Quarantine Blues

Quarantine Blues

I think a lot of us can say that we went through a lot of ups and downs throughout this quarantine. I know for me, in the start I was doing good: staying productive, reading, and doing some much needed self care. As the weeks passed by, however, I started to feel more and more upset by everything that was going on in the world. It was so unusual to see how everything changed within a matter of days.

Over the months, I have tried a lot of things to stay sane and feel happy. I went through a good amount of periods where I wasn’t feeling too good about myself and my life, coming out of those phases really taught me a lot about how to be mentally strong and healthy.

I think the most important thing I have learnt is that whenever I feel a low mood coming on I don’t try to change how I’m feeling. In the past whenever I had days where I felt sad and demotivated I would try my best to put on a happy face and just ‘push through’ the day. What would end up happening later is that all those neglected feelings would come back in the form of a breakdown where I would cry for hours and hours on end and end up feeling worse. I find that when I just accept that I am having a bad day and try to not be too harsh on myself, I feel that I can easily move on from those feelings and feel better.

Talking about how I’m feeling whether it be with a friend or a family member also helps so so much. It took me a lot of time to finally learn that it was okay for me to talk about how I was feeling, rather than bottling up all my emotions. This is another reason why I recommend seeing a therapist because my mental health has improved substantially ever since I began my journey with therapy.

Meditating is definitely the best thing that I started to include in my routine this year. I’ve been feeling more calm and happy and my anxiety has reduced a lot just by setting aside 5-10 minutes everyday to meditate.

As some of the restrictions are starting to lift off, meeting up with friends is a good idea and is something I am definitely looking forward to. I recently took a long drive to see my friend who lives in another city. It was so good to see a close friend after a very long time and I definitely came back home feeling happy and relaxed.

In the end, it’s important to remember that a lot of us are experiencing loneliness and difficulty with our mental health during this uncertain time – you are not alone. It’s essential to always take care of ourselves and make time to talk to our family and friends, whether it be through text, a video call, or even in person. Working on our hobbies and having a list of things to do in the day are some of the things that we should try to do daily just to be busy and not feel bored and unhappy.

How To Be Happier

How To Be Happier

Over the past few months, I have made taking care of myself and my mental health a priority. In my first year of University, I was doing a lot of things that contributed to me feeling unhappy and unmotivated all the time. I was not sleeping well, my diet consisted of a lot of fast foods, I was not working out or drinking enough water. Once I got back home, I realised just how much my mindset had changed. I was sad and snappy, things that I loved doing did not make me happy anymore.

Here are some of the things I have started doing to make a positive difference for my mental health :

1. Working Out

I’ve always been someone who’s played a lot of sports and who’s been relatively active throughout my teenage years. When I started college, I didn’t dedicate a lot of time to fitness and working out and surely enough, I lost touch with my athletic self. I’m slowly starting to incorporate fitness into my daily life and have started seeing a big positive change in my mental and physical health.

2. Gratitude

Writing down at least three things that I am grateful for every morning has made a huge difference in my life. I always take out 5 minutes out of my day to write about the things and people that I am grateful for and also list down what I can do to make my day better. I highly recommend buying The 5 Minute Journal that I use every single day and night to write down daily affirmations and gratitude lists.

3. Going to Bookstores

If there’s one thing I learnt this year, it’s that I will never order books online again. Why should I if I could simply go to a bookstore and spend an entire afternoon being surrounded by a room full of some of my favourite paperbacks? Just the idea of walking to a nearby bookstore on a cloudy day and being able to spend hours browsing through volumes gives me am insurmountable amount of pleasure. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

4. Spending More Time In Nature

Going out for walks and hikes and getting some fresh air will make you feel so much better and clear headed. Whenever I’m feeling anxious or stressed out, I always make sure to go outside and walk a little and I always end up feeling a little bit better after.

June Recap and July Goals

June Recap and July Goals

I feel like I’m getting more used to being at home everyday, not being able to go out and do the the things that I would usually do if I wasn’t in quarantine. I’ve learnt to make time to do things that will help me feel better mentally and physically – things like working out, drinking tons of water, and talking to friends everyday.

I did a lot of fun things this month like celebrating my mum’s birthday by going out for a picnic, going on hikes, and discovering new places in the city during my daily walks.

For the month of July, I have set three main goals for myself.

