SELF – Men’s and Women Health & Fitness
Yes, what we eat is connected to our mental health and I don’t want to discount that—but if the stress of eating healthfully is making you feel like crap anyway, whether that’s because you can’t fathom cooking or don’t have the means to shop for certain foods during isolation, just eat the sleeve of Oreos and try again another day. It’s okay.
5. And wear whatever you want, too.
Or more realistically, wear whatever you can. Even if it means wearing the same ratty sweatpants for a whole week. Or month. Maybe you started all this out aspiring to get dressed every day to work from home productively, or maybe you have a whole collection of comfortable loungewear you feel guilty for not utilizing. Whatever arbitrary rules and expectations you’ve set for yourself, you can throw them out.
On the other hand, maybe you need to quiet the voice that tells you there’s no point in getting dressed or feeling presentable. If it helps, by all means, play with your look, wear awesome or weird outfits, do your hair and makeup or whatever activity might feel a little silly given your current reality. In the middle of a pandemic, nothing is a waste of time if it makes you feel good.
6. Use shortcuts to avoid creating chores.
In my first week or so of working entirely from home, I was baffled by just how messy my apartment got. How on earth were so many messes piling up when I wasn’t even doing anything but working, sleeping, and eating? I hadn’t realized it, but a lot of my small tidying routines had become casualties to the pandemic. And turns out, slacking on the little ways I pick up after myself every day (such as doing the dishes right after I use them) added up quickly.
Instead of forcing myself to stick to the same levels of tidiness that I used to maintain, I’ve found shortcuts. For example, I use paper plates and plastic cutlery when I feel too fatigued to wash dishes so they don’t sit in the sink for days on end. Or I stick to the same two “outfits” to avoid clothes piling up when I’m too depressed to put them away every day. If you can find a small way to go easy on yourself, even if it feels a little wasteful or indulgent or gross, it’s okay to tap into those shortcuts right now.
7. Be kind to yourself if your place is messy or dirty.
I won’t lie: I’m someone whose space impacts my mental health a lot. So typically that means keeping my apartment clean helps keep my mental health in check and letting my apartment get gross makes me feel worse. That’s still true in a lot of ways, but to adapt, I’ve been trying to be mindful and accepting of where I’m at. And it’s…helped?
Turns out, taking the pressure off does a lot to mitigate the guilt and some of the other negative mental health effects I usually experience. In practice, it involves a lot of talking to myself. Instead of seeing my apartment turning into a depression cave and immediately thinking, “Oh god, I need to clean up, this is so disgusting, I’m a monster for living like this, of course I feel depressed,” I go for kindness. I think (or even say out loud because, well, desperate times), “Of course my apartment is a mess right now. I’ll get to it when I get to it. I can handle the mess for now.”
8. Accept your new sleep schedule.
IDK anyone whose sleep hasn’t been screwed in some way by all of this. Anxiety, depression, fatigue, pent up energy from sheltering in place, elevated tech use, new work responsibilities, screwy schedules…pretty much every aspect of our new reality can impact our sleep. Some people are sleeping a lot more, some are sleeping a lot less, and some are cycling through both extremes. Oh, and the temptation of naps! It’s all there.