By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebellion
If we thought the world was crazy before, this past week has shown us it could be much worse.
The coronavirus has cast a light on two important things we should think about. The first is that if we don’t take action proactively, a problem like this can quickly get out of hand. The second is that when an emergency like this takes place, it becomes surprisingly easy for people to come together in solidarity.
We see it all the time, because sadly, these days we’re met with tragedy after tragedy. Each time it happens, we come together to help each other and focus on those who are hit the hardest.
Here in America, even our politicians are attempting to operate from a place of compassion. Even they understand that these are hard times for all of us – not least of all those who work and struggle to get by under normal circumstances.
So much has happened in just a few days. Most people are working from home or out of work while the government rushes to try and help. We know this is a temporary and necessary lifestyle adjustment, but the uncertainty is not exactly comforting.
Although most of us are at home, very few are in our comfort zone.
Most of us just want to get back to work and see life return to the way it was. But we also want to be safe. I’m home because the gym I work at had to close, but I’m fortunate to have this writing/blogging job to which I can now devote more time. I’ve had to get by solely on this blog’s income before and I can do it again.
Those of us who are now home should be grateful we’re not sick. But for many of us, being stuck at home with little to no income is a bummer to say the least.
I’m the kind of person who needs to get out of the house. I learned when I got that gym job that for my mental health, it’s good to get out and do something productive. For years up to that point I’d worked from home, and I was here so much that it started to take a toll. I was getting depressed and anxious a lot more often, and it was getting harder to keep myself together.
I have a hunch that some of you – especially the involuntarily unemployed – might feel that way after a while. Some of you might already feel it.
At first, I felt a little gloomy when I got the news that my job was closing its doors. I was worried that if I stayed home too long, cabin fever and its accompanying depression would set in. Now that I have a plan to deal with this possibility, I feel better about it.
I’m lucky to be able to spend this time writing, but there are some other things I’ll be doing to combat that gloomy feeling. In the same way we’re all staying home to fight the virus, I’ll be taking measures to fight the mild depression that can come with being home all the time.
For those susceptible to cabin fever like I am, here are a few tips based on what I’ll be doing to keep my head above water.
The first, as I wrote above, is to find and practice something creative. Devote a few hours a day to it – just enough that it keeps you busy and focused on improving but doesn’t burn you out. For me, anxiety and burnout go hand-in-hand.
I’ll be writing and picking up the guitar. Some people will draw, some will paint, and some will craft. The idea is to make cool stuff and try to get better at it. This alone might not eliminate your unease, but it will make a difference.
I’ll also catch up on some TV shows, movies, books, and video games I haven’t had time for. I’d recommend consuming most media, especially social media, in moderation. But right now, if you need something to distract you, then you might as well enjoy some entertainment.
Take that time to care for yourself, even if it means disappearing into a good game or movie. The memes, while not really distracting, can help you feel better if taken in small doses. In a time like this, we should remember to enjoy these things.
I would, however, recommend refraining from scrolling on social media all day. Like most things, it’s fine in moderation but can make you feel worse if you don’t spend some time away from it.
The same can be said for all the news stories about the virus. Stay informed but try to limit your exposure to the endless news. It can be bad for anyone’s mental health to be plugged into that news cycle 24-7, even if it keeps you informed. You’ll feel much better if you turn off the TV and take time to process what is happening in the world.
I’ve also thought about getting out and working in my yard if it ever stops raining here. The vines and bushes get out of hand if I don’t get ahead of them early, and it would be nice to get outside as it warms up.
If you’re worried about going outside, you could make a project out of cleaning your apartment or home. The idea is to stay active at home even if you have to be inside. I’m used to cleaning at work and writing at home, but now, I have more time for both right here.
This is obvious, but why not spend time with your family? Chances are, many of you are home with your spouse and kids. There will be plenty of movie and game nights in homes across the world these next few weeks; I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. We might as well appreciate the time we have with our loved ones.
Along with all this, I’m going to fit meditation back into my schedule. Not to be too new-agey for those who aren’t into that kind of thing, but meditation alleviates my anxiety. It is an effective practice for meeting a part of you that exists beyond the fear and paranoia your mind frantically brings to the surface.
People disagree on what this part of you actually is. Some believe it is just the subconscious, but others think it is something profound or mystical. Regardless, it is an anxiety-free space within you. Right now, it wouldn’t hurt to visit that space.
For anyone feeling scared or anxious; I’d say to let your feelings guide you to be cautious and considerate but not make you panic or overthink what is happening. Yes, this is an insane time. Fear and anxiety are natural responses when the world becomes this crazy overnight.
Experience has taught me that anxiety is merely a signal to be alert and aware. If you feel too much of it to the point that it takes over, as so many have, then it becomes a problem and treating it becomes necessary. But a little anxiety in a time like this is totally normal.
Ideally, we would let it guide us to be cautious while watching fewer news stories that cause panic.
You’ll genuinely feel better if you make the most of your time at home. There’s no sense sitting and worrying or letting depression creep in. Instead, you can relax with your family or do something fun and challenging to keep from going stir-crazy.
We may not know how long this will last, but it is temporary. Someday soon, we’ll all return to working and crowding the bars at night. I’ll go back to seeing all the cool people at my job before coming home to write every day. Hopefully, this summer we can get out and appreciate nature, knowing there was a time when the parks were all closed.
One day, we can say we lived through a global pandemic and we were okay. Not to mention that we got some excellent memes out of it.
Until then, stay safe, informed, and calm. We’ve got this.
Wes Annac 🙂
About Wes Annac:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, love, awareness, activism, and other crazy stuff. I run Openhearted Rebellion – a blog dedicated to sharing wisdom and encouraging a revolution that begins in the heart.
I also run Canna Words – a blog in which I share some of my research and opinions on cannabis. There, I write about everything from legalization to hemp and the various ways people use the cannabis plant.
I’ve contributed to a few awesome websites that include Waking Times, Wake Up World, Golden Age of Gaia, and The Master Shift. I can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/wesannac, facebook.com/cultureofawareness) and Twitter (twitter.com/Wes_Annac, https://twitter.com/love rebellion)
If you enjoyed this post and want to support my work, consider donating via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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