Day 6 of 56: Mental Health in Isolation

Mental health! It’s important! We all know this! But a lot of us are sheltering in place! That’s rough! More exclamations!!!

Full disclaimer: I am an introvert who lives alone so I already love living my hermit life. I am also not a mental health professional, the thoughts below are what are helping me (plus some silliness), but if you need it I will always urge you to seek professional guidance. Always take care of yourself.

Another disclaimer, today was Turnip and I’s two-year anniversary of being together, but let’s be honest it’s the anniversary of me making a 13 hour drive with him screaming in the car. Tomorrow we’ll do a Turnip post, that also gives me more time to gather pictures. Cats make the Internet go ’round.

Anyway, here’s some things that I’m doing to help keep my mental health game strong during this trying time (seriously, don’t try to hand me an egg).

Take a shower! Regularly!

I don’t know if it’s just me and I’m just an oily sunuvabitch, but my hair gets nasty after a day. To the point where if I don’t shower for a couple days I can put up my fauxhawk. Nasty.

It’s easy to fall into the sneaky despair spiral. Don’t fall into the spiral, take a shower! If you live with someone, they’ll thank you. Even though I live alone and far enough from neighbors, the shower is the only place that I’ll full-on sing along to music, or even really listen to music, period, now that I’m not driving around in my mobile karaoke studio.

I guess this tip is a toss-up between feeling clean makes you feel better or singing along to your favorite songs is good for mental health. How about both?!

Open the windows!

If you’re like me, once it gets dark you close the blinds so peeps walking by can’t peep ya. In the morning, though, you need to open them blinds so your peepers can peep some things.

Since my job involves staring at a screen all day, one of the things they say to help reduce eye strain is for every 20 minutes of screen time look out the window in the distance for 20 seconds. For me, the same thing applies to keeping things interesting. I have a lot of squirrels and birds that run by my house, it’s always interesting to see things that are going on that aren’t on a screen.

Plus sometimes you’ll see some epic stuff. Like one time I watched two squirrels fighting and chasing each other across my yard. One gets chased to the top of this tall tree, goes to jump to another nearby tree and misses. Falls like 20 feet. Audible thud, thought he died. He gets up a couple seconds later, gives a cartoon head shake, and just runs off to do other squirrel stuff.

Chat with people!

I think this is the most important tip I can give right now. We’re all in isolation, it gets lonely, humans are social creatures. We actually need to interact with other humans, it’s just how we are. I’m an introvert and thrive in being alone, but every once in a while I just need some interaction.

Thankfully, we’re in the golden age of technology! If you’re working remotely I’m sure you’re using something like Zoom, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans, Skype/Teams, etc. for meetings and stuff. Do the same thing with your friends! Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Marco Polo… the options are plentiful. I actually had a Facebook Messenger video call today with a friend who was testing options so they could play D&D with their other friends remotely.

If you don’t want to do the video thing (or can’t), voice chat has been doing the trick for me! When I play Apex with friends, being able to just talk in the party chat is great with reconnecting to fellow humans. Call loved ones on the phone, video game chats, tin cans on a string… any way to regularly reach out to someone will do wonders.

And before you try to tell me to have a conversation with my cats, it’s not the same. They absolutely will not be able to respond in any meaningful way, don’t listen to their lies, they just want treats.

Reflections

I know there’s a lot more things you can do for your mental health. Unfortunately, it’s getting late and I want this up before midnight. These are the ones that I’m doing right now to keep up my mental health, and I’m sure as time goes on I’ll find more! We’re not even out of the first week, folks!

We’ll get through this together, it’s going to suck, but we’ll get through it.

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