How are you managing your mental health during quarantine?
If you’ve been scrolling through social media lately it looks like SO many people are thriving in quarantine.
They’ve mastered sourdough, they’re meditating daily, they’ve crushed a new workout routine, and they are still wearing real pants every day. But maybe that’s not you and you know what? THAT’S OKAY. If all you’re doing right now is holding it together, that’s okay. And if you feel like you’re not even succeeding there, that’s okay too. Honestly, juggling my business, being a full-time momma, and wife, and maintaining my own physical and mental health has NOT been easy – and I’ve even had help!
In this video I talk about staying sane during quarantine. I’ll give you practical tools you can start using right away and we can talk through some of these emotions that are coming up.
Get the free meditation here: aimeeraupp.com/bodybeliefmeditation
Thank you so much. Someone said that “You look so happy and glowing.” I am happy. I think I’m a little overtired. I woke up very early this morning for unknown reasons and yeah, so hi. Today, I want to talk about what I think is a very important topic. It’s all about managing mental health during quarantine. Elizabeth Gavin: “I’ve missed you, Aimee. Haven’t been able to make it to your Lives due to my new schedule, but I made it today.” Yay. Yay. Well, welcome. Welcome to all of you. Yeah, you guys can tune in and tell me where you’re from, tell me how you’re doing, how you’re managing your mental health during the quarantine. I’d love to hear. I have a special meditation that I’m going to give to you guys in just a little bit to help you manage mental health during the quarantine.
I mean, let’s all admit it and call it what it is: It’s been a fucking insane couple months. It’s been strange and weird and hopefully not our new normal, but it feels like that. Life is really interesting and different. All of us are at home and having to manage what life looks like if you live alone or if you live with several people. I, myself, we also had my mother here for about eight weeks. She’s been going back and forth from her apartment to our house now the last two weeks, but eight solid weeks of my mother being here, my husband, and my four-year-old being out of school, and I still have a pretty full-time job.
We’re all managing in our own interesting way, but it’s definitely been intense. For me, it’s been a major juggle and dealing with a lot of guilt around not being as available to my child when I’d want to be, because normally, he has a life and he’s at school all day and I get to get my things done before he’s done with school and that hasn’t been the case, so I know a lot of moms out there, you could give me a shout out of the mom guilt is really seriously intense right now and there’s more screen time for them right now, which I also feel guilty about. There’s all sorts of things.
Even with my husband, there’s just more on him right now than normal. I have had the support of my mother, which has been incredible, but it’s also, I felt guilty about that. I feel guilty that I’m in my office for, today I’ll be in my office for almost eight hours. No, sorry, nine hours. Yeah, I feel guilty about that. That’s my truth and I’m really trying to manage that because I have a business to run. I have a family to continue to support and I’m doing my best to pivot in my business. My clinics have been closed since March and that’s a significant part of my income. I’ve been fortunate. I got a PPP loan and making ends meet, but it’s definitely been an intense time.
I know I’m just one person and I’m sharing with you my story, but I know every one of us has a similar story going on. For many people, too, this forced downtime has been very introspective. I think for some, that’s really scary and uncomfortable. I think many people have been struggling with depression or things have been highlighted, like anxiety, sleep issues. I know for myself the first couple weeks, I had very disturbed sleep. That is not my norm. I am such a good sleeper, besides last night that I woke up at 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM this morning. I’m usually a 10:30 to 6:30 or 7:30 kind of girl or 11:00 to 7:30, but my sleep was really disrupted.
I knew that that was stress-related. I was very aware of that. It affected my menstrual cycle as well, which many women, I deal a lot with fertility and a lot with women trying to conceive and many women’s menstrual cycles were impacted by this time. I think there’s a multitude of factors. It’s not living our normal life, so we’re not moving around as much. It’s the stress, it’s the worry, and then literally the containment, that it’s stagnating us, if you will.
I think, yeah, sleep has been a major thing. Generally speaking, most people are getting more sleep, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I think it’s very good for the immune system or for the resiliency of the immune system, but stress is impacting a lot of people’s sleep. We just have to flow with this as much as we can. I think now we’re, what are we, two solid months in? I think we are getting into a flow, but now things are opening up: What is that going to look like? What is life going to look like? There’s so many unknowns and that’s extremely concerning. I made a list of the things that I feel like are keeping me sane during this time.
