A Guide to Dealing with Isolation Anxiety
Words by Kat Pither, Founder of Yogi Bare
Hey kid, you're doing just fine. I just wanted you to know that.
Whether your days are bullet point journals of organised hours and ticking off tasks …. Or if your activewear is strictly for comfort right now and all you know about what day it is is that it definitely ends in Y.
You are still doing just fine.
You are not wrong for not reading the entire back catalogue of Charles Dickens already, if you don’t start learning Japanese on a Wednesday only to be an active member of a Japanese Fashion Forum by Saturday. You are not wrong if your activewear is strictly for comfort right now or if you’re all zoomed out.
However you feel right now is valid
In these unprecedented times I want you to remember something: We have never been here before and absolutely nobody knows how we should be right now. How we are supposed to feel, how we should fill our time.
And so however you feel right now is valid. Don’t let social media or a news article let you feel otherwise. Let the waves of sensations wash over you.
It is scary. It is sad. It is wonky. It is beautiful. It is boring. It is gratitude inducing. It is life. Life is all it’s weird glory.
Never have we all globally faced a silent and equal issue together. One which doesn’t discriminate against belief or country. We are all rendered vulnerable.
We all have no idea what’s going on and that’s ok. Now is not a time for idealism. Only curiosity, improvisation and mostly kindness. Self-kindness.
Take each day at a time
There is a phrase often found in recovery: take each day at a time. This has never felt more apt.
As someone who does the Rumba regularly with anxiety, I know that my experiences in managing it are something I need to share right now in the hope that maybe they meet eyes that need to see them. Like bringing a basket of freshly baked cookies to a new neighbour.
Because you see, this might be the first time you’ve experienced anxiety or unsettled feelings.
Our life outside is one big distracting puppy. We are constantly distracted, chasing, fetching, racing. And now we have to heel. To stop and actually be with our feelings.
Be kind to yourself
Let's forget about if we are doing isolation “right”. Lets forget comparison or seeking a perfect quarantine where we emerge as a hand standing, cross fitting, Russian speaking, well-read novelist with Michelin starred chef skills.
Instead let's commit to nourishing ourselves with kindness. Accepting our reality, acknowledging our feelings, respecting our minds enough not to berate them with trash talk and listening in to the intricate knowing language of the body that says move me gently, make me sweat or perhaps let me rest.
Because being mean to ourselves is a waste of this precious life we are all so grateful for right now.
Take that Regina George from Mean Girls voice out of your head right now. No one liked her anyway.
5 tips to help manage your anxiety during isolation
Here are some sweet and lovely things you can do that require absolutely no pressure to “be something”, “be busy”, “be more” … but they might just help you be you.
Make your social media a non toxic place
Unfollow any account who makes you feel on edge, triggers you or makes you feel not enough. Your life is too majestic to be coerced into being made to feel small for not doing squats every time you make a cup of tea.
Rearrange your space
Go all Disney Princess, throw open those windows while singing. Wash your bedding. Change your room around. Make it feel fresh and new, like you’re staying in a fancy Parisian AirBnb and your name is now Audrey. Buy some plants. Bring the outside in. Plants to nurture, plants to love.
Reevaluate what matters most
Instead of focusing on the concept of letting go and radical chopping things and habits out of your life. Why don’t you reframe it as a super positive? What do you absolutely love about your life? What are you surprised you miss and really matters to you? And what did you used to not be able to live without that you’ve barely given a second thought (looking at you Starbucks). Beyond this we will be living much simpler lives full of meaningful moments and things that bring us true joy.
Make yourself some Spotify playlists
Don’t underestimate the power of music for different moods. Relaxed, happy or nostalgic pop punk or 90’s R&B throwbacks for those wobbly moments. Play it loud. Play it proud. Music has a profound effect on our mood. Maybe even make them for friends and share with each other.
In a time when technology is really coming into its own as our portal to each other and the outside world, be mindful that it is ok to feel overwhelmed and burnt out by our phones and laptop screens. You don’t have to do every yoga class. You don’t have to be at a virtual pub every evening. You don’t have to overcommit yourself. It's ok to turn it off and set yourself some boundaries.
But whatever you choose to do. You are doing it just right. Just as you are.