Navigating COVID-19

Navigating COVID-19

I’ve wanted to do a post like this for quite sometime now, however, what do you say to your followers and try to give someone advice on how to navigate this shitstorm if you are struggling yourself.

I have found solace in seeing how others are navigating this crazy time and implemented some self care practices that have helped others. I hope that I can be of some help if you are still trying to figure this shit out as others have helped me.

Isolation

The HARDEST part of quarantine for me is that I have been isolated in my studio apartment with my cat. I have had little to no human contact during the first 8 weeks of quarantine as James was considered essential and was forced to remain on site. Over the last few weeks I have been able to see him more, however it has been very limited. For the first few weeks I was just watching TV constantly and wouldn’t leave my apartment for sometimes a week at a time and then it was just to go to the grocery store.

It was so difficult to focus on anything – my diet, work, maintaining relationships. It just made me really think of what state my life was in and how depressed I was. I felt so alone and isolated. I would see what people were posting on social media of being quarantined with people they love and roommates/significant others and it was DESTROYING ME.

I have a really close friend, Michelle, who also lives by herself. We were going through the same thing feeling isolated and not having anyone we cared about physically close to us. It felt so good to have someone else who understands what you are going through. I began to look at it as a challenge. If I can get through this, it will just make me so much stronger as an individual. Being able to learn to be comfortable by yourself, support yourself, and be OKAY with being alone is a tricky thing to navigate. But people do it, and this has forced me to figure out how to navigate these times. This is totally different than being in a normal setting living alone – most people have friends or family they are around even if they live independently – but this is a most extreme example.

Hobbies

I am not a girl who has hobbies AT ALL. When you spend 8+ years in school constantly year round, it is hard to maintain that, work and having a hobby on the side. But somethings I do love is organizing, decorating my home, cooking, and just trying new things to keep my lifestyle as healthy as possible. ALL of the posts I have done during quarantine have been mostly food. Because what else does my life revolve around. I wouldn’t consider these hobbies, but they make me happy – and that’s all that matters.

Media

While I do miss having cable and running during commercials for a bathroom break, I am SO glad I do not have it now. There is so much negativity, panic, and opinion pieces out there it kills me and raises my anxiety levels to exponential heights. During this time, I have not watched a single news cast other than Governor Baker’s addresses (and the Governors of RI and CT because those are my regions for work). All of the news I have been getting regarding COVID-19 has come directly from these addresses or the CDC its self. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and press should be free – I think during this time it is most important to have FACT based information and reporting’s. I personally refuse to feed into the panic some media outlets produce in order to get higher ratings.

Mental Health

As someone who has seen a therapist for years, it has been challenging dealing with Isolation, worry of mine and my loved ones health, and everything else I would typically have anxiety over. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a kid and then when I was 22 I was diagnosed with PTSD. Whether you have a mental health diagnosis or not, this COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on most of the population. Those of us who have gotten our diagnosis under control have seen it fly out the window during this uncertain time and have had to adjust our coping mechanisms.

There are so many resources out there now that were not out there a few years ago. If you find yourself struggling with mental health UTILIZE YOUR RESOURCES! You are not alone, there are people there to help you. Digital Mental Health has taken a massive turn over the last year and even more so During COVID. With support from my family, friends, and health professionals, I have maintained my mental health to the best of my ability during this time. Some additional resources I have listed below:

 

Put your happiness first.

While this is something you should practice at all times, you should especially make sure this is your first priority during quarantine. You want to go for a walk, do it safely. (the featured image is from my “super secret, secret spot” as James calls it) You want to binge watch your favorite show all day and stay inside even though it is 80 degrees outside, do it. As always, everyone is going to try and tell you what you should and should not do. “You should try and learn a new skill or take a new class.” “Why don’t you try and be productive?” – Don’t let people make you feel like you are less than because you are not coming out of quarantine a superhuman who can balance 5 million things at one time and that this is a time where you HAVE TO pull your life together. It’s not. It’s hard. It’s scary. If you want to use this time to pull your life together and be productive, learn a new skill, or whatever else you decide, GREAT! You go and do you.