Helen: “My sleep is disturbed.” Yeah, I think it’s really normal. My husband, too. I mean, he’s up, I don’t know, like 5:30, 6:00. I hear him. He roams around the house for a little bit, then he goes back to sleep. He’s fortunate work-wise, he can sleep in a bit. I think this morning, he got up closer to 8:30, 9:00. I’m just letting him sleep because why not? As long as one of us is up to manage the little guy, it’s fine. There’s been mornings, though, where I’m letting the little guy manage himself: “Go in your room.” He’s got a marble tower in there. I’m like, “Go in your room. Play with your marble tower.” The gate’s closed, he can’t get downstairs. “Get yourself dressed and come back in a half-hour. Mommy needs more sleep.” He’s pretty good like that.
Anyway, it’s a really interesting time. Our schedules are disrupted. Many of you, if you’ve never worked from home before, it’s a whole new ball game. I’ve been working from home for many years, so I know what that is like, but I don’t do it every day. I usually only do it three days a week. It’s just interesting. I didn’t get my alone time that I get on my commute into the city. I get this nice hour-and-a-half commute where I get to read a book, listen to a podcast, and then I don’t get home until everybody’s asleep. It’s just I get all this nice quiet time two days a week. I don’t get that anymore, so that was very disruptive to me, and then couple that with the guilt, if I want to take the alone time, it’s been a challenge. I’m sure a lot of you can understand and relate.
Then we also are looking at social media and all these people are getting dressed every day and still fitting in their jeans and accomplishing things like I did. I painted this office yesterday on my downtime in-between clients. We’re trying to do home projects and we’re making the most of it, but there’s also this pressure to take advantage of this time because we got to take advantage of this time, right?
But what if you don’t feel that way? What if you don’t feel motivated to take advantage of this time? What if you do feel depressed? What if you are struggling? “Yeah, I miss the variety. Being home so much has felt so disorienting.” I agree, I agree. Even getting in the car. I mean, if I drive the car once a week, if that, right? Our ritual always was Saturday and Sunday, we had our couple brunch places, our Aimee-approved brunch places that I love to go to and we don’t have that anymore. Seeing a lot of the local businesses close, it’s heartbreaking. It’s very heartbreaking. I want to drink some of my herbs. Drinking my Chinese herbs. A little sludgy.
Things that I’ve been doing to try to maintain my mental and emotional health, I think the most important thing is keeping up with a regimen or a schedule. Pretty early on, I realized I saw how out of sorts my little guy was, James was, and also how out of sorts our morning routine was. Our morning routine used to be very routine: We got up, we got dressed, we got breakfast, I made his school lunch, Ken got him in the car, Ken took him to school, Ken went to the gym and then he got to do his thing. We were all just really disoriented. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. “Having little kids, it’s harder to get alone time. I miss deep sleep.” Yeah, see? It’s impacting all of us.
Early on, I decided I was going to continue to pack his school lunch and we put a little hook in the kitchen and I hang his lunchbox on there and he loves it. He can eat his lunch whenever he wants because I was noticing he was snacking all day and that was also stressing me out, then I was feeling guilty he wasn’t having a healthy diet. It was just, oh, my gosh, all the things.
Making his school lunch, which interestingly enough, put me back on my morning routine, which was I would get up and I would meditate and then I would make my coffee, then I would make his breakfast and then his lunch, it actually makes me feel better because I’m controlling a little bit more of what he’s eating. I had to hide snacks, too. I’ve been doing that, putting them higher up because now he can get into everything. That really helped of having this schedule and continuing my morning as if everything was normal has helped tremendously.
Same thing with James, of “This is your watch time and this is your watch time and these are the things,” doing a little bit of schoolwork every morning. We’re not homeschooling because he’s only in preschool, so for all you homeschoolers, I can’t even imagine how much is on your plate. Then for all of you that want a family and don’t have one, all this downtime is probably just depressing, too, because it’s a reminder. I think we get to move in our life and stay busy so we don’t have to feel all the things. This is an intense time for that because we have to slow down and we have to let ourselves feel and I’m all for it.
I think routine is number one for me, so I’m trying to keep our morning routine the same. I’m trying to get in exercise every single day, which is not my norm. I exercise three to four times a week, so now even if it’s just a walk, even if it’s a stretching class on Peloton or a yoga class, The Well has great yoga classes or Peloton has great yoga classes, or I get on my spin bike for 20 or 30 minutes or just ride my bike during a meeting, I’m trying to move every single day because I realized my clinic days, I was on my feet for eight to 10 hours and that was a lot of exercise for me and I’m not getting that as much, so my body started to shift and I wasn’t liking that. We were drinking a little more wine than normal, so we’ve just slowly cut back and gotten back to our normal routine.
