It’s official: we made it through one month of quarantine…
As much as I hate leaving those …’s I have to remind myself that this “milestone” is only the first phase of a long road ahead of us. To be honest, I’ve been telling myself that we’ll be quarantining like this at least for another month, despite the optimistic end of April date that’s been mentioned. As for social distancing – by June we’ll still be practicing it; Returning to normal – probably a year, if we’re lucky. We’re eager for a return to the way things were but the reality is that it probably won’t ever be the same, which is unnerving for many of us including myself. But I’ve found that anticipating the extension of this is beneficial in a few ways: 1) It makes hearing the news about it going on longer not as disappointing – remember when they said just two weeks of this back in March…lol; 2) The longer we can stay home, the better chance we have at beating this before a resurgence. Coming from someone who lives in Hoboken, only separated from NYC by one river, it’s a scary world out there right now. The last thing we want is a repeat of what’s been happening – overcrowded hospitals with a lack of protective & life-saving supplies. So as much as this uncertainty is weighing on me, I’d much rather be home than anywhere else right now.
On the flip side, there’s some positivity in this situation that shouldn’t go unnoticed. The entire world has been given a temporary pause, something that’s never happened before and probably (hopefully) won’t happen again, at least in our lifetimes. This is an opportunity to reprioritize, restructure, regroup, and re-inspire ourselves, without the distractions of day-to-day interfering like before this moment in time. Personally, I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can because I know it’s temporary. Just reminding myself of that word “temporary” lifts an enormous portion of my anxiety’s weight. Yes, I’m still worried about things outside of my control every day, like most of us are, but I’ve been able push through these uneasy moments by having this appreciative mindset.
So what have I been doing since March 13 ’til now?
Honestly, a LOT! I feel like I’ve finally been given the time to check off things on my ongoing to-do list since I’m no longer using full-day work obligations as an excuse. I’ve also been using these 30 days to shift focus on what my priorities are, and I truthfully feel like I’m a better version of myself today than I was only a month ago. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to keep busy, stay positive, and maintain my sanity..
HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
Redesigned our bedroom! Will do a full reveal on the blog next week.
Organized the kitchen cabinets + filtered out what old cookware & worn-out utensils to toss.
Began the first stages of organizing my closet – will be sharing tips / where to donate clothes at this time soon too!
Cleaned / scrubbed every inch of the bathroom (bathtub, toilet, sink, all the nooks & crannies in-between.)
Dusted every shelf, counter, corner in the apartment. Ps – highly recommend getting the Swiffer Duster wand (it actually made dusting fun & rewarding!)
Rearranged some of the wall art & decorative items to freshen up our space.
STAYING ACTIVE IN ROUTINE [BODY + MIND]
Going on daily outdoor runs / walks as much as I can in the earlier hours, when it’s not as crowded & easier to distance myself. Our 10K was of course cancelled (supposed to be on the 18th) but I’m still planning to run those 6.2 miles that Saturday on my own!
Trying out a few of the at-home workouts many of you recommended (full list of them here) & slowly getting accustomed to the new living room gym. One of my favorites at the moment is YouTuber Pamela Reif – she posts free, amazing full body &/or targeted workouts available in 10-30 min sessions, which is just my speed at times.
Having an active daily routine for my mindset does wonders to my productivity as well. Each morning I make the bed, have my coffee, change out of the clothes I wore to bed (usually into new loungewear, but it’s still fresh clothing!), put on a bit of makeup, and get started on the day. Just having a set morning routine that I have control over (in an uncontrollable world right now) has been very beneficial for my mental health.
Along with routine, I’ve started giving myself daily small goals to accomplish each day. I’ve found that setting 3 (max) attainable things to get done boosts my endorphins similar to working out. And by the time I finish said daily goals, I reward myself with a coveted snack (right now it’s an ice cream sandwich for me.) Overall, it puts me in a better mood when I feel like I’ve used my time productively, especially now that my work obligations are at a temporary slow speed.
WEEKLY CHECK-IN’S WITH FAM/FRIENDS
A few of my good friends are essential workers so I’ve been diligent about checking in with them as often as I can, on a weekly basis. Shooting a text over to let them know you’re thinking of them, asking them how they’re doing, and offering any support you can from a social distance goes a long way. I know if I was in any of their positions I’d appreciate hearing from close friends at a time like this. Huge shoutout to all our heroes out there on the front lines working day & night to keep us safe ❤️
I’ve also used this time to reach out to my extended family, especially my grandparents in North Carolina. I gave them a call the other week just to chat and see how they’re doing, along with offering to help in any way that I can from afar (sending supplies, setting up grocery delivery, etc.) Both are in good spirits & most importantly good health, which was a huge relief to hear over the phone. If you haven’t reached out to a grandparent or close aunt/uncle/cousin yet, I’m sure hearing from you would make their days.
