I’m going to take a wild guess that nobody had “living in quarantine for an indefinite period while the world goes to complete shit” on their 2020 vision board, or its accompanying side effects of anxiety, helplessness, stress, anger, frustration, and fear.
There is not exactly a light at the end of the tunnel, but there is an end-ish in sight. As more and more states and local governments decide to start opening up its businesses and relax the restrictions of the last few months, we can perhaps begin to imagine what a post-quarantine life will look like. And while there are roughly a gazillion of open questions about how any of this is going to go down (or up, if you are feeling optimistic!), there are some intention-setting and visualization exercises that you can use to shape the one thing that is within your control: your reaction to the road that awaits.
On The Dirt, we will be sharing a series of these strategies over the next few days, along with the products and tools we think might be helpful to you. Here’s our first installment.
Part One -- (Positive) Compartmentalization: aka, the new way to spark joy
We’ve had some extended time to Marie Kondo that junk drawer and get the pantry in order during quarantine, but it turns out that a different type of organization, one based in the mind, can be a useful tool for preparing for a post-quarantine life.
It gets a bad rap, but compartmentalization refers to an often-useful coping strategy that allows you to bucket your conflicting thoughts or beliefs into tidy little packages so that you can psychologically get through some otherwise really tough situations. I’m a fan, and have been putting the technique to good use in quarantine.
Here’s how to do it. Write down all the things that you have missed about this time period. I did this with my family this week and among the items listed were: “miss going to restaurants with friends,” “miss going to school,” “miss group exercise,” “hate zoom meetings,” “hate being afraid to touch things,” and so on.
For each of the items on your list, put them in the following buckets (for the visual learners among you, you can literally write these things down on a piece a paper and put them in three piles):
- Paused -- these are the activities, feelings, and experiences that will likely return, but have only temporarily paused. Things like seeing your friends might be put in this category.
- Different -- these are the things that will return, but likely different than they have been, at least for the foreseeable future. Our family put “summer trips,” “eating at restaurants,” and “school” on this list.
- Gone -- this is the hardest category. Things like specific birthday parties, weddings, funerals, or graduations might end up here.
The value of this exercise is in the next step, which is realizing that for the vast majority of the things we long for are only Paused or Different. When we did this exercise at my house, we were relieved to see that maybe our world was not forever turned upside down as it can feel right now. And if things are just suspended or modified, that means you can start actively planning and imagining how and when each of the things in those two categories will happen.
Who will you first hang out with and what will you do together? What will you wear? What will you eat? What will it smell like? The more detailed you can be, the more vivid and more palpable returning to normal -- or a new normal -- will seem. It’s the beginning of assembling that road that we talked about earlier and allowing yourself to be part of its design. We spent last night planning our next vacation. It will involve driving, not a plane, and we’ll be looking at house rentals instead of browsing hotel guides. We will need to read the fine print on cancellation policies. But, this much I am certain about, there will also be new places to explore, new foods to eat, and new memories to make.
For that third category of Gone -- these are the things that you should feel entitled to mourn. Missing a close friend’s cancelled wedding is awful, as is losing your one chance to walk across the stage with your class at your college graduation. If it feels like a death, it’s completely okay to feel that. More than okay; it’s actually helpful to label your reaction as grief and treat it accordingly. (Here’s a great article written at the beginning of the pandemic on why it’s helpful to grieve.)
The Compartmentalization Tool Kit
While this exercise may be more than enough to get you in the right frame of mind to imagine life beyond these last stay-at-home months, we love using some additional tools to make it an more intentional ritual. Here are a few of our favorites from our product collection that can boost your powers of positive compartmentalization:
- 100% That Witch Starter Sets -- contains all you need to cleanse the energy of the space around you, a crystal point that is focused on a particular intention (courage seems pretty appropriate about now!), and a set of travel-friendly crystals that you can take with you as you start to venture out in this new world. We include our exclusive witch pin as an added dose of magic.
- That Girl is On Fire Manifestation Kits -- need some inspiration for your visualization session? Our manifestation kits contain a crystal point to serve as your beacon of the energy you want to put into the world, along with a handy set of prompts that can help you brainstorm about your best self.
- The Smudge Wellness Loss Spell -- for those mourning the loss of a specific experience, milestone, or loved one, our Loss Spells provide all the tools and guidance you need to grieve with care and intention. Available in two sizes.
Looking to help a friend or loved one through this time? All of our products come with a personal gift note setting your intentions for them. A thoughtful way to send love and healing energy to somebody special in your life.