There’s always breakfast, lunch, and dinner, of course, and things are scheduled there. I really try to get my morning quiet time. Sometimes that’s in bed before everybody wakes up. Sometimes I have to steal it, like today I stole it in-between calls for 10 minutes where I did a meditation. A lot of times, I’m just cooped up in this office all day, so I bring my food up for the day, but I’m really trying to stick to my routine of making sure my meals are prepared, giving myself movement time and mindfulness time.
Then, of course, trying to shower, get dressed, wear makeup, things like that make me feel more normal. Full disclosure, I am not showered right now, but I did shower yesterday and did my hair yesterday, but I got dressed for you guys and put on makeup, because I plan to exercise later, so I’m going to fit in my exercise where I can later on and then I’ll shower, so my showers have been a little later in the day, depending on when I can fit in that workout and sometimes my workouts have been right here in the office. I have a yoga mat and I’ll pull out my device and I’ll do, like I said, a 20-minute yoga class or a 20-minute stretching class or 20-minutes strength class.
Trying my best to get dressed for dinner. Obviously, we’re cooking. We cook a lot, but we’re cooking even more and coming up with a plan for the week of like, “Okay, these are our meals for the week. This is what we need from the food store,” if we need to go, trying to limit our exposure to the food store. There’s just so many things.
Again, the ritual. To me, it’s the morning routine, the time for the mindfulness, the time for the movement, getting showered, getting dressed, wearing makeup, putting on something nice, I’m still doing my Rent the Runway because I’m like, “Well, these are fun dresses and I’m just going to wear them, even if I’m at home all day.” I don’t care. I’m going to still get dressed. I’m still going to feel good about myself. It still makes me feel like I’m engaged in this thing called life, even if it’s very limited right now.
Another thing that I think is super-duper important is community. I have scheduled calls with all my different sets of friends and that’s been fun. I’m only working right now three days a week, giving myself my two clinic days where I would normally be in the clinic as days off. If I need to do a call here and there, I can. I get more time with James, which feels really good to me and I have a lot less guilt around that.
Then I also get time to go for a morning walk. I’ll let him watch his shows, his dad’s there doing work, I go out and I get a nice four-mile walk in and I’ll call a friend. That has been phenomenal because they need the support, I need the support. It feels really good to deeply connect with my people. I’m not a big phone person. Those of you who are close friends of mine, you know I strongly dislike talking on the phone. It’s just because I talk all day long, I’m just so sick of my voice by the end of the day and it’s just, talking is just too much for me. I am the person that people get annoyed with because I don’t call back or I’d rather do a voice text or that kind of thing.
But that’s changed. I’m getting on my Friday night Zoom calls with my girls from high school and then there’s a Westport moms group that we’re, we’re doing calls and my girls from the city, I have friends all over the place. Just connecting more with community has been really, really nice and helpful.
I think ultimately, too, for me, and I think for many of us, is using this time… Let me just see, “It’s really been hard on my mental health,” Lacey says. “What are you doing to maintain or form a new routine?” Right, “I felt that shift to when I stopped commuting and started working from home. I hadn’t realized how much the walking was important for me.” “Dinner parties on Google Hangouts.” “I’m a teacher, so more work equals less routine, which is normally fine, but I may need to create more routine this summer getting as much as possible.” “Finding myself getting angry when I’m seeing people not following recommendations, trying to shift, since I can’t control.”
Yeah, a hundred percent. That’s, I think, two big, important things that we should touch upon is everyone’s going to do what they’re going to do and we can’t control them. All we can do is control ourselves and how we show up in the world and you got to let that shit go. You do what you can do to protect yourself and to do the research and to read up on what is working, what’s not working, the testing, all of the things, because to nobody’s fault, but this is a brand new territory, this is a brand new, a novel virus, right? We’re learning as we go. I don’t think we’re going to have answers for another couple years, to be very honest.
It’s just being easy on ourselves and then looking at others and really trusting that they’re doing the best they can from their level of consciousness, even if their level of consciousness is, I won’t say I’m judgmental, but lame, very unevolved. I mean, there were some scary things going on in the world right now in our country and all we can do, though, is do the best we can do, pray, get spiritual about it, connect with community, find the support where you can get it from people that you love and trust and you do it your way. I still think wear a mask while you’re doing it, too. Do the best you can do.
For me, I’ve had to come to the resolution, if you will, or the realization, that I wouldn’t be community into my Manhattan office probably till September or October because I have to take mass transit and I can’t risk getting my patients unwell from my commute. There’s just so many layers to this of a lot of acceptance. Acceptance is so key. I think it’s key for any space we’re in mentally and emotionally is we have to own where we’re at and we have to accept it and we need to be easy on ourselves and we’re allowed to feel all the feelings.
