I thought I wasn’t the type to lean on people, but I found myself reeling when that support was lifted.
We are not islands. Why rely on yourself when you can make other people responsible for your health and sanity? They are usually happy to help.
Here is how I’m regaining my balance.
Old habit: running with a friend
New habit: scheduling remote exercise with a friend
I am not especially reliable, especially where exercise is concerned. Having made a promise to a friend is one of the few things that get me out there and moving, and I’m always glad when I have done it.
When isolation began, I really foundered in this area. I was afraid to go outside, I was too depressed to get moving. Exercise videos on youtube were a lifesaver. Doing a video alone is painful and grating and you’re relieved to be done. Doing them with somebody else on videochat makes it hilarious, and you want to do more.
Now I’m pushing my friends to schedule exercise time with me. It’s good for them too, they love it, I’m sure they’re very grateful (heh). Even just going for a run while keeping the phone to my ear and talking to somebody else running, is oddly comforting and connecting. We could both enjoy the beautiful things we saw outside, and describe them to each other. Proximity being no object, I can now run with a friend who lives in Kansas City who I rarely get to see. I have a feeling I’m going to keep doing this even after lockdown is lifted. I have more workout companions than ever!
Old habit: making cookies with my sister
New habit: making cookies with my siblings over Facetime
It’s nice, because more of my siblings can get involved this way. It’s fun to just set your phone on the countertop and get out your ingredients, compare recipes, show off your freshly baked cookies, eat them together.
Old habit: walking to a cafe and getting a treat
New habit: making myself a special beverage
It’s just as gratifying to sit down with your own cold-brew coffee or iced chai latte. There’s a little work involved, but think of the preparation time as a luxury. You don’t get annoyed at the work involved in drawing a bath and lighting up candles, do you?
Old habit: brush then floss
New habit: floss then brush
Yeah, this has no bearing on the topic. It’s just something that I learned. Apparently, if you floss BEFORE you brush, then the gaps are opened up between your teeth, and the fluoride from the toothpaste can get in there and work its magic. This assertion is still being personally tested by me, but it makes sense. Once upon a time, I didn’t believe in fluoride, and my teeth rotted. Now I believe in fluoride. I pray to fluoride every night, I perform the fluoride ritual, and it answers my prayers. In fluoride there is strength.
Old habit: eat all the bananas as fast as possible
New habit: once they are at perfect ripeness, bananas can go in the fridge
Yes, 80% of my coping habits are food-centric. Hush.
Old habit: spending an entire Sunday with my sister and her family
New habit: calling somebody at least every other day
In order to get the same quantity of people-hours into my week, this is necessary. If I skip too many days in a row, I find myself drifting.
Old habit: when the walls are closing in on me, get out of the house
New habit: turn into the woman from “The Yellow Wallpaper”
There is a squirrel in the walls. I have been battling it for months but I’ve been driven to new levels of insanity by its scrabbling and nibbling right above my head. If you see a crazy lady in pajamas stalking her roof with a knife, look away.
Headphones help. Fantasizing squirrel murder helps. These are not healthy strategies. I’m still working on this one.