Reading is glorious. Read something you love. Read something new. Read something unexpected. Read the Bible (I like Psalms for anxious times). Read your partner’s favorite book. Read that book you skipped in high school English but you’ve always heard was a classic. Download Libby, and use your local library’s digital offerings to read until your eyes blur, and you don’t remember how many quarantine days are left. (Good news is that our LOVELY public library just bought THREE THOUSAND additional e-books for us. Feel that Nashville love!)
Hey, guess what?! Ain’t nobody coming to your house. Sit down and enjoy yourself. Run out of laundry? Oh well. You’re not going anywhere anyway. Dishes in the sink? I mean, don’t create your own new epidemic in your kitchen, but pass the chore off to someone else in the family or just do what you can for ten minutes—and then call it a day. Don’t feel like cooking anymore? Congrats, family! It’s fend for yourself night. You can eat cereal or a pb&j or six mini Rice Krispies treats and a string cheese if you want. Mama is off the clock.
My husband will often casually ask, “Need anything?” And usually I say no because I figure it’s not worth him stopping what he’s doing to come help me. But today, I said no and walked away and then realized that I was feeling bitter about it. So I turned around and said, “Actually, here’s a way you could help,” and let him know what I was feeling and what I needed. When you’re sharing the same space constantly with no firm idea of an end, you’ve got to communicate before you implode. Even your favorite people will get on your nerves. Sometimes you just need space. Sometimes you need help. Sometimes things are perfectly fine, and you can simply express appreciation. Either way? Communicate.
Cry It Out
When all else fails, I stay up an hour later than everyone else. And when I know for sure they’re all asleep, I have a good cry. And when I’m done, I can think a little more clearly again. I can breathe a little more deeply. It’s like a reset button for your emotional capacity. (Or like that button on the hair dryer plug that magically makes it start working again even though I honestly don’t know what that button does or why the hair dryer quit in the first place. Am I the only one??!) Lean into the good cry. A good cry can soften a bad day, and sleep and time may fix the rest.