Meditate Every Morning

I use the app Headspace for meditation but lately I haven’t made time to do so. I had a phase in college where I was waking up early to fit in 30 mins of meditation and stretching and it helped me improve my mindset so much. Just seeing how my mood improved and changed (for the better) throughout those weeks made me want to keep continuing to wake up 30 mins earlier to practice this habit everyday.

Make Time To Journal Everyday

In addition to the 5 minute journal that I use everyday, I recently bought another book from Papier that I want to use. It’s basically a book where I put up pictures of my favourite memories and write about it.

Do A Workout Challenge

There are a bunch of workout challenges you can find on Pinterest and I want to start doing these every month. This month I’m starting with the POPSUGAR 30 day squat challenge that I came across recently.

Being Okay With Who I Am

Being Okay With Who I Am

Recently, I’ve been feeling okay about who I am as a person. Throughout the last few years, I criticised myself about the tiniest things – the way I look, how I act, how different I am. I was not okay with who I was as a person. I was constantly looking for ways to change myself: change the way my body looks, change how I talk, change the way I dress. There was something wrong about me and I had to change.

I know that change can be good. If you’re extremely unhappy with yourself, it’s good to want to improve in healthy and manageable ways…but when the need to change comes from a place of self-hatred – when you develop unhealthy habits and patterns that are doing you more harm than good – it’s not okay.

The way I think about myself has changed drastically in the last year. I look back at pictures of myself and actually think I look good – and this is shocking cause at the time I would hate the way I looked. I’m starting to value myself and my thoughts, because that is what I deserve. I deserve to love myself.

Growing up, I heard a lot of hateful things that were directed at me.

You’re not good enough, you’re not worth it, you’re not special.

And for a while, I started to believe those things. I did not love myself or take care of myself – I was unhappy, anxious, and angry. I would stop myself from doing things like joining clubs and teams, making friends, and going out.

However, as I started to grow older and perform better in school and sports – I realised that all of those things that were said to me were lies. I was free to be whoever I wanted to be. I could do whatever I want. I was worth it.

Over time, my confidence improved. I was no longer the shy, quiet girl who would just do whatever was asked from her. I became a person who was happy in her own skin, someone who stopped believing all the lies that were thrown at her, someone who started to work for herself and her future. Because she knew she was better than that, because she knew she deserved better.

My Quarantine Essentials

Since quarantine began, I have made sure that I use this time to improve myself, develop ‘systems’ to achieve my goals, and take care of myself. I have been doing certain things to keep myself busy whilst also making sure that I have fun. Using this time to do things that make me happy while also doing other important things such as schoolwork, has helped me stay busy and feel good.

Here are some of the things that I consider my ‘Quarantine Essentials’:

Books

I honestly don’t know what I’d do during this quarantine without books. I’ve always loved reading but in the last 2 years, I haven’t prioritized doing so and I feel bad about not having taken out the time to read. Luckily, now I have so much free time in my hands that I can easily read one book in about a week or two. I am currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear; It has been a while since I’ve read a book about forming habits so I am especially excited about learning more about the subject and inculcating his practices.

TV shows

Surprisingly, I was never a person who would watch TV shows or anything of the sort. Mainly because I never had the time in high school, but also because I was not very fond of shows (shocker, I know). I usually spent my time watching Self-Help youtube videos or actually going out to watch movies. Right now, however, I have discovered some great shows that I have rewatched already (and plan to do so again in the future). Some of these shows have literally transported me into a whole other world and made me feel as though the characters are real and that I am actually part of the show. Some of the shows that I currently am binge-watching – and am absolutely in love with are:
  1. Elite on Netflix
  2. Normal People on Hulu
  3. Rick and Morty on Hulu
I’ve also discovered a newfound love for Marvel movies and I’m rewatching of the films in order – it’s been great. Other TV shows that I’m watching on the side are Ozark and Vampire Diaries.

Skin care

I religiously use face-masks twice a week and treat myself to a bubble bath once a week. I typically use skin-care products from TheBodyShop, mostly because they’re not very expensive and also because they actually work.

Social Media Detox

Social Media Detox

In the past, I’ve taken several breaks from social media- during SAT prep and finals, but also during my holidays when I simply want to focus on myself and take time off the internet. In my sophomore year of high school, I took a break from social media for at least 6 months and then in my junior year I took another very long break.

I’ve tried taking month long breaks from instagram and snapchat, however, I’m not as busy as I used to be in high school now. I used to play competitive golf, go to a lot of tutoring classes, swim, and had tons of schoolwork to complete at all times.

