As a high energy extrovert, I definitely struggled psychologically and emotionally the first couple weeks of quarantine. Let me tell you, not being able to see friends nor go out and do anything fun is very bad news to someone who hates being alone, and also happens to hate being idle. The first few weeks I didn’t even try to work out, overcome by a constant fog of depression. Eventually I forced myself to, and maintaining a sort of routine has helped a lot. Quarantine has actually become manageable.
I realized that what I decide to do during the day often dictates whether I have a good or bad day. Several common factors contributed to the good days, which for your purposes I’m dividing into 4 categories. We may not be able to control our environment, but we can control our behaviors and what we decide to do with our day. Here are some ideas to try.
Outdoor/Sunshine Time. Whenever I feel like I’m about to go insane from loneliness or boredom, I step outside for a walk. Or go sunbathing. One afternoon I drove to a local park, laid out a beach towel on my car and lay there tanning (because who wants to sit on nasty public benches at a time like this). It amazes me how much of a positive effect sunshine has on people. Part of it is physical- our bodies need to synthesize Vitamin D from the sun in order for us to function properly, enable our endocrine systems to secrete healthy amounts of hormones, etc. But it is also largely the psychological effect that is stimulated by our human senses. We feel more alive when we see everything around us is bright, with nature’s colors brought out in their full beauty. When we hear the wind rustling in the trees, the birds singing. When we feel that refreshing breeze on our skin. We realize that we, too are enjoying this gift of life, along with all the other living things around us, and we’re right where we belong. (Now some people enjoy gray and rainy days. If that’s you, go dance in the rain!)
Exercise. One day I ventured out to a local state park with a huge lake and to my surprise I was able to jog the entire lake trail without stopping. It took about 40 minutes, I’m guessing 3-4 miles. The path is a bit uneven with rocks and roots so it’s perfect for improving coordination and surefootedness, and there are some inclines and declines so great leg work too. I always thought I hated running. In reality, I just hate the treadmill because it gives me shin splints and there’s nothing interesting to look at. (Except for other people at the gym, but it’s weird to stare and probably a safety hazard while you’re running). It’s funny, I now recall all those gorgeous spring afternoons when all I wanted to do was go outside after work, but instead felt obligated to stay in the gym for those muscle gains. Perhaps when the gyms open up again, I’ll end with cardio and run outside after my workout. For now I’m doing a combo of indoor workouts then outdoor running, substituting running for indoor cardio on cold or rainy days. Even if I get nothing else done that day, I feel great afterwards from the endorphins and the sense of accomplishment.
Productivity. (Those who enjoy spending the entire day chilling in front of the TV may disagree. But I personally believe that’s a product of our privileged society, and that in our natural state we were not meant to sit idly all day). Relaxation is great, but it’s so much better after you’ve earned it. For those who are super high energy, you probably feel best after you’ve accomplished a TON of different things on your to do list that day. For those who have a more relaxed energy, you may find a long to do list overwhelming or stressful, and do better with a list of 3-4 different items. I tend to the former, so a typical productive day alone for me might look like this: Workout for 2 hours. Create content & post to social media. Shower. Lunch & dishes. Clean a room in the house (just one, since I hate cleaning, I spread it out. I’d love a maid to do it for me, but sadly I don’t have that luxury yet). Drive around on some errands. Write a letter or work on a blog article draft. FaceTime a friend. Do some coloring over dinner. Dishes again. Journal & spend time with God. End day with a book or movie if time allows.
Creative Relaxation. Doesn’t matter whether you’re right or left brain dominant, it’s important to maintain your creativity. Not only is it useful in life, but it’s also good for the soul. Creative relaxation is engaging in a calming activity you enjoy, that also stimulates the brain without you necessarily being aware of it. Some examples include coloring, drawing, painting, digital art, baking/cooking, journaling, making a craft, singing, doing a puzzle.
What are some other things you do that help you have a good day? Leave a comment!