The world has gone crazy.
In a matter of weeks, the structure of everyone’s lifestyles has changed. The daily life, the norm of routine, the back-and-forth shuffle between getting up and going to bed, has been placed on an unexpected pause for most. Life has been confined to the walls of our homes, where we’re told the ugliness of this pandemic cannot get us.
But, it seeps in, doesn’t it? Through our TV, through our conversations, our text messages. We stay inside to keep it all away, but still, it manages to become a topic, a worry. It bridles our thoughts, and it can keep us stagnant in a place where we are constantly living in the future and not standing in the present.
The anxiety is on the outside of our front door. We cannot bring it into our homes. Because, right now? Our homes are all we have left.
Today, since the start of my quarantine, roughly March 13th , was the first day that I felt my mind tunneling into the future. A future I could not control. I was adamant that 1.) I was not about to have a panic attack, 2.) That I was stronger than my anxiety, and 3.) That I had all the power to maintain the peace in my brain.
I did what I’ve always done, even when the world was spinning normally.
I plunged into some evening habits of mine. They start in my bedroom. They are simple, but doing them, I feel they can be treated as sacred.
Workout and Meditation
I’ll be honest – I do not do this often. I am still in those stages where it is somewhat difficult to find joy in the stillness. But today, after a good, envigorating, sweat-commencing workout on my mat, a simple breathing exercise was calling to me. My mind was yearning for a re-set, and this was what I felt to be my restart button.
Side note, I work out at home. All the fitness programs I follow are a click away on YouTube, and with a TV in my bedroom, it makes these habits all the more enjoyable for me.
I feel like the breathing exercises are to help remind you that you are in control. You control your lungs. You control the intake of air – air, the sustaining factor of living. It reminds us that we can also be in control of our brains, and the air inside our head.
Did my spine start to hurt trying to sit still for 15 minutes straight? Yes. Yes, it did. But, lay in a shavasana. Use a wall, or a cushion. Make it a bit more magical with some incense. My favorite? Honeysuckle.
Negative Healing Music
I love leaving something of this sort playing on my bedroom TV for when I get out of my shower. Whether the octaves and vibrations do restore the aura of your soul or not, they are very mentally relaxing to walk into. I feel like my room is suddenly new, open, and full of possibility. It makes my brain feel calm and relaxed and fresh. And with the lights off, the colors of the video saturate my room in pastels.
Tibetan singing bowls are one of my go-to sounds.
Leave Out Your Favorite Clothes
Have them folded in a neat pile for when you come back into your room. Make sure it’s something that makes you feel good, something that you deem comfortable. And you’d be surprised at how much a difference it makes when you put on things that match, right down to your underwear and your socks. For my brain, matching is an immediate mood-chill. It makes me feel put-together and at peace with my reflection.
Oh the magical healing powers of water. Nothing defines mental clarity better than a good shower. But, this isn’t just a normal shower. This is a brain stabilizing shower, a ritual. I start mine with some aroma therapy. Splatter some essential oils on your shower walls and the steam will transform it into a spa. Your shower will become a cleansing portal to another realm.
Take this time to utilize a decadent body scrub. Bring a glass of wine in with you. Take your time. How do the essential oils make you feel? Where do the smells take you? Peppermint is envigorating, and it freezes your troubles while spicing up a new mindframe while you lather in your shampoo. (I add just a drop into my conditioner, too.)
But for me, the most important part is the music. Bring in a waterproof speaker with you while leaving your phone obviously safe on the sink. For rituals such as this, turn on something soft but not as soft as what you left playing in your bedroom. Some lo-fi or jazz-hop? Will make you find a rhythm to the buzz you have from your wine, I promise. And this? This music-part of the shower? This will make you take your time.
It’s all about the mental slow-down and finding peace.
Empty Your Thoughts
Clean, walking into a softly-lit, music-playing bedroom, and now it is time to step into the clothes you left out. It is also time to flip open a blank page in your journal, pick up that book you were reading, or go back to the fictional world you were writing.
This is the step where you come back to you. You did all things for the outer part of your body. Now it is time to do the things for the inner part of your body.
Light a candle. Dim the lights. Open your window. Do the things that make you feel otherworldly and at peace in your own brain for this step. Your room is now your sanctuary, and your bed your dais for your creativity.
The outside world has gone crazy. But your brain doesn’t have to. Take this self-quarantine time to renew your thought patterns and escape into a peaceful routine. You have the control.