Recently, whenever I’ve tried to take breaks from social media they haven’t been very long. They last about a week until I usually end up installing the apps. However, I still try my best to make sure I’m taking time off these platforms because even though social media helps us connect with people from all around the world, there are still many many negative aspects about this form of media. I’ve had days where I’ve spiralled into a daze of self-comparison and spent countless hours scrolling through the Explore page.

source : Pinterest.com

There are times when I feel alone after checking social media and there are times when I feel really horrible about how much time I’ve wasted on Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with spending a few minutes on these platforms everyday, but when you begin to get consumed by the virtual world – you definitely need to take a step back and connect with the real world by actually being present and spending time with the people around you.

Lately, I have been trying to cut down on my daily social media usage, instead of completely going off the platforms. This is mainly because I’ve been using instagram to promote my blog and also because we are in quarantine and social media is one of the biggest ways I’m staying in touch with my friends and family.

Here are a few things I have been doing to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media:

1. Allocate specific times of the day for checking social media:

Instead of constantly picking up the phone when I get a text, I stick to checking all of my social media platforms and texts at one time – this way I’m not constantly checking my phone at all hours of the day. This also helps me create some form of routine and helps me keep my mind off the phone.

2. Unfollow a bunch of people:

When you are following less people, there are less pictures to scroll through and this means you’re not going to be wasting your time looking at posts that are really not helping you in any way or form. I know a bunch of people who have done a purge where they unfollow a good amount of people and let me tell you, this has done wonders for not only their time-management, but also their mental health.

3. Keep yourself busy:

Personally, I’ve been doing a bunch of things to keep my mind off the phone. This includes baking, reading, watching movies and Netflix shows, talking to friends on the phone, and making art. I recently installed Procreate on my iPad and I’ve been having loads of fun experimenting with everything that they offer on the app.

Fever And Nostalgia

I don’t have the coronavirus, but I have a fever – great! I was so scared about the whole deal, so I read up all the symptoms and I was thankful to find out that I don’t fit into the category. Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about how being sick makes me overthink about all the other times I was unwell. The last time I was sick, I was in Mumbai and I was exactly as miserable as I am now. I was in bed, watching YouTube videos, talking to my friends, and doing all sorts of things, (drinking hot lemon water, sleeping for 16 hours a day, taking medication), to make myself feel better.

For some very odd reason, I feel weirdly happy about feeling so under the weather. The thing is that, it reminds me of being back home in Mumbai – where I lived 5 minutes away from my best friends, where I was so close to my family, where I grew up and learnt everything about myself and the world. I realised that I feel this way, simply, because I miss Mumbai and I miss my friends and I miss being home. It might be very strange, and trust me, I’m still unsure about uploading this draft on the internet, but this is how I feel and I guess it’s okay to feel this way sometimes (it also just might be my sick brain thinking all sorts of bizarre things).

Recently, I’ve also been reminiscing about my high school days. I used to hate waking up at 6am 5 days a week and I absolutely detested high school drama, but in the end, the last two years of high school were really one of the best and most enjoyable years of my life. I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful support system, friends who’ve always been there for me and always cared for me. I’ve made some of my most favourite memories with these guys and they’re the biggest reason why I miss being back home. I’ve learnt to really cherish my friendships and be appreciative for all the people who care about me. I’ve learnt to be patient and selfless, because I know that my closest friends have done the same for me.

Moving to a new country has been difficult for me. At first, I really enjoyed being in a completely new place, where there’s loads of new places to see and new friends to make – but it still doesn’t feel like home to me…yet. However, I’m so thankful for all the things I learnt since I’ve moved here. I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself and the world, I’ve met all kinds of people, and I’ve travelled a lot.

I remember my first month of college – I was so homesick, so depressed, and just very unhappy, but a few weeks down the line, I met some of my closest friends, made amazing memories, learnt so much, and truly had a lot of fun. I guess in the end it just takes time to adjust and fit into a new place.

life update

life update

A lot has happened since the year began – some good things and some bad – however, I think that I’ve learnt much more this year than I have compared to my high school years. I believe that moving to a new country, starting college, and living in a completely new place and environment can make you learn a lot more about yourself thank you’d think.

