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Anxiety in a Pandemic — Tools for coping during a difficult time

Dealing with Anxiety in a Pandemic

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What is Behind Our Need for Constant Productivity?

And how to learn to just be.

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Things I’ve Learned as a ‘Quaranteen’

4 Lessons from a teenager who’s been stuck inside for three months… yes, really.

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Why You Can’t Be Happier

And how to change that

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Be light

Selfcare and mindfulness poetry

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You Don’t Have To Be Productive During a Global Pandemic

A stressed woman sitting in front of her laptop, clutching her head, covered in post-it notes with various tasks
Photo: user15694850/Freepik

How to stay sane during the quarantine? This is a question many people are asking themselves right now.

The current situation caught me in the middle of a mental health crisis, so I know a thing or two about trying to stay sane.

Here is my tip, especially for those who already had mental health problems before all this mess began. It may be even a little counter-intuitive to everyone else, and the exact opposite of every other advice out there — structure your time, stick to a schedule, stay occupied… I think those pieces of advice are good. But there is another aspect to the situation that is not talked about as often. And I believe it can help healthy people as well.

At the beginning of the quarantine, I made a list of various activities to distract myself. It was a long list. There was a lot of stuff I wanted to do for a long time. Learn hand-lettering. Practice Spanish. Clean and organize our whole apartment. Maybe learn how to draw comics? Or how to paint?

It didn’t quite work out. I was so stressed that I couldn’t concentrate on anything.

I believe a lot of people push themselves into doing things right now because they feel that they “should” when they have all this free time, etc., etc. Advice like this is now all over the internet and it seems that everyone and their dog are sharing their accomplishments and tips for various activities. That can create constant pressure on the top of everything happening right now.

In the end, I kept a list only of those things that really helped me relax like reading or listening to music… and dropped everything else. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I lie down in my bed, pull a blanket over my head, and just shut the world off.

I still have a few activities that I love doing — like writing — but I don’t force myself into them when I don’t feel like it.

So: No, you don’t have to do everything right now. You don’t have to write a book or start a business. You don’t need to learn to knit or paint or play the bass guitar. (Please don’t learn to play the bass guitar while your neighbors are forced to stay at home.)

Just breathe. Just take care of yourself. Just do what helps you relax. And if you can afford it, postpone everything stressful that isn’t necessary to do at the moment.

Lower your expectations of yourself instead of pushing them up. And don’t feel guilty about it in the slightest.

And please — if you have friends or loved ones that suffer from mental illness and some energy to spare, reach out to them with support. Because when everyone is more or less anxious, imagine what the isolation and the fear do to your brain if it’s already stuck in a bad place.

Ask them if they need help. Or just be present in their life. Let them know you are here. We need it now more than you can imagine.


You Don’t Have To Be Productive During a Global Pandemic was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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adulthood life lifestyle personal-growth self-care

Why You Should Move Out

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10 simple acts of self-care you always forget about

It’s easier than you think

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How to Love Yourself When Facing Your (Chronic) Demons

These 5 tried-and-true ways makes it sucks less.

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[Action Required]A win for your future self

[Action Required] A win for your future self.

Here’s what happens when you write a letter to yourself to read in 3 months.

Image by Raphaël Jeanneret from Pixabay

Writing a proper letter now to yourself to read in 3 months is not a child’s play; although having a child’s joie de vie is urgently needed for this task.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

You read right, the best way to guarantee a win is to write about it now, presently deciding on its foretelling. Writing a proper letter now to yourself to read in 3 months is not a child’s play; although having a child’s joie de vie is urgently needed for this task.

Beyond journal writing, writing a letter to yourself is super cathartic, providing a place for your emotions to land as a gift for perhaps starting a more resolute future.

photo by djbagaha

It’s understandable that to write a letter to yourself may be a foreign plan. You just don’t wake up and think, “Hija self, let’s write a letter to you today, self” Why?? Why would you?

Well, unless you’re a character from Being John Malkovich perhapsIt’s certainly an object lesson in finding compassion for yourself and all the mess that may wiggle in your life as well as the mess that colors outside the lines of your life.

These days, writing on how you are and are not dealing with everything creates a space for your thoughts to breathe. This brings up the idea of gratitude. To stop and find a place for yourself now to write a brief or long letter to no one else but yourself is the most grateful act of checking-in I believe there is.

“A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.”-Billie Jean King

image by pixabay

So what happens when you open this letter? What’s the big surprise here? Find your letter, that you’ve stashed behind a photo and had a Google calendar reminder for you to open it. One thing for sure, you’ll forget what you wrote — 2 or 3 months ago, hence the beauty of having your thoughts, worries, wishes, and panics that were written down and sealed.

reading the entire letter in one sitting, with no distractions and reading most of it out loud, was the Win.

Today you’re ready for your own private opening ceremony. Akin to a blind date with someone you’ve connected with for months but haven’t yet met face to face. You kinda sorta remember their voice and stories and totally clicked, but now we’re ready to see who’s who and what’s what.

The moment I opened my handwritten 3-page loose-leaf letter, I started to cry. My letter, dated April 5, 2020, started with “Dear Felicity, I’ve been meaning to write to you for a while now…” reading the entire letter in one sitting, with no distractions and reading most of it out loud, was the Win.

What I read, it ultimately amounted to being caring, strong filled with self-love.

I was reminded that back in April — with all things considered, and were [are] dealing with: Being quarantined, fighting a pandemic, I found my way to myself. What I read, it ultimately amounted to being caring, strong filled with self-love.

Essentially, reading the advice and hopeful direction from past self to my future self is the ultimate win.


[Action Required]A win for your future self was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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