Before Ms. Rona came to town I had been contemplating taking a much needed spiritual and mental retreat away from LA, to my parent’s country lakeside home to clear my head and simply get my life together. I didn’t know how this would work without leaving my job, until the height of the pandemic when I was granted with the temporary opportunity to work from home. Mentally I knew I wasn’t where I should be and all aspects of my life were suffering because of it. I felt like a dark cloud was surrounding me and nothing I tried to manifest was able to come to fruition. I simply wasn’t myself and the best solution I could come up with was to buy myself a surprisingly cheap first class flight, courtesy of my dad’s credit card that I’ve since been cut off from – take full advantage of the unlimited drinks on the flight and retreat to my parent’s home to find clarity, answers, myself perhaps.
While I’m still here and still working on getting my mind, my thoughts, my life in order, the following things have been helping me tremedously, perhaps they will help you as well.
1.Make your space your own
The very first thing I did before I even arrived, was had things delivered from Amazon that I knew would help me make my temporary room my own. I turned an empty walk in closet into my office for work. I bought a super calming and creative incense holder, scented candles, a throw blanket, plants, plant holders and roses. I love seeing fresh plants in my home so it was important to me that I had that. I completely revamped the room and made it my own. My parent’s had a ton of random paintings in their basement so I found one that spoke to me the most, and hung it up. If you’re in your own home but it doesn’t feel like you, add some pieces that make you feel happy. If it’s as simple as putting up a picture of a time you were your happiest, do that. If it means deep cleaning and finding some decorative items you have’t seen in years, dust them off and put them up. With us having to spend so much time inside it’s important that the things you are viewing every day bring you joy. Clean your space and purchase or put up things that bring you happiness.
2.Get some vitamin D
Not that kind…well that may also help but I’m talking about from the sun, not someone’s son. While it is recommended that we stay inside as much as possible, it is still important that we spend some time in the sun. Spending at least 15 minutes in the sun can help boost Vitamin D and can also help with seasonal depression. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to take walks to the lake or view it from my parent’s balcony every morning, which is a huge upgrade from my view of a nursing home and the occasional prostitute across the street in LA. Whatever your view may be, try to get a bit of sunlight every day as much as possible.
In the words of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” In other words, work out ya’ll, it will make you happy. While I’m not always the best at maintaining a fitness routine, I do find that when I take the time to get some form of exercise in, I feel so much better mentally and physically. Dance, do yoga, do a zoom workout with friends, watch exercising videos on youtube, walk up and down your stairs, twerk on a handstand, whatever it is that you need to do to burn some calories while having a good time, do it. Exercising is a great way to fight depression while shedding the quarantine 15. Most of the stores that are still open have been sold out of exercising equipment each time I went, so I was able to find this on amazon.
4. Have Zoom meetings with friends
Since being on lock down I’ve co-hosted a zoom birthday party for my older brother along with my sisters and parents, and had two girls nights with two separate groups of friends and all three made me so happy, it really felt like we were all just hanging out like normal. Zoom is a great way to keep in contact with friends and family and you can make it fun by changing your background so virtually you can literally be wherever you choose. Try to schedule a time that works with your friends and fam and simply check in, laugh and let loose for awhile.
5. Work on your craft
I saw a quote along the lines of, as hard as it may be sometimes, you will never feel guilty for writing. As a writer, I was able to relate to this on a spiritual level. Writing is literally the only thing I never feel guilty about doing with my time because not only is it my craft and my job, it’s largely a part of how I identify myself in this world. Writing is not a hobby for me, it’s literally who I am. Whatever it is that lights your soul on fire, replace writing with that. Take time doing what moves you, what you love, what wakes you up in the morning. I feel so guilty sometimes when I spend too much time watching tv, scrolling aimlessly on social media, taking naps, all the things that may bring temporary joy or maybe just fill the void of whatever it is that we are going through, but when you take the time to focus on what really drives you, you feel a sense of pride and reward when you get done working on it. Start implementing whatever your niche is into your daily routine.
6.Try your hand at some DIY projects
Since being quarantined i’ve picked up painting, making waist beads and fully intended on trying my hand at making purses but accidentally got all of my purse making equipment I splurged on, on Amazon get delivered to LA instead of here, so there goes that. DIY projects are a fun way to explore your creative side and take your mind off less depressing things going on in the world, like the quarantine life that is our new normal.
7. Change your diet
I’m not going to lie, when I was in LA, I spent over $100 in one day on uber eats. Granted, it was for me and my spouse, but still…still. Ok, I actually was doing this almost every day, not the $100 part but eating uber eats at least once a day, which is so sad cause I actually know how to cook, I was just being lazy and it was convenient, especially with stores being sold out of a lot of food. One thing I did find interesting is that while processed foods and meats were typically sold out, fruits and vegetables were well stocked. I personally feel so much lighter, happier and less moody when I eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables. When I eat more fast food or heavier food I tend to be drowsy and fatigued more frequently, sluggish, and just have an overall more down outlook on life. Try to cut back on fast foods, and eat a lighter, healthier diet to avoid the quarantine 15 and cut back on the risk of getting sick or worsening your health. In addition to eating healthy, vitamin C has been said to help strengthen the immune system, so stock up on as much fruits and vegetables that has vitamin C that you can.
8.Don’t pressure yourself
I kept seeing a super annoying quote about how if you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill or business, the problem was never that you lacked time, it was you. First off all, shut the hell up. Second of all no offense to the person who came up with that quote but still, I said what I said. I touched on this on my ig, but i’ll reiterate it here. We live in such a go-getter, hustler, sleep when I die, society that we can’t even take a breather while going through a pandemic. It’s ok to be unsure, it’s ok to go through your emotions, it’s ok to take a damn nap and not be worried about starting a damn business. People literally are dying every single day in our jobs, our families, our friend groups. People are trying to figure out how to eat while paying bills and making sure their children are educated. Being home from work, if you even have that luxury does not necessarily equate to more time. Don’t add on to societal pressure by placing more pressure on yourself than you have to. If you wake up one morning with a grand idea to start a business, more power to you. But do not beat yourself up over not turning this tragedy into an extra stream of income.
9.Read a good book
I’ve been reading and re-reading some amazing books lately. I’ve read 11 minutes by Paulo Coelho, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz, Think and Grow Rich By Napoleon Hill and have a few more i’ll be re-reading while I’m here. For me reading is an escape. It’s a great way for me to clear my head and simply focus on the words that are in front of me. I enjoy books that I can also learn from or offer some form of enlightenment. If you aren’t a fan of physical books as I am, try kindle or audio books.
10.Meditation and prayer
Meditation and prayer are great ways to overcome depression. Sketch out 5 to 10 minutes a day to be alone and pray, meditate or both. Before you begin have something in mind that you want to focus on so your thoughts can be more concentrated. If you simply want to thank God than do that. If there is something you want to ask for, have that in your mind before you begin. Meditation journals also work really well and help guide your meditating process. If you simply just want to be alone in your thoughts then make sure your space is a peaceful one free of distractions.
While depression can come and go, it’s easy to fall victim to it when the world is also going through a crisis and life as you know it is changing. Try to place your focus on you and getting through each day by incorporating these tips. If your depression doesn’t seem to change or you have thoughts of suicide be sure to contact a suicide hotline or professional.
Love & light