By show of hands, who here feels like they're slowly going nuts sitting in the house all day, everyday? You? You? I think I see a few hands in the back. I can confidently say that, at least, 80 percent of people I know are just about ready to lose their minds. At this point, we just want to go outside. I found myself looking outside of the window in my boyfriend's apartment for the fourth time today and constructing a fictional narrative for everyone on the block. I may have created a show better than Courtney Kemp's Power in my mind, but boredom strikes creativity. Actually, it's not boredom, it's angst. I'm envious that certain people in the world don't care enough about their own health to stay inside per the orders of the local police, the government and the president of the United States.
For those of us who are trying to take this quarantine thing "day-by-day" and staying our asses indoors, I've got just the thing for you. I spoke with entrepreneurs, mental health professionals and medical experts about combating anxiety and stress during COVID-19.
In a world where we're feeling out of control, what are some ways people can feel more in control?
Step Up Your Self-Care Game:
Kelley Green, International Yoga Instructor & Self-Love Enthusiast
"Journal your thoughts, speak to someone you trust like a therapist or life coach, calm your body's response to stress with breath-work, yoga, or meditation, and/or form new mental shifts that lead to you having a more positive outlook on life, like practicing gratitude."
Sit Close To The Window While You Work:
Yasmine Jameelah, CEO & Founder of Transparent Black Girl
"Studies show that decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in serotonin levels, which can lead to depression. When my face hits the sun as I work, it makes me feel like I'm still connected to the world. Also, create a bomb playlist to work to that soothes you - Solange, Amerie, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and Lucky Daye are in heavy rotation for me right now."
Log Off Or Turn Off The Information:
Joi Britt, Podcast Host, The Joi of Social Work
"It is important to be informed but there is something about too much information that can make you anxious or fearful of honestly something we cannot control. When we are thinking about the lack of control that we have, it is also important to remember there are things in life we still can control and that might not have changed as drastically."
Remember You Have Full Control Over Your Internal Space:
Erica James-Strayhorn, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner of Erica James Counseling, LLC
"You can remind yourself [that you have full control of your internal space] by reciting affirmations or mantras. This is also a great time to maybe redecorate or re-arrange furniture in your home. Also, maybe letting go of items that no longer serve you."
Focus On Getting Grounded & Centered:
Eliza Boquin, MA, LMFT, Co-Founder of Melanin & Mental Health, LLC
"It's easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. This is the perfect time to focus on activities centered around regulating what is happening in your body. Start with moving your body--walk, a jog, dance. Moving your body is an excellent way to move emotions out of your body, boost your mood, and regulate your nervous system."
Writing Your Thoughts Down:
Jay Blessed, Podcaster, “IN MY HEAD” & Mental Health Advocate
"I started a #QuarantineWriting group on Instagram where I challenge my friends to 15 minutes of daily writing. Writing can be so cathartic during painful times but the therapeutic qualities of putting your thoughts down on paper or your phone's notepad are beyond valuable. This creative act has pushed me to address my emotions, to call it by name and to let them go."
Talk To Your Spirit/Higher Power:
Brianne Cash, Editor-in-Chief, Sad Girls Club + Sad Moms Club
"My meditations with Spirit have involved deeper, more intense conversation, fluid body movement and energy pulls; I listen with both my heart and ears open. We are all in an incubation period. We are all cocooning and as scary as times may seem right now, Spirit says not to worry-- a new world is on the way."
Continue Your Normal Routine:
Tiffany L. Mayers, MSW, LCSW, Mental Health Advocate & Clinician
"If you routinely work out at the gym, try working out at home or outside, if the weather permits. With anxiety, maintaining a sense of normalcy is very important. Loss of control can be a major trigger so you want to keep with a routine to help with reducing stress."
Stay In Gratitude:
Shevon Jones, MSW, Social Worker & Founder of the Mental Wellness Collective
"Gratitude interrupts anxiety. It allows for you to focus on all that you are grateful for and only that. So often we go through life aimlessly ignoring the things that feed us life and keep us going daily. In times of crisis it is important to focus on what you are grateful for. Each morning pick five things you are grateful for to set the tone for the day. And, every time you feel yourself getting anxious or overwhelmed, think back to what you are grateful for. It is hard to focus on negative thoughts and positive ones at the same time."
Camryn Triplett, Mental Health Advocate & Communications Manager, Silence The Shame
"With so much uncertainty around us, find comfort in controlling the things around you. Now is the time to reorganize your bathroom, closet, kitchen, etc."
Gain Control Of Your Sex Life:
Tatyannah King, Sex Blogger, Sex Therapist in Training
"For sex, despite social distancing, couples can still focus on more sexting and phone sex. They can text their partner re-describing their favorite sexual experience together or do a creative challenge in which they go back and forth, daring each other to pose a certain way in their nudes without repeating any ideas."
Featured image by Yasmine Jameelah