Welcome to week gazillion of quarantine. My kids saw the inside of a car for the first time in three weeks (so that they could wave out the window to their friend’s for their birthday), I had pasta for roughly the hundredth time because I’ve run out of ideas, and I’ve settled into the very unhealthy sleep cycle that never begins earlier than 2am. I’ve scrolled through old pictures of my friends and family so often that my heart physically hurts. And there have been countless moments where I find myself welling with tears because, well, this whole social distancing thing? It is HARD.
*Big disclaimer: I know that it could be a lot harder. I am forever grateful that my loved ones are all healthy and that I have the privilege of social distancing during a time when so many in our country do not. I am deeply aware of the inequities that this pandemic has laid bare and am doing what I can to help those in need. Stay tuned for more information on how Smudge is helping during this time, including sending some sparkle to those working on the front lines.*
If you are like me, you may be feeling a little untethered from yourself, others, and the universe around you. If you are searching for ways to feel more grounded during this time, here are a few tools that have helped:
To feel more connected, get even more disconnected: Sounds counterintuitive, I realize. Trust me. On a day when I was feeling particularly crummy, I put on my headphones, cued a favorite playlist, and walked in the woods behind my house entirely alone. Turned off all notifications, didn’t read the news, didn’t even see another person. And in that hour, I noticed the beauty of the trees, the wind on my face, and the strength of my legs climbing the hills. I took deep breaths and gave thanks for that gift. And at the end of that break, I felt refreshed and ready to tackle what’s ahead. For those unable to go for a walk alone, you can do the same thing by escaping into a dark room, a hot bath or shower (I highly recommend locking the door for the parents among you!), or take an online meditation class with our friends at Chorus Meditation. The key is to take a break from the distractions so that you can give your mind and self the chance to reset the connections with what makes you feel like yourself.
Saying no can be a big yes: In the wake of nearly all in-person interaction, the virtual happy hour (or workout or book club or dinner party) has really come to life. All over social media are the now-familiar boxes of faces cheering the screen, doing squats in unison, and doing their best to recreate the social outlet and community we naturally crave. I get it -- and most of the time, I love it. But just as is the case IRL, all these digital mass gatherings can be overwhelming and energy-sucking. Also, at least for me, a natural extrovert, the high of seeing everybody on Zoom often comes with the low of missing all my people even more the next day. I’ve started noticing that my heart and soul feels more full with a 1:1 call with a best friend or writing a letter to my dad. Remind yourself that it’s okay to say no to an invite. Everybody understands -- promise.
Embrace your pet rocks: Team Smudge is obviously a big fan of the healing power of crystals, so I’d be remiss to not mention the ones that can have a calming, grounding effect. Smokey Quartz, Red Jasper, Aquamarine, Hematite, Black Tourmaline, and Amethyst are all great stones to surround yourself with these days. Luigi loves to carry them with him on walks, my children love to sleep with tumbled versions under their pillows, and I like to place them around my computer while I work and openly talk to them (this is a safe space to admit that, right?). Paired with a morning exercise of writing or saying an intention for the day or an energy cleansing of the space around you, these crystals can be powerful aids in leveling out the roller coaster of emotions you may be feeling.
Build a Gratitude Wall: One of my dearest friends, Robin, has the most amazing party trick: the post-it game. She brings a stack of post-it’s to a gathering and throughout the night, we write compliments and messages of love to each other and hang them on the wall to read out loud later. Very few activities have the effect of making my heart burst more. Here’s how I’m modifying her post-it party for quarantine to feel more grounded: keep the stack in a bowl in a central place in your house, like the kitchen counter, along with some markers. Throughout the day, whenever you walk by, write something that you are thankful for and put it on the fridge or a window -- make everybody you live with do it. It can be big (“Doctors and nurses -- you are killing it”) and it can be small (“these jelly beans are life-changing”). Stick it and say thanks, and watch your gratitude and grounding grow. P.S. What a keepsake to reflect on when all of this is over!
Sending healing and loving energy to all of you!