I’ve embarrassed myself A LOT

I’m a freshman in college, so naturally, I have tried my best to put myself out of my comfort zone in order to meet new people and socialise. In the process, however, I have made a lot (and I mean a lot) of childish mistakes. It’s not easy to move to a different country and start a new life. For me, when college began, I was already very confused about who I was as a person and living in a new place definitely did not serve me well.

I’ve made some really close friends

I’ve made some amazing memories in my first year of college and all of them involved some of my closest, truest friends. I have learnt so much from these guys and I’m truly so grateful for them.

I’ve learned to love myself

It took a lot for me to reach the place I am at right now. I chopped my hair off, cut off toxic friends, forgave a lot of people, got my heart broken, and eventually began to focus on myself and my needs before anyone else’s. Thinking about what I wanted and valuing my needs was a big step in pointing me towards the direction of self love.

I’ve realised the importance of mental health

I started therapy this year and I also started seeing a psychiatrist. I learnt a lot about different kinds of medication, the importance of opening up and talking about your problems, and doing little things to take care of yourself and make you feel better.

taking care of yourself during quarantine

taking care of yourself during quarantine

With so much going on in the world right now, it’s important to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. However, it’s also essential that we don’t use this time as an excuse to “take it easy”. This is the perfect time to build long-lasting habits that can possibly change the way we live our lives. Use this time to work on yourself, work on your hobbies, and really “glow up” and become the best version of yourself.

Here are some things I’ve found have been really helping me take care of myself during the lockdown:

Drinking 2-3 litres of water everyday: Now this might seem like a lot, but trust me, drinking tons of water has been such a game-changer for me. I also drink warm lemon water first thing after waking up in the morning.

Reading some good books: This is by far the best way to spend your time if you’re bored. I’ve been finishing books faster than ever and I feel so happy about finally having the opportunity to read all the books that I’ve always wanted to read. If you don’t know where to start you should check out Zoella’s Book Club on her blog – she recommends some of the best books I’ve ever read and I’m so excited to finish all the books on her list. Some of my favourites are : One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. Mcmanus, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling (of course).

Sleeping for 8-9 hours: Some of us are doing a bad job by sleeping for either 4 hours or 14 hours per night. Being disciplined about your sleeping schedule is so important. It’s okay if we sleep in, or stay up all night on the weekends. But during the weekdays, maintaining a sleep schedule is essential and will save you so much time and stress.

Home workouts: Working out is so important during this time. Something that made the idea of working out every day easier for me was thinking of the mental benefits of working out, rather than exercising to look a certain way. I started viewing working out as something that makes me feel better, happier, and calmer. Exercise and movement is a good thing and your body and mind will thank you so much for it.

Work on your hobbies: It could be cooking, painting, singing, playing an instrument, writing, dancing, reading – this is such a great time to do whatever it is that you love and enjoy. Personally, I’ve been reading, cooking, and baking and it’s been helping me keep myself busy.

may goals

may goals

April was a great month. I made some new (online) friends, stuck to a morning routine/ workout plan, and did a lot of self care things. I have a feeling that May is going to be even better. It’s Mental Health Awareness month! I’m being brave and setting some goals for myself for this month. Since we’re all self-quarantining, this is the perfect time for us to build some long lasting habits and really focus on ourselves. Let’s dive in!

Read 2-3 books this month: One of my new year’s resolutions was to read 1 book per month, but since I have so much extra time right now, I’m confident that I can squeeze in at least 3 books this month. I really want to read: Dune by Frank Herbert, Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, and The 7½  Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, this month.

Establish a morning routine: I currently wake up around 7:30-8:00am, check my phone (sadly, but I find it so hard to break this habit), drink warm lemon water, make myself some coffee, and read my book. I want to try being more productive by trying to write a little for my blog after I read and also trying to reduce my screen-time in the morning.

Workout every other day: Working out makes me feel so so good. I played a lot of sports during my adolescent years and I believe that’s the sole reason why I emerged out of High School as a sane, normal teenager (sort of). Exercising to feel better, rather than to achieve a certain body type, is how I motivate myself to get in some movement during the day.

Reduce meat and dairy intake: I’m so proud of myself for already being more conscious about what I put in my body. Last month, I reduced my dairy and meat intake and it did wonders for my body. My skin cleared up, I felt energetic, I was able to focus better, and I also just felt more content in general. It’s a great feeling and and even greater thing to do. My parents are also supportive of this decision of mine (not the case previously) and it makes things much more easy for me.