Here in quarantine the months have flown by quickly while glimmers of hope have become fewer and farther in between. For many, January brings about more of the same: loneliness in the day to day, anxiety over what is to come, and worry for our loved ones who are facing their own hardships.
Any number of the world’s current misfortunes would be depleting under any circumstances and the bloated timeline of this crisis has exacerbated the strain on individuals immeasurably. At the beginning of lockdown I was reveling in my free time but as the months grew, the lack of a coherent daily schedule allowed my days to easily slip away into nothingness— triggering the familiar brislings of stagnation.
It is difficult to convince yourself to get up when your work can be done from your laptop, the same boring sweatpants are donned each day, and meals consist of foraged pantry finds. The allure of quarantine “freedom” has worn thin and it’s easy to feel like an irresponsible child left to their own devices— secretly hoping anyone will step in and give a direct order. Welp it’s about that point in this crisis where it’s no longer rational to keep waiting for this magical day-saving knight in schedule abiding armor. It’s time to don the shield yourself and begin fighting off encroaching existential dread with the very boring and very pointy sword of self discipline.
Often when I am attempting to convince myself to get out of bed I think of Bill Nye explaining the property of inertia and how matter prefers to remain unchanged— so an unmoving thing prefers to remain unmoving. Then I consider the flip side of that concept— a thing in motion easily remains in motion. I tell myself that the day ahead is going to be productive and full of small magics and once I make the first step, it will be easy to keep moving.
I start my morning by stretching and washing my face. I like to use a morning face wash with lemon or citrus extract to help brighten up my tired skin; it also smells fantastic. After applying my moisturizer, I get dressed. Since the beginning of quarantine, my style has done a complete 180 degrees now prioritizing comfort above all else. I adore fashion and the art of clothing but I’m no longer putting anything on my body that I have to suck in and sit straight for.
In this vein, I have worked hard to clean out my closet and make some new clothing purchases that help reflect this predominantly homely lifestyle that seems to be here to stay. I have stocked up on super soft tank tops from Aerie and a whole rainbow of leggings in varieties ranging from flared to cold weather. I have loved embracing this new loungewear culture in a way that still makes me feel chic and put together. It has helped my mindset immensely to make these purchases for myself, embracing my new lifestyle rather than remaining in denial and hoping that my old one would be back any second.
This part is where this “morning routine” becomes less about my personal execution and more about my aspirations and intentions for the months to come. At the beginning of Winter I set a goal to spend time outside every day in an effort to combat the darkening of my mood that seems to coincide with the darkening of days. I definitely did not meet goal to get outside everyday but I gained encouraging insight into the positive effects being outdoors has on my mindset and mood throughout the day.
I set this goal still and so far, I have been better about meeting it. Reading a book on the lawn or sitting under the moon with a glass of wine can do wonders for one’s state of connection and presence. I have also begun to implement some stretching and light exercise into my outside time— loving how the scenery of trees above me can really encourage me though those last couple sit ups.
Upon my return indoors I enjoy a healthy breakfast– anything with lots of fruit and a spoonful of peanut butter. Starting my day off with natural ingredients and some protein does wonders for my processing ability in the afternoon and it usually keeps me full until a late lunch can be found. As a long time dissident of morning eating, I can now say that it really does help in giving your body the tools it needs to get through the often hectic early afternoons. In addition, my morning routine of dressing and exercising before eating helps give my body the space to get hungry in the first place.
If you struggle with getting the ball rolling some days, it can be really beneficial to get outside, move around a little bit and put on something that makes you feel good to wear it. As we continue this painful adjustment to “new normal” it’s important to not forget the tools of the past that still can work wonders, despite our new restrictions.