Got The Social-Distancing Blues? Here are 10 Simple Ways to Care For Yourself during these unexpected times.
Welcome back, Mamas. Gosh…more than 3 weeks under this lockdown madness has me feeling some Social Distancing Blues. It kinda crept up out of nowhere. For 23 days I was positive, enthusiastic, ready to help, smiling and waving at all the faraway people walking past my tiny balcony, and even filling my feeds with blog posts, stories and all of the ideas to make it through.
But I forgot something pretty big; isolation, even when surrounded by your loved ones, is isolation.
So many feelings can come up during this time. While I hope, with all of my heart, that most of us will choose to see the positive and use this time wisely, slowly, and with intention, we are also human beings and feel both darkness and lightness. Once the dust settles and we have all of our pantry items stocked up, the kid’s toys/schedules/who knows what all settled, the mismatched socks all matched, the walls all repainted, the spring cleaning all finished better than ever before…well…that’s when the loneliness can creep in.
Too often we fill our days with too much noise and distraction. It’s no wonder that, when the silence comes, we get scared. Maybe we get fearful and simply turn the noise back up again. But I don’t want us to do that anymore…it’s not healthy.
I want us to sit in the silence and work together.
So today, I’m here to suggest 10 amazingly simple things that you (and I) can do for after that dust settles. For those times when the bad thoughts can sink in deep and are hard to shake. For those times when you are sitting alone, in a quiet room, and have a choice to look through the lens with love or with fear.
Got the social distancing blues?
1. Understand who we are and why we feel this way.
One of the first things that I did today when I felt the blues coming on hard was to sit and let it happen. I acknowledged the feelings, I let them flow over me, and I took the time to truly accept these feelings. So often we try to push aside the “bad” and jump right into the “good”, but I want to ask you not to do this. Instead, understand that these feelings are completely natural, normal, and healthy.
It’s important to understand the difference between healthy acknowledgment and unhealthy obsession. It is healthy to allow the feelings to pass over you and to honor them, but it is not healthy to obsess over the feelings and allow them to take over your conscience. I like to imagine that these feelings are passing over me like a big fluffy cloud and that with a few deep and long breaths, I can simply blow it away….slowly, with intention, and with love.
Once we can accept ourselves and our feelings, we can then begin to truly begin the journey to self-work. The journey that takes you deep inside of yourself and where fear, guilt, and shame do not reside.
2. Connect in a way that serves you
I believe that this number is crucial for my own well-being, and possibly yours as well. Finding ways to stay connected that serve you versus hinder you is absolutely crucial. So many of us run to social media to get this connection, but this might not be the best idea.
For my own truth, I had to sit down and truly acknowledge that the connection on social media, while beautiful in its own way, is not the connection that I yearn for in my heart. The connection that serves me is in paper to pad writing of letters, long e-mails to my closest friends, cuddles and hugs with my children and partner, with self-messages and care, and with much deeper and longer one-on-one conversations with my family and friends.
It’s very easy to get swept up in the world of social media. I urge you to really step back and ask yourself, “Is this really the connection that I yearn for?”. If not, then try to find it. Maybe writing letters to your loved ones or sending long and loving e-mails will serve you as well.
3. Jot it all down
Keeping a journal, a diary, a voice recorder, a sketch pad, nature journal, etc are all amazing ways to write love notes to yourself. Not too many of us think of it in this way, but why not? When I write a story, a poem, a caption, or even just a blog post, while there may be an audience attached, these words are really for my own self; for my own soul’s joy.
Right now, at this moment, the majority of us are under lockdown or quarantine. These are crazy times. What better time to begin jotting down how you feel, what is happening, and let all of your emotions come out onto paper? You might be shocked by what happens…I know I was!
Turn your Social Distancing Blues into poetry, song (I mean, we are already calling it the social distancing blues!), or even a painting. Let your creative energy flow.
4. Set a loose or tight schedule – and stick to it
Some of us work amazingly well with a schedule and some of us prefer to go with the flow. Whatever way you work, I want you to find a natural rhythm and honor yourself. Honor yourself enough to ask the questions and show up for yourself.
What makes you feel good in the morning? Truly. Is it waking up early or sleeping in? Drinking tea, water, a smoothie, or some coffee? What is your body telling you, can you hear her?
Do you or your family seem to feel extremely anxious at a certain time of day? Maybe a grounding exercise will benefit you during those peak hours.
Are you over or under sleeping? Observe your screen time activity, overuse of distractions, or any other ways that could be causing these issues (try your best not to blame everything on the kids here – I want you to be completely and utterly honest with yourself and your habits).
What emotions run the show in your daily life? Are they ones that you enjoy or would you rather let them pass by? Take note of these and practice deep morning and night breaths to help relieve yourself if needed.
If morning tea or coffee has become mundane and there is no magic in this anymore, try to enact a little self-love ceremony each time you prepare yourself your drink of choice. A simple palm over the cup before drinking and saying “Love lies here” and then taking a deep breath before taking your first sip. That could be all you need to turn your entire day around.
5. Touch Yourself
Haha, I am laughing before even going further into this because I imagine a bunch of you being like, wait…what did she just say? Oh no she didn’t!
