Friday, March 13, 2020
Alisa Zipursky

Like so many of you, I couldn’t sleep last night with my anxiety levels spiking around the news of coronavirus spreading. To redirect my anxious thoughts, I began making this list of totally free things we can do from our homes to soothe ourselves during all this uncertainty. 

I know so many of my readers are survivors who are college students who now, unexpectedly, have to be home with their families which may not be an emotionally or physically safe place for them. So many of my readers live with people who don’t make them feel safe, and I bet the thought of having to spend even more time with them is really challenging right now. I want you to know that I see you. Your pain is real and it matters. If you are experiencing a crisis, remember that volunteer hotlines are still being staffed including RAINN’s hotline 1800-656-4673 and online chat. If you need silly puppy pics of Franklin just DM me on instagram

I spend so much time in my apartment. I work from home, I also have some hibernating tendencies, and because of living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, I am sick a lot. I decided I could make use of all this experience spending time at home to share some ideas of activities with all of you. Before I get into the list, I just want to reiterate that we all need each other. While we may be encouraged to distance ourselves physically, it is really important to stay connected emotionally. Don't be afraid to ask for help, whether that means asking a friend if you can check in on each other daily, or wanting to create an emergency plan with someone you trust. Human connection is essential.  With that said, here are my 21 ideas of activities to self-soothe in our homes:

1. Make up choreographed dances in your bedroom 

˜This was my SHIT in elementary school, I had a dance to nearly every song on the Janet Jackson Velvet Rope album. The joy is still there. Make up dances. Just for you. 

Gif of Britney dancing in the "Oops I did it again" video.

2. Cooking challenges, Top Chef style

Choose some random ingredients. Try to make it edible. See what happens. Conversely, you can just cook what you want and make it delicious, that is soothing too!

Gif of Chef from the Muppets using a chainsaw to cut pumpkins.

3. Offer to help a friend, neighbor or someone in need in your community

Not only do we need each other and community is a source of strength and resiliency, being in service of someone else has helped me a lot with my own anxiety. It helps pull me out of my own head, de-centering my anxious thoughts, and helps me feel a sense of control and power in my capacity to support someone else. There are so many ways this can look, to checking in on neighbors, financially supporting people in need if you have the ability to do so, and organizing text chains filled with people to create contigency plans. 

a goofer coming out of its hole and looking around

4. Journaling and writing!

If you want tips for how to get started, check out this article I wrote!

Gif of Meryl Streep saying, "Grammar is the greatest joy in life, don't you find?"

5. Coloring

Color everything! Draw on paper, draw on walls, draw on your hands, draw on your sneakers like in highschool!

Gif of creating liquid color blots.

6. Obsessively groom your eyebrows

Just like get a mirror real close and focus on each individual hair and get the right trim, pluck on each of them. Just really see what obsessive focus can bring you, but be mindful of the over-pluck!

Maya Rudolph making her eyebrows go up and down.

7. Rearrange your furniture and create micro-spaces

Who says that the bed needs to be facing the door?! Invent your own flow! Even if it isn’t great, it’ll create energetic shifts in a space and make it feel a little new. I also am a big believer in making micro-spaces in your room or home. For example, there is only one side of the couch I sit on if I'm working, and I'll only sit on the other side if I'm there for leisure.

Ross from Friends carrying a couch around a corner and shouting, "Pivot!"

8. Organize that one, completely unimportant corner of a room or drawer

As someone who works from home and so spends a lot of time in my apartment, reorganizing and cleaning parts of my home can really help me feel refreshed in the same space

Gif of David from Schitt's Creek organizing merchandise in his store.

9. Read the stacks of books you’ve always been meaning to get to

My pile keeps growing and growing. It’s time to dive into it. Old New Yorkers I refuse to throw away, I’m looking at you.

Gif of George Clooney flipping through a book.

10. Commit to bingeing TV

Oh did 1,000 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy previously seem insurmountable? Do it. 

Gif from Portlandia of couple binge watching TV showing, "Next one next one!"

11. Experiment with big bold over-the-top makeup looks!

I want to see, DM them to me! I’m thinking that now is finally the time I could master the perfect cat eye. A girl can dream.

Gif of man who did his makeup just like his Huskie dog next to him.

12. Watch all the Star Wars in order

I recently did this with Charlie when I was super sick last month. What you realize is that all the nerd rage at George Lucas for movies 1-3 was totally valid. Those movies are awful. Watch them.

Gif of Star Wars characters dancing, including stormtroopers and darth vader.

13. Puzzles!

I fucking love jigsaw puzzles. They work my mind and my hands and give me a sense of accomplishment from a sedentary place. Don’t have puzzles? Don’t fucking worry! I love the app Jigsaw Puzzle that has tons of free puzzles. I end most nights doing a jigsaw puzzle while watching TV on my laptop and it soothes my soul.

Gif of Winston from New Girl telling everyone not to touch his puzzle.

14. Talk to a friend on the phone!

I’m 31 so I very much remember when talking on the phone was an artform, especially when we were like 14 years-old and you’d spend all night on the phone with a friend or a crush. Have some friends you check in with daily. Isolation is tricky, and we all need each other.

Gif of dog answering a phone saying, "Hello. It is dog."

15. Watch Youtube videos of nail art and attempt it!

It’s never ended well for me, but doing something with my hands has been really helpful, and I swear you do get better with practice!

Gif of painting nails with the words "Bloop" "Bloop" over it.

 

16. Use meditation apps

I like Calm’s guided meditations, and it can be helpful just to do a little 5-minute one, because more than that can feel intimidating for me. Baby steps!

Gif that encourages people to take deep breaths in and out.

17. Take a shower

I know how simple this sounds, but as someone who spends so many days in a row at home, taking a shower can really slip away from you. Taking a shower and really massaging your scalp and getting into scrubbing your bits can feel so rejuvenating. 

Gif of Paul Rudd dancing in the shower.

18. Masturbate!

It’s good for the immune system!

Gif of Mindy from Mindy Project asking her boyfriend if he's masturbating.

19. Style new outfits!

Go into your closet. Put on clothes in new combinations. Accessorize. Assess. It’ll be like shopping in your own closet and you’re expanding your style at the same time! I do this truly all the time.

Gif of Tan France saying "If you see capri pants, run."

20. Start following silly animal accounts online!

My favorites are DogsBeingBasic, WeRateDogs, AnimalsDoingThings, and BabyAnimalsInstagram

Gif of raccoon doing summersaults in someone's house.

 

21. Write notes to people you love, including yourself

This is such an important time to offer extra kindness and compassion to others, including ourselves. Whether they’re funny, or heartfelt, take the time to find the right words to express care and love for the important people in your life and send them in an email or text! This is also a good time to write that note to yourself and post it somewhere you have to see it each day. 

 

Gif of a dog writing a love letter.

 

 

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