I am going to be honest. Writing this month’s Dana’s Edit has been a struggle. I have reached the six-month mark of sheltering at home, limiting a lot of my interactions with friends and family and only going out when I really need to get something. On top of that, I have begun teaching all my classes virtually and taking all of my graduate classes virtually. To say I am already Zoom’d out is an understatement.
Couple these things with the bleakness of the news and it can all be a bit anxiety-inducing and stressful. This month I thought I would share some of the things that are helping me cope with the isolation and stress that a lot of us are feeling especially as we start to realize winter is coming.
Give yourself some grace.
My focus isn’t what it typically is and I often feel like I am all over the place. Then I feel guilty for not giving my all or putting in my normal effort, but I have to remind myself that these are not normal times. I have to give myself a little grace and understand that I am adjusting and perfection is not required. I am giving a little grace to the people around me—especially my students. I think the pandemic is impacting everyone in a different way, so I try to be kind and understanding when things don’t go as planned.
Get up and get moving.
I will admit I have had periods of time where I am a lump on my couch, but that just makes it all feel so much worse. I have a dog I can take out for a quick walk to help me get moving and reset my brain after staring at a screen for hours but all of us can just take a walk around the block or to our local park to get up and get moving. I am also trying to motivate myself to really put exercise into my daily routine to help boost my mood and feel better overall.
time to move.
Brighten up your home.
Since I am home all the time, I have been slowly adding new pictures to the wall and I swapped out my carpet tiles in my living room. I want warm, bright and happy things in this space because when the days get darker, so does my mood. I want my home to be inviting and happy so that I don’t feel like I am stuck in a drab space. Something as small as new candles and a throw can make a huge difference in changing how the room feels. Even painting a single accent wall in a vibrant color can perk up your mood.
now that’s more like it
Knitting has always felt a bit like a daily meditation for me. The rhythmic clicking of the needles, the way I focus on a pattern and cancel out the rest of the noise. It was difficult to knit for a while, but I finally started to feel like I needed yarn in my hands again and I am trying to knit every day at the end of the day. Knitting helps to clear my mind of the negative things, it calms my brain after staring at a screen for way too long and it is something I do for myself that makes me feel good.
I am currently knitting Shay Johnson’s Homecoming Cardi for myself. I am knitting myself the most vibrant and happy cardigan I can to boost my mood. Added bonus—it will be great to wear on chilly morning walks in October. I am also plotting out other things I want to knit to keep giving myself something to look forward to as the days get darker. I’m pulling out the yummiest yarn in my stash to knit a Nurtured by Andrea Mowry, and a friend and I are talking about knitting Rainier by Kate Gagnon Osborn as a mini knit-a-long.
This year is an odd year, full of changes, but I just keep telling myself if I take small steps I will make it through. If you have tips of your own that help you cope and de-stress, share them! I am sure they might help someone else too.