On #saltycollective – we’re discussing a topic of Mental Health during this quarantine – Finding Excitement in the Mundane” by Stacey Lu
<<Cue: “Bored in the House” by Tyga & Curtis Road>>
Is this you? Are you struggling to keep yourself entertained and stimulated? Are you going stir-crazy and itching to leave the house? You’re not alone, but I’m here to tell you there is so much you can do to combat this boredom.
Perhaps you’re good for a few days and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. You go through these waves and rollercoasters of good days and bad days. But while we’re flattening the coronavirus curve, let’s also flatten those emotional ups and downs that we’ve been having!
What has not only been getting me through, but also thriving during these quarantined days, is that I finally have some semblance of a routine! It may not be the most glamorous, or even profound of routines and things I’m doing, but at least I’m filling my days up with things that are my constants.
To help your mental health, I believe the key here is to have one or more things to look forward to each day.
Here’s what a typical day in my life right now looks like:
9:30-10 AM I’m waking up naturally to my dog snuggling up against my body, and as my body starts stretching, his tail starts to wag and I know he’s happy to see me. As I give him compliments and and scratch his belly, we stay cuddled in bed for an hour or so, and I scroll through Instagram, check my messages, look at the funny memes my friends have tagged me in throughout the night. My sister shows me a funny anime clip and we sing K-Pop at the top of our lungs (mostly gibberish because we don’t know any of the lyrics).
11:30 AM My stomach starts growling and I perk up because it’s almost lunch time! I roll out of bed, throw the covers over my pillow (the extent of me making the bed) and splash some water on my face. I head to the kitchen and start preparing a meal that excites me with whatever is left in my fridge. Since we had just gone grocery shopping for the month, we’re pretty well stocked and fresh ingredients are always exciting! Today, we decide to do make our own pizzas, since she’s been craving it and we were able to score some refrigerated pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.
12-1PM We eat our individually designed pizzas and our dog sits between us on his own chair like a human. While I enjoy my delicious concoction, I edit the picture I snapped of our meal to post it to my Instagram stories. Posting my daily meals during quarantine has given me the drive to make my food aesthetically pleasing (hence, finding excitement in the mundane) as well as delicious, which brightens the mood and gives me something to be proud of and excited for every day! (#staceyeatsquarantine)
1:30PM We take a quick stroll to our living room, where we are planted for most of the day. My sister plays her app games on her phone and I start replying to messages and checking in on some friends. Today I called a friend who is struggling and offered some comforting words. It feels nice to speak to someone on the phone and know that you helped them in some way.
2:30PM I fire up my laptop and start up Sims 4. Lately, I have been obsessed with building houses and apartment buildings in my Sims world. This usually takes up hours of my day, and if I’m not careful, I tend to lose track of time and play the entire day.
5:00PM My sister reminds me that she’s hungry and we will venture back on over to the kitchen again to see what we can make for dinner. We’re feeling a bit lazy, and don’t want to make anything that takes too much time tonight. I look in the refrigerator and see that we have a whole container of spaghetti that we had precooked a couple days ago. I start taking out some frozen vegetables and mushrooms and various Chinese sauces that are staples in our kitchen. It’s chow mein for dinner; something that’s quick, simple and delicious, and makes for a crowd-pleasing Instagram story!
6:30PM After dinner, we do the dishes that accumulated throughout the day. Then I change out of my sweats into some shorts and a sports bra, because my virtual pole dancing work out class is starting on Zoom would be starting soon.
7:00PM I’m learning some new choreography with one of my favorite pole instructors from my studio. I see some of my friends in the class as well and it is so comforting to be among familiar faces. It feels good to move after being pretty stagnant all day sitting on my couch, and as I work up a sweat, I also take note that my body has lost a lot of muscle and strength during this time. For a second I feel frustrated, but I remind myself that this is all temporary and if I was able to be strong before, I can get there again. I will also remember to work on the newly learned choreography after the class is over and film myself. These videos help me see how much I’ve improved, and also to admire all that my body does and can do for me.
9:00PM I’m back on the couch with my sister and we catch up on a few episodes of the recent anime we’re watching. It’s gripping, and the last episode we watch ends in a cliffhanger as per usual, but we also like to keep a relatively early bedtime, so we turn off the TV and start getting ready for bed.
10:30PM I take my dog out for his pre-bedtime pee, and we all head to bed to wind down in preparation for a good night’s sleep. We discuss what we want to eat for lunch tomorrow, while I watch my friend’s nightly Twitch stream. As I drift off into dreamland, I’m pretty happy about my day and my small accomplishments, and I’m also looking forward to the day ahead when I get to make something tasty, Netflix party with friends in different time zones, and build another dream Sims home.
So as you can see the things I look forward to each day are pretty small and trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the small things that really matter. This perspective has helped my mental health immensely.
The things you might be glossing over, might be exactly what you need to focus on right now.
- What are you going to eat tomorrow? Make something that excites you! Or make it a challenge by throwing in a surprise ingredient and do your own at-home Chop’d challenge. Share your masterpiece with the world! (or just with your friends!)
- Start a new show in a genre you don’t normally watch, or stick to your tried and true. But try not to binge and blow through an entire show in one day. Turn off your tv shows at a cliffhanger episode so that you’ll be itching to watch it what happens the next day!
- Schedule a zoom party with some friends to catch up or have a game night! There are so many virtual group game options that are available, just google some! Or have a weekly Netflix party (plug-in on Chrome where you can watch and chat together) on Friday nights! We take turns picking out movies to watch together.
- Check if your yoga, pilates, or dance studio is offering virtual classes right now! Many are even doing free classes via Instagram or Facebook live regularly. It helps to see some familiar faces to motivate you – help your mental health by moving and you’ll definitely get some pep back in your step!
- Download and play Sims 4. It’s only $6 right now and you can play on your computer! (#definitelynotsponsored)
There are so many more little moments that you can look forward to enjoying in your days during quarantine. And bringing these moments with you into life after quarantine will help your mental health immensely as well! Once you start to bask in the glories of the mundane, you will find that you are hardly ever bored.
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