After reading this post through, I am not sure if there is much advice in here, but its real and raw. It is from my heart and is expressive of how I feel. It seems as if we are starting to come out of this craziness, but even with the phased approach that Massachusetts has taken there is still so much uncertainty.

Stay Safe and Stay Healthy. As always, thank you for reading!

XOXO

Tay

The Pictures that Hate Us

I felt so good in this outfit yesterday, so good that I had my friend Nicole take a picture of me after I took her to try my FAVORITE ice cream that neither of us should be eating because we are dairy and lactose intolerant.

After she grabbed these shots I took my phone and was horrified with how I looked. My face was uneven, it looked super puffy, my hair was not as cute as it came out right after I did it that morning, and I looked so overweight. I put my phone away horrified and Nicole and I walked back to the car and talked about things we didn’t like about ourselves.

I wasn’t going to post these photos, and quite honestly it put me in a funk the rest of the day. I went home after eating two scoops of J.P. Licks and ate a sleeve of Thin Mints.

This feeling sucked because I had an AMAZING day yesterday. I had some family and friends over for  a little get together with snacks and mimosas. We laughed all day and I got to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in the longest time.  I was so mad I was in this funk so I put on a funny movie to distract me.

Fast forward to me writing this post now on Sunday at 6:34pm. I just got back from the gym and was sitting in the shower because of how achy my knees are right now from whatever underlying health issue my doctors can’t seem to figure out, aside from my arthritis. I started thinking about not only this pain, but how I felt last night. How did I get to this point? Then I recapped the last three months to my self:

I completed my final semester of grad school allowing me to graduate in under a year and a half with honors all while still working full time. I had my second full quarter but BEST quarter at my new-ish job, bringing me to bonus and exceeding my ROI by 300%. Finally, I have had continuous doctors appointments including one surgical procedure attempting to figure out why I constantly feel like shit all the time, have achy joints, and unexplained elevated inflammation levels.  To throw a final positive in here, I also hit 9 months cancer free. #takethatcervix

All of this is a lot for anyone to take on – even just individually neverminded combined together. I was eating a little more when I was stressed but also was on a tight budget paying off the end of grad-school and it was much easier to eat protein pasta, white rice, potatoes, and french-fries to fill me up than healthy alternatives – hence why I am 20 lbs heaver than my goal weight instead of the usual 10. I entered into my late 20’s and my face decided to tell my previous skin care regiment to fuck off. And I just feel  like shit most of the time, and my doctors are trying  to figure out what is going on.

The point: I’m not trying to make excuses, just giving context. I let two pictures ruin an amazing day that I had, and for what? The last three months have been a lot for me and I’m finally at a place where I can focus on getting myself to a point where I want to be, both physically and mentally. But WE as humans can’t be so hard on ourselves. I can’t get that down on myself when I know why and how I got to the place I am. It happened, but now I am working on changing it because I want to do so for myself. This is life.

J says to me all the time when I ask him if I should lose weight “If that’s how you feel then do it.” I hate that response because sometimes I want him to tell me I’m perfect AND I usually use this opportunity to pick a fight. Let me translate this real quick – what he means is “why are you asking me, if you want to lose weight then lose weight. It’s not my body, I’m not going to make that decision.” (this is how he’s rephrased it to me those times I have picked a fight.)

So here I am, posting these photos that I wasn’t going to post. Why? Because it makes me vulnerable but realistic. I didn’t add a filter, I didn’t air brush or sculpt parts of my body I don’t like. I just posted a picture of me, a picture of me rebounding from the last few months that have been hectic to say the least. A part of my life I am moving forward from as well all do, all the time.

If you put on 10 pounds and you now want to lose 20, do it. If you like that extra 10 lbs and the curves that come with it, keep them. If you just hit 27 and your face has started to break out again like when you were 14, I feel you – I’m there.

Don’t be hard on yourself to a point where you let it ruin your day, or even 5 minutes. Identify it, Process it, Learn from it. Create a plan for whatever it is you want to change and how you’re going to do it, but stick with it – don’t quit on yourself, it’s the biggest disservice you can do in your life to first yourself and second the people who love you.

Hats off to all of us going through these fun times that life throws us. I am going to finish the second sleeve of Thin Mints I opened because… why not?

XOXO

Tay