Think Dirty Coping Toolbox: Stretching & More!
In light of our adjustments into self-isolation, the Think Dirty team has brainstormed ways to create meaningful, enjoyable content that feels authentic. More than anything we didn’t want to preach about the wonders of meditation and baking bread to pass the time. Let’s be real, no one wants to hear more of that, and personally I would not be caught dead baking my own bread during the quarantine. Our goal is to continue to help people feel better inside and out, especially during tough times. If you have been struggling with anxiety over the past few weeks, you might want to start by reading our Anxiety in The Time of Corona article. Long story short, we decided as a team to share the coping strategies that we have each found useful during isolation, and the activities that have helped keep us relatively sane (so far). The learning curve has been real, especially with so many unknowns and unanswered questions. We are by no means doctors or mental health professionals. This is just unsolicited advice, from one quarantined person to another. We hope to provide helpful ideas for keeping stress at bay, or to help you fill your days.
If you’re anything like me, you have an attention span of 0.2 seconds and struggle with doing anything for extended periods of time. Except maybe watching Love Island in a horizontal position. Even when it comes to working out, I tend toward going for a run rather than working out in my apartment. I find running easier to maintain. It’s hard for me to commit to working out in the same spot for an hour, especially at home where there are too many distractions.
If you’re not like that, then first, I am extremely jealous of you, and second, you will likely find this much easier. My trick is to listen to podcasts. For me, people talking in my ear provides enough stimulation for my brain that I become less susceptible to distraction. Lately, I’ve been listening to Seek Treatment, The Dropout (perfect if you like true crime), and The Moth.
As I said, I’m no doctor, but stretching is extra important right now because we’re generally not going outside or moving around as much. I can’t be the only one whose muscles feel like they’re starting to atrophy a little. It also forces my brain to actually think. Often, it’s one of the only times of day my brain isn’t otherwise stimulated and fried by my computer, phone, or TV.
One reason I like stretching is that it’s straight-up easier than exercising. You don’t need to take any breaks, and you can cycle through your various stretches. It’s also very versatile! You could do a combination of stretching and yoga or even higher-intensity exercises. Whatever works best for you.
If it’s helpful for you to have something to work towards, you could start out with a goal in mind.
- Cassey Ho of Blogilates has a guide to stretching for splits, which is what I started by doing. I’m still not sure I’ll ever be able to do a split, but it’s cool to see improvement in flexibility, however small it might be.
- I also recently discovered that she has a video of stretches to improve flexibility that you can do in bed.
- If you want to target a specific area of your body, YouTube has an unlimited catalogue of stretching videos for any situation.
Though much easier than working out, stretching is a little more active than practicing meditation. Everyone on the internet keeps acting as if meditation is something you can just *start* doing. I for one find this stressful and unhelpful. I’ve tried to meditate and it’s nearly impossible for my distraction-prone brain. The movement of stretching keeps my brain more occupied and thus more willing to continue.
Afterwards, if I’m feeling extra crazy and channelling my inner wellness influencer, I keep my screens away and attempt to read a real live book. A strategy discussed last week by my coworker Leslie.
Keeping a skincare routine
Don’t roll your eyes at me yet. I know I’m biased because I am part of a team of skincare-obsessives, but this one makes me feel like I have my life together. It also takes the least time out of the tactics on this list. This can be as simple as washing your face with water and putting on moisturizer twice a day. I could write much longer articles about why taking good care of your skin is important, but I’ll spare you for now. For this article, it matters because it helps me feel good on the inside. When I spend 5 minutes washing my face, applying serum, and putting on moisturizer, I do it knowing that I’m doing something entirely to take care of myself. This practice will only benefit me in the long run. The added bonus is your skin feeling and looking healthy!
Making my bed
Tidying my bed satisfies the same part of my brain that enjoys my skincare routine. I’m also very much a clean space = clean brain type of person. It helps me get close to achieving peace of mind amidst all this chaos when I look at my room and see a nicely made bed. This is, even more, the case since I’m now spending at least 80% of my time there. It’s a small step you can take if anything else feels like too much effort. Even if you want to spend all day in your bed, it might help you feel better to spend all day in a freshly made bed. I like to make a plate of snacks and pretend I’m in a hotel ordering room service.