We all know that last year, and the year before that, and a little bit of the year before that…mostly sucked. I see a lot of articles, blogs, and Facebook posts that boast “healthy transformations” and “improved lifestyles while being stuck in quarantine”. I, however, am speaking up on behalf of those of us that did not improve themselves during stay-at-home mandates or quarantines. I want the story of us “normal,” scared, tired, angry, and confused people to be told and heard. People need to know that it is okay to just scrape by in life right now. That’s why I want to offer a list of things that help me to simply exist during what will quite possibly *knocks on wood* is the worst and most absurd era of our lives.
This isn’t just a global panini thing, but listening to and/or making music has been the star actor in making me feel like a meaningful, whole person since I was like 4 months old. It soothed me and often acted as a form of therapy for me when I was young, so naturally I carry that with me to my adult life. I could write books on how much music has influenced my life for the good, so I’ll just leave you with this: listen to what makes you feel comforted right now. Don’t feel pressured to change old habits. For instance: I fell back into listening to Jack Johnson, Weezer, and The Beatles because they made my childhood.
Duh, right? But with the enjoyment of comfort foods often comes haunting guilt of weight gain, lower energy, and sometimes even decreased self-confidence. As a 21 year-old woman going to college, I would go so far as to say that I am hyper aware of the body image epidemic of Gen Z and Millennial culture. I, like thousands of others, have gained weight during the pandemic and, at first, I hated it. I really binged on Mega Stuff Oreos and Hot Pockets because that’s what I needed to do to make myself feel “okay” enough to exist. Looking back, I really think that it’s okay. This weight gain marks the most depressing era of recent history, and if that’s one of the minor lasting side effects of it all, I think I’ll be alright. In short, eat that entire pint of ice cream. You deserve it.
3. Stuff…like, just stuff
So I was fortunate enough to be able to work through most of the past couple years, meaning that I was able to afford extra things just for me to have (don’t ask my dad about it though, he would not agree). #materialgorl Some “stuff” that I purchased that made me feel like I was doing an “okay” job existing are as follows: yearly planners just to *pretend* everything was normal, an Audible membership (not a sponsor), lots of nail polish, and various desk trinkets. The planner is pretty self-explanatory…it was a funny thing I bought last year to pretend that Life, with a capital L, was still happening. The Audible membership was so that I could drive around in my Covid-free car and listen to books as a form of escapism. The new nail polish helped me feel like I was put-together enough to do the regular day-to-day. And the desk trinkets simply brought me joy. The amount of dead houseplants that are still sitting in my room beg to differ…but that’s another story.
4. Social Media
Yeah, I know. But have you heard of escapism? That’s what I use it for. And I’m not talking about just doom scrolling on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter…that’s toxic. Things like Pinterest, TikTok, and even Amazon and Etsy are easy, less-stressful ways to take a break from reality. On Pinterest, I spend my time making vision boards and wishlists for the future, in what I hope is a post-Covid world. On TikTok, I watch creators who teach skills like bread baking, coffee making, and bullet journaling. I recently got super into #cleantok and #restocktok (if you feel like your living space needs help, watch some restocking videos…they’re good for the soul). Amazon and Etsy are both great places to look for gifts for loved ones (something that is sure to make everyone happy) or to make wishlists and help to organize your thoughts and budgets for your glowed-up future self.
None of these things are super unique or unknown, but some of them may bring you some comfort like they did for me. I want to reiterate that it’s okay to not be growing as a person right now. It’s okay to not know what’s going on, and it’s okay to feel helpless. I never want to hear the term “unprecedented times” ever again, but it truly is bizarre. In short, I believe that anything you can do for yourself to lessen the hurt of reality right now, is worth it.