But. I did.
Touching yourself doesn’t necessarily mean masturbation, but it sure does include that if you practice this way of self-love. Masturbation has been proven to increase self-love, self-awareness, and body acceptance, it instantly makes you happier, it can help with sleep issues, improves your sex life, releases all of that pent up sexual tension, relieves stress, and adds a little glow to your already beautiful face.
If you do not practice masturbation, then any self-touch will do! Perhaps a facial massage with your fingertips or a gua sha tool. Maybe a good old neck rub while you are seated in a comfortable chair or sitting on a yoga mat. Leg massages, foot massages, belly massages…it’s all good and it’s all such a big part of self-love and self-care. I love to use some sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil with a drop or two of my favorite essential oils.
6. Let go of the self-help and jump into another world
If you are anything like me, then there is a good chance that you have read your fair share of self-help books. How to be more this, how to let go of that, how to find the secret to happiness, how to yada bing bang bong and so forth. I’m pretty sure someone is currently writing a book on Social Distancing Blues right at this very moment haha. While I do find self-help books to be helpful in certain cases, there is nothing better for my heart and soul than finding a book that envelopes me in imagination, love, passion, nature and all the amazing characters.
I urge you to find this book. Find a book that, if you could, you would make your first wish to that genie in a bottle to jump right into that book. Find a book that makes you excited to wake up in the morning, before the kids, just to roll over and read a few more pages. To find the book that speaks to your soul and let it take you on an amazing adventure…that is truly powerful!
We all could use a bit more imagination in this world, don’t you think?
7. Manifest what it will all look like when it’s over
Number 7 really helped me turn my frown upside down today. I have been hearing “I can’t wait until this is all over so everything goes back to normal” a lot and, gosh, that’s the LAST thing that I want to happen.
Our entire planet is going through something HUGE right now. We have proven to each other and to ourselves that change can absolutely happen and that all of our dreams of saving our planet can actually come true.
It is happening right now, right at this moment.
I spent my meditation practice today (you can simply sit with your coffee and think about it!) manifesting the world after this crisis is over. Manifesting my dreams of a slower way of living, deeper connections, mindful consumerism, selfless acts, and so much more. My mind went wild. It was so inspiring and brought me right out of my blues.
We can fix this. Can you believe it?! We really can.
8. Open up your vocabulary and speak words of truth
Isolation can really weigh you down if your house is full of conflict. I have been practicing this vocabulary shift for quite a while now, after finishing a few classes by the amazing Caroline Myss, and it has proven to be life-altering in the most magical ways.
We can find ourselves speaking with words that do not serve us or those around us all throughout the day. Words that do not help, that do no heal, and that only bring up anger, fear, sadness, or even shame. I ask you to observe your vocabulary (remember to be as honest as you can be with yourself) and rewrite your future.
Jot the words down.
Write down the phrases that you find yourself using when you feel stressed, annoyed, or hurt. Now, next to (or under) those words/phrases, I want you to write down a new word or phrase that would work much better in that situation.
I’m going to be extremely honest with you all right now. I found myself constantly belittling Martin during times that I personally felt unloved or under-appreciated. I would use cruel and negative language that would only push him farther away from me. As I observed this, I was shocked to realize that I had been doing this for years and years with all of my past boyfriends. The hurt that I have caused by my own pain is truly unbelievable.
I spent quite a long time writing down my truths (a painful but worthwhile process) and rewriting my future.
Now when I feel unloved or under-appreciated, I simply state it. I’m a very simple woman and only a poet on paper. I simply say, “Martin, I feel unloved right now” and we go from there. Guess what? The truth works. Who would have thought!
9. Move your body
Before you just roll your eyes and scroll on past thinking I’m telling you to workout, calm down, I am not. (Please do if you want, but the gist is to just move your body).
Sway your hips to your favorite song as the coffee brews in the morning, take a deep and long stretch in the comfort of your own bed when you wake up in the morning, spin in circles in your living room with your kids until you get dizzy, see if you can still touch your toes, put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care…..it’s all good here.
One of the best things we can do while stuck at home is to simply keep our bodies moving. To walk around the apartment, get our blood pumping, and keep our mobility and flexibility in check. The less we move, the tighter we get.
The tighter we get, the less we want to move.
It’s a vicious cycle that I highly recommend staying far away from. When in doubt, just shake what your momma gave ya and watch as the Social Distancing Blues slowly drop off!
10. Learn to love the silent moments
Having the social-distancing blues does make sense when we think of how much time we spend in constant noise.
Typical modern schedule: Wake-up, check the phone. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Get up, turn on the music, brew something in the kitchen. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Eat food with a screen there to entertain. Bite, laugh, bite, scroll, bite….you get it.
It’s time that we honor the silence. I am still amazed (I speak as someone who is currently working on honoring the silence) at how afraid human beings are of silence in today’s world.
We are so used to all of the distractions and noise that silence is the scariest thing of all.
I want you to take the time to sit in silence. Listen to your heartbeat, your breathing, the sound of your home….it’s all magical. Begin to find magic in silence again and truly look forward to those moments when you can hear your heartbeat once again.
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