Kathy, having anger, it’s so healthy to have it, let it come out, let it process, journal about it, meditate on it, get some exercise in, get it out. I noticed that for me, too, I needed some intense exercise because I was feeling really pent up and in my husband, too. I’m like, “Get out of the house. Go. Just go for a drive. Let’s just get the fuck out of the house. You need to get out of the house.” We’re doing that with the little guy, taking him on trail walks. Thankfully, we live in the woods and there’s lots of trails and they’re not crowded at all, we don’t even usually see people on them. It’s been very nice for us. Nature has been tremendously helpful for all of us.
I think even if you’re in an apartment in a city, still getting out for walks is still really important, just getting out, seeing other people. We’ve done parking lot dates, we’ve done some social distancing, like sit on the front lawn and just catch up with people, everybody’s wearing their mask and sitting six feet apart and it just feels good. It is odd and not totally normal, but just doing the best we can do from our level of consciousness and really being easy on ourselves in all of this, understanding that this, too, shall pass.
There might be a new normal for a while, but we’ll get back to life and we’ll figure it out. I think a lot of people are going to love the new work-from-home thing and families will shift and change, the dynamics will shift. The people who are doing this all alone, they’re realizing the importance of community and outreach and what they can do to feel connected and a part of something larger.
Going back, I think the routine, maintaining it as much as you can is really important. We’re still getting to bed at the same time, we’re getting up at the same time, I’m doing my morning routine as best I can. I’m still packing my son’s lunch as if he was going off to school. We’re still just keeping our day as close to normal as possible. I’m getting my exercise in. I’m trying to get my mindfulness in. I’m reaching out to community and to friends and talking to them and I’m trying to shower and get dressed every single day. I don’t think there’s been a day that I, maybe I’ve stayed in workout clothes all day, but I’ve eventually showered. Doing makeup and hair and just like just feeling normal, so important, the things that you can do to maintain your normalcy.
Sorry, Instagram, my battery is low. Let’s see. You guys, what am I missing? You guys have any input here, Instagram? I’m getting lots of, “I relate to that,” “I miss my deep sleep. Sleep has been disturbed.” Oh, I’m using my magnesium oil every night and even my husband, I’m just spraying him down with it. That’s helping sleep, although it did not help last night, but it usually helps. Same thing, limiting our devices before bedtime, although we are watching more TV at night and probably watching like one to two episodes of our shows at night, so things are a little off.
Then, like I said, every day is like, “Well, I mean, now that I’m only working three days a week,” it’s like, “Oh, maybe I’ll stay up a little later.” Trying not to let myself do that or catch it when it happens. The exercise has been a huge piece for me and there’s so many great free classes right now online that that’s what I’m doing and using those tools, I’m really taking advantage of it and reminding myself that this, too, shall pass, that this is going to shift and change.
“I’m learning to slow down more and taking more care of myself.” I agree. Lots more self-care, I agree. I whitened my teeth yesterday or the day before and yeah, acts of self-care, gave myself, I don’t know, a terrible pedicure, but I tried. Yeah, taking more time for us, right? Processing, seeing when I’m getting triggered. A lot of people, if they have family members that are staying with them that don’t normally live with them nonstop are getting triggered, so just witnessing all of that and just doing the best we can do.
Be easy on yourself. You didn’t create this problem. You’re not part of it. You’re part of the solution. Remember that. We’re learning. We’re learning. The best we can do is just witness this all, accept it for what it is. We are here and we will get to the other side of it. You continue to prioritize you because you’re really important and your health, your immune system responds to stress in a negative way, so managing that stress and getting enough sleep, taking your supplements, all of that so that you can stay immune-resilient and if you get exposed to this virus, you will get through it, right? Right.
All right, I have a meditation for you guys. Instagram, you guys private message me for the link and Facebook, we’re going to put the link right here in just a second, but it’s a nice meditation just about you reconnecting to your body, being in your body, and that’s what so much of this is, the slowdown. It really feels good to me to be slowing down and it’s causing me to really think about my life and reprioritize what is important to me: How much of the hustle do I want to go back to? Hustle’s ingrained in me and maybe I need to slow down more. I’m enjoying that introspection. I’m enjoying that time and thinking about what life will look like on the other side of this and what I can do to best support myself while continuing to provide for my family.
Yeah, Facebook, the meditation, we just put the link up and Instagram, you guys just private message me. We’ve been enjoying that communication with each of you, so private message me and I’ll share the link with you. Until next week, just want to send you guys lots of love. Muah, muah, muah. Be easy on yourself. This, too, shall pass. Take time for you. This is a really important time to slow down, to reflect, to connect as much as we can, even from a socially-distance perspective, okay? Love you guys.