Today we're sharing the ways we're prioritizing our mental health while working from home as well as ways that we can help our community.
Painting. For me, this is a way to let go and process the day to day. It’s not always about the result but just the practice of putting brush to paper. Often I’ll paint something very simple, like stripes, as a way of unwinding.
Spring clean! I’m sure we’re all feeling that need to clean right now but it is amazing how decluttering can make your mind feel more at ease too.
Finding creative ways of using our space. Since we still live in a 1 bedroom with our now toddler daughter we have had to get creative. We recently moved our bed to the living room so she can have her own room (and we all can sleep better!). It’s actually amazing how our home feels more spacious. We’re planning next steps including a murphy bed and new window treatments.
Calls, facetime, and checking in. This is something I’ve heard many people doing now, but it is amazing how technology has changed our ability to connect with one another. Being able to see one another’s faces makes such a difference.
Sharing resources. As a small business owner, there’s a lot of fear and panic about what lies ahead. I’m thankful to be a part of a supportive community here in NYC and we’re all sharing resources we find to navigate this uncertain time.
Giving Back. Most of all, I feel so fortunate to be in a stable position. We’re going to be making a donation to the Food Bank for NYC to help support our local community.
Listening to records. Unplugging from technology is challenging when working from home and trying to stay informed with constant news updates, but putting on a classic record is a nice way to relax without constantly fiddling with my phone. I've been listening to a lot of classic soul and jazz, which feels particularly soothing.
Fresh flowers and plants. Having things that are green and alive in my apartment make really changes the energy of the space, and make it feel easier to limit my time spent outside.
Practicing gratitude. This is something I try to incorporate into my daily life, but it feels particularly important right now. Actively listing the things in my life I am grateful for help to put my feelings of stress and anxiety into perspective.
Reaching out. Connecting with friends, family, and community feels especially important in this time of social distancing. Reach out to check in on people and see how you can be of service, even if it isn't physical.
Spend money locally. So many small local businesses are being severely impacted by closures. If at all possible, choose to spend your money locally - whether it is buying food from the local market, ordering takeout from a neighborhood restaurant, or buying a gift card to your favorite small shop.
Work Warm Up/Shut Down Ritual. When working from home, it can be harder to shift into work mode in the morning and to switch off my work brain at the end of the day. Inspired by Laura Vanderkam's tip to try a shut-down ritual, I've been trying to replace my commute with new routines. In the morning, I've been doing a 5 minute morning yoga video and listen to today's Before Breakfast Podcast as I usually would on my walk to work. In the evening, I've been using an end of day mantra as suggested in No Hard Feelings and going for a short walk.
Make Date Night Special. My partner and I are spending lots of time together now that we are both working from home, but it feels important to still set aside specific time to celebrate our relationship. Without our usual happy hour or dinner out options, we're making an effort to have movie night dates. To help make it special, I gifted him a popcorn popper and East Fork Popcorn bowl.
Make Home a Sanctuary. Now that we're homebound, making my apartment a pleasant place to be has become a higher priority. This weekend we started an apartment deep clean (don't forget light fixtures, windows, and fans) and addressed a few little home projects like hanging art in our home office. We also indulged in a little retail therapy to upgrade a few items that have been causing annoyance recently -- in our case a French press and cutting boards.
Ideas for helping others:
Help Disinfect Community Spaces. I live in an apartment building without a live-in super, so there's no one responsible for cleaning our building door knobs or mailboxes. It only takes a few extra minutes to incorporate disinfecting the front doorknobs into my daily apartment cleaning routine.
Switch to Subscriptions. For my own convenience, I have been shifting many of my food and household products to subscriptions over the past few months. This time of uncertainty for businesses has given me that final push to set up the lingering items on my list as subscriptions so that the businesses I love and rely on -- especially small ones -- can better plan for income from my recurring needs and forecast their inventory needs.
Donated to Food Banks. With so many grocery stores struggling to keep up with customer needs, businesses preparing for financial ups and downs, and people practicing social distancing, food banks and soup kitchens are seeing decreases in food and monetary donations as well as volunteers. From what I understand, we can help by donating online and contacting government officials to express support for more resources and support.
Make a plan. I'm staying at home with my partner and toddler so while it's wonderful to all be together, we have to visualize who does what throughout the day so we can both work full-time and provide full-time childcare. We broke out the day with all the work things, household things and fun things to do with our kid. 6:30 am dance parties, craft time, Facetiming family/friends and building forts are keeping us very happy while the other person puts on noise-canceling headphones and works in the other room.
Long walks. I'm so grateful to live next to Greenwood Cemetary. It's even bigger than Prospect Park and because it's not a park it's pretty empty and there's lots of room to walk and never see another person. When you're inside it's like being in a forest with huge, old trees and hills. When you're on the perimeter there are epic views of the Manhattan skyline. We're also seeing so many beautiful early signs of spring. It's a weird hang out spot but it's so peaceful.
Laughter. When I'm going through hard times I really can't watch or listen to anything too heavy so I've been leaning on some old favorites at the end of the day. To watch: Schitt's Creek, Big Mouth, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. To listen: Who Weekly, Comedy Bang Bang and Lovett or Leave It.
Get political. This virus has exposed the weak infrastructure of our country due to significant budget cuts. Think about how your vote both locally and nationally affects not only yourself but vulnerable communities (especially during crises). Vote those into office who you feel can prepare us for our challenges in the future.
FaceTime your friends and family but especially those who are alone or going through struggles outside of the virus. Remember that community and religious groups and other support groups like AA that people rely on can't meet during this time so we need our social circle connected more than ever.
Getting physical. I've found that I can no longer use the excuse, “I just don't have enough time” now that my commute is out of the picture and all my social plans are canceled. So, I've started to do an hour-long workout routine at home, including a short run around the neighborhood, stretching, floor workout and of course a nice long savasana. I'm hoping this will just become a new natural habit for me and the excuse of "not having enough time"will become a thing of the past.
Project time! After my workday and expelling some energy, I have just the right amount of energy left in me to work on some at-home projects. I’ve been tufting rugs, journaling, weaving and making candles. I’ve noticed that all of this alone time is helpful for focusing on projects that would usually be on the back-burner.
Sharing and connecting with others. What books are you reading? What's on your movie list? What trips are you planning? What projects are you working on? This has been a great time to connect and see what other people are up to.
Helping the community. A lot of restaurants and small businesses in my neighborhood have made their venmo accounts public as a way to raise money for their employees. I’ve donated to a few of my favorite local spots, it's not much, but it's with the hopes that if enough people donate just a little bit, it will go a long way.
Positivity is contagious. Spreading soft reminders of silver linings can help to relieve raising anxieties. I've been thinking about how I’ve been emailing with my grandparents more than ever! Or how less planes in the sky will mean less pollution. Or how the dolphins are returning to the canals of Venice! These are just a couple things I try to focus on and share with others. Of course, not everyone can afford to have this outlook, but since I can for the moment, I try to do my best to be positive for the people around me.