SCHEDULED WINE + FACETIME CALLS
Following the weekly check-ins above, I’ve definitely found myself looking forward to FaceTime calls with my friends more than anything else. Even though we’re working from home, we’ve made sure to schedule these Wine + FaceTime chats (one-on-one or in groups) so we can all make sure to be available. Sometimes the nights turn into legitimate girl’s night in (sorry boys stuck with us..) and for a moment, things feel somewhat normal again. I also had no idea how much I truly missed my friends until I realized the call extends into the late hours of the evening – I can’t wait until we can all embrace again.
BTW – Wine + FaceTime chats are great for families to connect while apart during this time. I know that sounds obvious, but there’s something truly elating for parents/grandparents to be able to see everyone on a screen all at once. It’s suddenly become a much more meaningful thing in today’s world, being together while apart.
SUPPORTING LOCAL + SMALL BUSINESSES
If you didn’t catch my first IGTV, I pretty much put all my fears & anxieties out on the table in an emotional, raw, unedited clip – posted around 2am on a Tuesday night, only one week into the Quarantine… Safe to say, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs within these 30 days when it came to the stability of my career. Technically I’m a small business myself, given my full-time job as an influencer is my bread & butter. So I sympathize and understand at an emotional/financial level how scary of a time this is; it absolutely breaks my heart whenever I come across/hear a story about shops not being able to recover from this.
For me, I’ve been saving my money from the start and have always worked as if I’m 4 months ahead. That approach has positioned me to feel a little better about all the projects I had cancelled or postponed; I’ll be ok & get back on track eventually. But in the meantime, I’m constantly thinking of those small businesses out there still pioneering during this unpredictable time and whenever I can afford to help, I do so. Whether it’s purchasing something through someone’s Etsy shop or ordering a pizza from the place down the street, any contribution I can make matters. Even once all this is past us, my desire to shop small will continue on with more purpose going forward.
I have to admit Thomas and I have been very good about NOT becoming couch potatoes in front of the TV during the day. We usually wind down our work days between 6:30-7pm, crack open a beer and tune into Jeopardy, which has replaced our weekly bar Trivia nights these days. After that, we’ll settle on watching Netflix or a movie for a few hours before bed. Personally, I LOVE TV and could watch it all day in a perfect world. But I’m noticing my eyes are getting WAY more strained these days, from constant screen time from computer to phone to TV with little breaks in-between like I used to have more of. So we decided it would be more beneficial for both of us (and my eyes) if we supplemented TV time with other things that don’t encourage screen activity.
It’s still a slow start but we’ve began supplementing TV by listening to a playlist instead while we cook. I usually have the TV turned to face the stove so I can prep and semi watch The Office simultaneously, but having the music on instead has been a true delight. Plus we have more time to have a conversation, as Thomas is still working non-stop and hardly gets a chance to take a break during the day. It’s as if he’s still in the office anyway haha.
Two other activities we’ve picked up are puzzles and card games that are 2-player friendly (which is tough to find outside of board games like Chess & Checkers.) We recently played the adult party game “Do You Know Me?” and had a hilarious time answering each other’s questions while learning something new about the other (good & concerning..) Highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to test your relationship(s) haha. And as for puzzles, we got this Gray Malin Double-Sided one from our friends as a housewarming gift. Not only is it VERY challenging (still working on it) but it’s very time consuming in a good way! We’ve found ourselves enjoying (and somewhat struggling) putting pieces together instead of watching TV at the end of the day.
EXERCISING MY GREEN THUMB [WITH MORE PLANTS!]
I mean… it’s inevitable I’d get more plants during all this, right..? I’ll warn you now once you start your plant collection, it becomes harder and harder to curb it. Soon you’ll be like me with 36 houseplants and expecting the arrival of 2-3 more (sorry in advance Thomas… but I promise they’re small!)
Having the time to research and read up on different varieties of plants has been very rewarding for me. It’s triggered some sort of challenge in my head that has encouraged me to start growing plants outside of the easy beginner ones. For example, I’m terrified of succulents and cactuses because all I know how to care for plants is by watering them. But I’ve decided now is the time for me to take them on and learn exactly what they need (and don’t need) in order to thrive. So far, there’s only been 2 succulent deaths out of our current 8.
I’ve also had the chance to experiment with new approaches to growing young ones of my own via propagation. This pretty much means growing a cutting from a mature plant by placing it in water and watching the roots take form. I wouldn’t call it challenging yet but it’s a slow process, as I’m used to my mature plants thriving within days of watering (clearly big on instant gratification here.) But this new venture in my indoor plant-hood will definitely be a rewarding one once these cuttings begin to grow!
*In the recent weeks I’ve gotten a ton of plant related questions, as I believe many are now considering indoor plants as a way to keep busy/preoccupied during this time. Honestly, it couldn’t be a better time in my opinion! So I’ll definitely be posting more about my plant care & providing resources for those of you interested in joining in on the plant fun. If you’ve been wanting to get several plants but feared you’d neglect them (don’t worry we all do, I’ve killed many over the years) now’s the time to try it out again. You’ll soon see it’s not something to be afraid of; in fact, I think you’ll become obsessed 😀