Thriving during a pandemic
Its almost been a for 365 days since this pandemic/lockdown began. If you are anything like me you are still coping with the loneliness and weirdness that staying home, cancelling your social life, and a full stop to traveling has done to your psyche. Although there have been and still are incredibly difficult days, I have found a few ways to help me stay out of the hole of depression that I crawled into last year. This week I am going to talk about a few of those survival tips.
1. Spending time outside- In the Spring when this all began, it didn't feel nearly as dark. Many of us thought it would be over in 4-6 months, myself included. So March and April were a time for me to get back to my health. I was working out daily, spending my first weekends in YEARS with my partner Mike, driving around PA and hiking for miles a weekend. It was refreshing to slow down. But after the lockdown was lifted, I went back to my regularly scheduled work life and quickly fell out of touch with nature again. And it was bad. Over the Fall I began to feel really depressed, and realized that I needed to spend time outside. I have been taking long walks with friends (yes even in the cold!) and by myself, and it really does help to ground me. So if you are feeling really low, get yourself outside, if only for 15 minutes.
2. Find a new hobby- Since I launched Tesoro in 2015 I haven't had more than an hour of "free time" at a time. Last year really forced me to slow down and reevaluate some stuff. When I was struggling with having too much time on my hands, I picked up a book. The last one my grandma Reed suggested I read before she passed, "All the light We Cannot See". And after two years of picking it up on occasion, I finally finished it. And it felt great. Finishing a simple task for Tesoro became very difficult with tanneries shut down and as someone who directly relates my worth to my productivity ( :/ I know I am working on it), I was feeling pretty low. But finishing a book was something I could check off my list, and I went from reading maybe two books in 2019 to well over 15 in 2020. Ive already read three this year so far and I don't think I'll be slowing down anytime soon! If you don't love to read, thats ok! I have friends who have taken up cross stitching, knitting, sewing, legos, puzzles, writing, blogging, cooking, drawing and so many other things. Just find something you feel good about doing in your free time. I promise it will make things easier.
I don't have any photos of books, but I do have lots of photos of food. lol. Here is a tofo and cashew salad I made for lunch one day during the lockdown.
3. Find a therapist, for real. My journey with therapy has been a tough one. I first attempted therapy in 2019. I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed from work and some relationship struggles and I found someone through my insurance and quickly booked an appointment. She was 45 minutes late to our first appointment, 20 minutes late to our second and just over 10 minutes late to our third. If you know me personally, you know I am early to literally everything. I personally feel that timelines is a sign of respect, a trait I inherited from my dad. My mom defines it by saying that my dad would like to "be there yesterday" haha. So when she arrived late three times in a row, I lost respect for her. That turned me off to finding someone, but a few months later I realized I still needed help. I contacted over 15 therapists, and either they weren't taking on new clients or they charged an arm and a leg to work with them. So again I lost hope. But during this pandemic the need for help came back up again, and after the 100th Better Help commercial on the podcasts I frequent, I signed up. They have a sliding scale system, so I can genuinely afford to pay for it out of pocket. My first therapist on there, a psychotherapist, was nice. I thought she must have so much experience with really evaluating peoples brains and working to fix them. But honestly I found that she wasn't really engaging with me or helping me find tools to move forward. So after 4 appointments, I just stopped making more. (And the cycle continues, I know, its the worst. lol) But after a pretty rough holiday season where I legit totally ignored my feelings, I knew I had to try again. SO, I can happily say that after saying goodbye to my first Better Help therapist, I have found a new one, and two appointments in and lots of tears, I am feeling better and feel like I have the tools to start feeling better.
4. Buy a plant, or adopt a pet- I don't know about you, but I personally really love taking care of things, people, stuff. I think most women, even if they don't love it, have a maternal side to them. But it's 2021 and you don't have to have a child to be a caregiver. I starting buying house plants when I moved to Media, but when the lockdown began, I found myself doubling down on my plant collecting. I probably have 17 house plants in my small 2 bedroom apartment in South Philly. Sometimes, having something in your life that needs you to survive is a good reminder of the good you can do, and your humanity. Mike and I are looking to adopt a dog in the next few months, and I think a lot of that decision has come out of our desire to find joy in our lives and take care of an animal while we get through this life changing Pandemic. If you have any information on where we can adopt a hypoallergenic puppy, please let me know!!
5. Get organized- For me, a clean and organized space is the best thing to make me feel good and at ease. We moved during the pandemic, in August, and when we downsized into a smaller space, it meant I had to take a good hard look at all my clothes, shoes, art, and all other stuff, and evaluate if it was really something I NEEDED. We donated and sold a lot of things, and when we got to our new place, we donated even more. My favorite purchase was my new jewelry organizer from The Container Store. I have lots of vintage jewelry from my grandma, and most of it isn't worth much but I love it, and didn't want to part with it. So I found a better way to store it all!
6. A little at home DIY. When we moved, we knew we would have a lot less space, so we needed to be more intentional about each piece of furniture in our apartment. Since Mike is still working from home everyday, and I am working from home on occasion. I wanted to make sure we had a desk with lots of space and lots of sunlight. My mom and I made a desk out of a 8 ft board from Lowes, two legs from Amazon and two L bracket book shelf holders. It was super simple and inexpensive to make, and it looks pretty great if I do say so myself :). Choose a simple project, and also, know that you can rent tools from most hardware stores these days!
What you will need-
1. A large, well aerated space to work in ( I worked in my parents garage)
2. A trip to Lowes (not Home Depot if you can help it because they are big time Trump supporters)
- We needed a piece of wood cut to the desired length. We got it cut at Lowes- $40
- Two L-brackets for book Shelves- $10
- Two wooden legs (we got these online)- $30
- Stain- $10
- Round Sander (you can rent this, but my parents already had one)
- Drill (I've got my own)
4. We started by sanding down the top and all the edges so they aren't too sharp.
5. Take your drill and a Spade bit 7/8" and drill a couple holes toward the back of the table, these are for your computer cords to run down
6. Stain! Stain your table
7. Attach the legs. You could really just purchase dowels or legs anywhere, and drill screws from the table top, down into the legs. This also helps distribute some of the weight from the table from the legs onto the ground. If you are going with a small desk and just using a laptop, you might not need the legs.
8. Install- we first used a stud finder to place the L brackets in the correct place on the walls. You want to find studs because this desk will be holding some serious weight if you are anything like Mike and I. We figured out where the studs were, attacked the l-brackets to the table, then the table to the wall once the legs were in.
Thanks for checking in! I hope you have found ways to make you feel a little more sane throughout all of this! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below!