- Melania Zilo
Dolce Far Niente: Giving Yourself a Break
As we all continue to adjust during this quarantine, it's important to remember that the pace at which we do so is not at all universal. I have friends that have started to wake up and go on runs at 5 am to get a jump start on their day, and then there is me who wakes up at 3 pm, eats four breakfasts, takes a bath and spends the rest of the night curled up on the couch watching RHOBH. If there's anything I've learned right now is that coping is not a one size fits all. At first, I felt a lot of pressure to be productive. I was stressing over assignments that weren't due for another few weeks, updating my resume for the fifth time, reorganizing my room, just doing things to occupy myself with all this extra time on my hands.
It was only until recently where I've allowed myself to slow down and use this time to simply be. The past few weeks have taught me what's important; my loved ones are safe and healthy, the sun continues to shine, and all is temporary. Navigating through this time can be tough, so here's my guide to staying (somewhat) sane.
1. Stop obsessing over the news. Yes, it's important to stay informed, but the second you feel that it's affecting your mental health, learn to take a step back. 2. Cry when you need to. I literally cannot stress this one enough. I've been trying to stay positive and focus on the silver lining in all this, but at times it can get overwhelming, and I have been feeling ALL the feels! I can comfortably admit that I cry at least once a day, and sometimes all night. There is no shame in emotion and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Crying is the best form of therapy, and it's a great way to release all the built-up tension in your body. Shedding those tears releases oxytocin and endorphins as well as restores the body to a state of balance. So let yourself to release those feelings, even if it's just once in a while.
3. Don't stress about your sleep schedule.
Right now, I'm on the weirdest sleep schedule, and I'll admit it's not the healthiest... But with all the things already going on in my head, I refuse to stress even more about something that's not in my control. It's all about being kind to yourself. If you can't sleep, don't stress! Read a book, stalk your ex's Instagram, binge watch Tiger King for the 3rd time, do whatever makes you feel good!
4. Eat that second plate girl (or fourth or fifth).
Your lifestyle is changing, and so will your diet. Did you pan-fry Trader Joe's shrimp gyoza for breakfast this morning? That's completely ok. The foods we eat do affect our well being, and I'm not endorsing unhealthy eating habits, but my point is that balance is key. Don't beat yourself up if you can't manage to make yourself a 5-star meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just do your best, and go easy on yourself! Don't make your body feel guilty for natural human reactions.
5. Connect with your loved ones.
I haven't seen my best friends or my boyfriend in over a month, and we're definitely all going a little stir crazy, given the lack of human interaction that we've had (we are a very social, obnoxious bunch). Even if it's through a computer screen, we've made an effort to be there for one another (Alexa, play Kiss Me Thru the Phone by Soulja Boy). But despite the madness, we've made one thing clear: Thirsty Thursdays will never be canceled (thank you Zoom). Whether it's a quick Facetime or sending a TikTok in the GC, it's nice to remind each other that we're all still here and that the love we share remains.
There's no handbook that tells you how to cope when there's the weight of a global pandemic on your shoulders (although if there was, I'm sure it would include a lot of wine). There are going to be easy days, and there are going to be days where you can't even find the strength to get out of bed. May we all wake up willing to accept either possibility. Don't forget to breathe, take time for yourself, and remind yourself to take it one step at a time, because that's all we really can do.
Stay safe, stay positive, and most importantly stay the f*ck home <3