writing

9 Ways to Stay Sane When You Are Stuck at Home

Shit. These are crazy times, wouldn’t you say? We are uncertain about the future while grieving the past. It is causing us to live one day at time.

We are in survival mode: food, shelter, and staying healthy are our priorities.

Most of us are just hanging on. I know I am. I have been an emotional yo-yo, going from hopeful one day to suicidal the next.

Most of the time I can remain calm, but sometimes I get really scared, like when I think about the economy or how I am going to make a living.

But there are lots of things you can do to stay sane while we ride this emotional roller coaster. Here are nine things I am trying to do every day to stay sane while I am stuck at home.

  1. Write
    I don’t care if you are doing morning pages, journaling or working on your novel, writing will help keep you centered. Whenever I give myself time to put pen to paper I feel so much better. Even though I can’t express myself on a stage doing improv or storytelling these days, the last time I checked, writing was still open for business, which is what I am doing right now. I am so grateful that I have this blog to get some of my ideas out into the world.

2. Move your body
It’s so easy to sit on the couch and binge watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, but getting up and moving your body will really help your mood. You’ve probably heard that if you move the body and the mind will follow (the body is actual a lot smarter than the mind). The other day I put the Frozen 2 soundtrack on with my daughter we danced around the living room swinging dish towels around pretending we were the wind from the movie, and it felt amazing. You don’t have to be a parent of a 3-and-a-half year old to do this. You can do it with people in your house or alone. Put on some music a dance. Another easy thing I’ve done is taken a lot of social distancing walking (aka talking a walk but staying 6 feet away from other people). Just get that body moving!

3. Go on a media diet
I have heard more and more people saying that they are consuming less media, be it electronic or print, to keep themselves sane. Most of the media is in the business of making us scared and confused so we continue to watch it. I heard someone I know say, “I turn on the news knowing it is going to make me feel worse, but I can’t stop.” I’m grateful that I’ve realized that the less media I take in, the better I feel.

4. Create an idea box
If you are a creative type, like myself, you might be having a time creating, let alone focusing on doing anything productive. That’s okay. So instead of putting pressure on yourself to come up with art, give yourself a break and instead make an idea box. Whenever you come up with an idea for something you’d like to create, just write it down on a scrap of paper and put it in the box, and trust that the right time will come for working on that idea. It’s just not today.

5. Meditate
You knew this would be on the list. I cannot think of a better time to start meditating than right now. I have been meditating for 20 minutes twice a day, and not only does it help me calm down and stay in the present, but also it gives me a chance to get in conscious contact with something bigger than myself. In these times, I keep forgetting there is something bigger then the virus or bigger than how the politicians are responding or not responding to the situation. When I meditate, it reminds me that there is something bigger than all of that operating the world, and it gives me a short little break from the horror film we are all in.

6. Take an online course
If you are up for it, take an online course. Being in a class makes you feel like you are still part of humanity and helps you not to focus so much on the virus. I spoke to my friend in L.A., who told me he is taking a screenwriting class online, and he said it’s really giving him a sense of purpose.

7. Search for gratitude
It seems like gratitude can be harder to come by these days, but believe good things are still there when we look for them. Just like the world has changed, the things that I am grateful for have changed as well. Today, I am grateful that I am healthy, that I get to spend more time with my family, and for green grapes — three things I usually take for granted on a regular basis.

8. Have a sense of humor
I have heard that laughter is the language of the gods. There is something spiritual about making people laugh. I believe it releases endorphins. When I lose the ability to laugh at myself or at my situation, that is when I know I am not in a good place. Most improvisers have a great sense of humor and can make people laugh. We have a gift, and in these times, we are needed more than ever. So if you can, try to make someone laugh today!

9. Look for hope
Hope is something I have always had a hard time getting, in normal times. And with things changing so rapidly minute to minute, the world is not how it used to be and that is disconcerting. We have no idea at this point when we are going to get back to what we remember as a normal way of life. That creates a lot of anxiety, and if you read my last blog, panic. That’s why in these times I need to look for hope on a daily basis. It’s not something I’m going to be able to find by myself. Sometimes I go days without it, and when I eventually get it, it is fleeting and lasts for an hour or maybe just a couple of minutes. But the best place I’ve found to find hope is when I make phone calls to my friends. In the most helpful conversations, we share our feelings, our worry, our anger, and a little hope. We may never talk about hope directly. We may talk about frozen yogurt, or grocery shopping, but the hope is not in our conversation, it is in the phone call. It is in knowing I am not alone.

Most days my friends have more hope than I do, I will use the hope they are offering me, and other days I will even return the favor. Hope is one of those things that we all don’t have it on the same day. And in these crazy times, it takes more of an effort and more phone calls to find it, but it is always worth it.

Take care,
Jimmy

P.S. I appreciate you continuing to read my blog, and I hope you are safe and we get through this really hard time. Love you all.

2 replies
  1. Erica
    Erica says:

    Jimmy – GREAT suggestions! I am already doing some of them. They help keep me grounded especially during swirling, changing situations. A student of mine once commented that she now views her life as a series of scenes. When something happens, she says to herself, “It’s just a scene. And scenes change.” So whether it is a good scene and we wish it could go on forever OR it is a crappy, uncomfortable scene, she knows it has a shelf life. So enjoy the heck out of the good ones and breathe through the challenging ones. They’re all just scenes. And scenes change. Stay healthy!

    Reply

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