As I sit and write this, it is the year 2020 and the month of May. We have been in a state-wide quarantine order since March-something. It’s been a wild ride of crazy emotions, but one thing that has gotten me through has been the ability to find small moments of zen to keep me grounded and staying sane.
Everyone is experiencing this thing differently. There’s no right or wrong way to get through a pandemic, but if you’re looking for some tips to find some zen amongst all this chaos, I’m tossing three your way.
BASKING IN THE UNFILTERED GLORY OF OUTSIDE
If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen my daily series “Unfiltered Zen‘– a segment where I capture my favorite little moments of outside complete with NO dramatics. No filters, no music, just raw and real, up-close and personal.
Taking an hour to just walk around my neighborhood has been life-saving for me. If I’m in the house all day everyday, I find myself worrying about things I cannot control. If I have too much time to ponder, a future that I’m somewhat uncertain of, I get worked up unnecessarily. Taking the walk forces me to be present. I try to pay attention to the sounds I’m hearing, my feet hitting the pavement and the sights around me — that I would otherwise ignore.
PS: If you’ve been going for walks in your hood… is it just me or have birds always been this loud? 🙂
If you’re struggling with staying present, I suggest taking a walk outside. I don’t know about your state, but in California they encourage walks outside. Just make sure you’re keeping your six feet, boo!
As you’re walking just stop, look up and notice the shapes in the clouds, the different types of leaves in the trees, the architecture of the buildings, etc. The simple act of acknowledging the breeze hitting your skin or listening to the cars passing by or the birds chirping in the trees, does provide a sense of calm.
If you really need to get out of your hood, being safe — hop in the car and take a scenic drive. A few weeks ago, I took a solo drive up the Pacific Coast Hwy (a super scenic coastal highway in California) after seeing a insta-friend make the trek. It was just the thing I needed to really lift my spirits. There are scenic areas in every city, boo — Go to the park, the lake, the beach and just sit on the hood of your car and bask in mother nature.
*Bonus, if you have a truck, open the trunk, lay out a blanket with the good, good snacks and have a cute little trunk picnic!
FINDING ALL THE JAMS
I’m doing quarantine solo, my family lives 2,000 miles away and I’m a single thirty-something living in Los Angeles. Sometimes it gets really, really lonely and music keeps me feeling good. I’m a music girl more than a TV person, so I love listening to music. I’ve had so much fun finding and curating different playlists for different things I’m doing. My momma and my aunties used to play Old-Skool R&B jams when they cooked or cleaned, so I curated a “cooking-with-somebodies-auntie” playlist on Spotify. It’s my favorite thing to listen to when I’m cooking cause it reminds me of moments with my family.
When I’m reading or journaling, I’ll find playlists curated by others. Soft Jazz for reading or Nature Sounds for journaling. A lot of people have the same idea, so there’s always a new playlist being shared. My photographer babes Taylor and Kristen have dropped a few here and here. And one of my favorite friends, drops mixes regularly here.
(If music isn’t your thing, then curate a watch list. Queue up all your favorite shows and movies to watch when you’re ready. Youtube even has really awesome scenic videos, that are super zen! I virtually walked on this amazing trail in Ukraine a few weeks ago, via this video! If you own a projector, you can project that bad boy on the wall for a whole new level of Zen! One that I’m aspiring to get to!)
RELEASING + REFLECTING
My OG online friends know, I don’t go anywhere without my journal. That thing is like a third limb. One of the greatest things I did for myself was really pour into my self-introspection. I use to let so many external forces control how I reacted to situations. Once I realized that I alone truly have the power to control how I repsond, my life has done a complete 180. I’ll probably write about my journaling journey in a different post, but journaling and Jesus has saved my life.
I think the biggest benefit of journaling for me is the release. It just feels so freeing to be able to get all the thoughts, good or bad, onto paper. A simple start to get the words flowing is simply to ask yourself “How am I feeling today?” and then let the words flow.
If writing isn’t your thing, try recording a voice note or a video or use a digital journal like DayOne, if typing is more your style. However you get it out, get it out! And sometimes, it’s better to tell it to yourself before you take it to anyone else. Our peers are going through it pretty tough too, so giving them a little grace and space by doing our best to boost our own spirits can be helpful. 🙂
I love trying new things, so if you have a few thing that are keeping you sane, be sure to drop them below.
Stay safe (and sane) out there boo’s. I know how difficult this is, so keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.