March 16, 2020

Life Lately | How I'm Coping with Stress


I consider myself to be someone who handles stress pretty well and I deal with an "average" amount in my personal and professional life (the exception being last year, of course). But for the first time in a really long time, I found myself feeling extremely anxious this past week and that's not a word I use lightly or often. Emery Lord summed up it up perfectly for me: "Some people need to cool it a tiny bit; some people need to take it more seriously, and somehow I am both of those people at all times." This has been me these last two weeks! I'm being mindful by washing my hands, not touching my face (which is a lot harder than I realized) and using hand sanitizer. I didn't panic shop but I did stock up by visiting multiple grocery stores because everyone else was panic-buying so I didn't want to be without necessities when needed or if I work from home longer than a week. My job, as of this morning, announced that we'd all be working from home until further notice which I'm happy about. I live alone so there's no one here to potentially infect but I usually visit my dad and family twice a week and he's elderly with pre-existing conditions (I'm staying away for now). I'm limiting my outside time but I did get brunch on Saturday with my cousins because I needed normalcy, except now I feel like I should limit myself to home as much as possible. It's all these thoughts swirling in my head on repeat as I read up on the news and chat with friends and cousins (many of whom are nurses). And I'm not just scared for me. I'm worried for those who could accidentally be harmed by my actions if I'm not careful enough. It's just a lot to deal with and who knows how long we'll have to deal with it either.

Whenever I do feel stressed, I have some tried and true things that work for me. I'm not good at sitting on my feelings and usually doing something (anything!) helps me cope and work through it.

1. Cleaning and nesting
Who says nesting is only applicable to pregnant women? I am a huge nester! I've been going through my kitchen, all the drawers and every closet in my apartment, my bedroom and more to de-clutter or set aside items for donation. As you know, I love to decorate but usually that means adding on to what's already there instead of taking a step back and simplifying. I was actually really inspired by my cousin's new townhouse when I visited her in LA. She and her husband are admittedly too minimalist for me but it did get me looking at my apartment with fresh eyes. I simplified some of the art in my bedroom and I'm swapping out the art in my dining/office area now (prints should be arriving from Minted and Society6 soon!). I bought new cooking and dinner ware. I set aside piles of clothes. I put more stuff into storage and threw out a bunch too. I'm paying way more attention to my plants. The way I look at it is: my apartment is very much my sanctuary and if I'm going to be here even more than usual, I might as well do my best to make it a happy and peaceful space.

2. Binge reading 
If you aren't a bookworm already, I can't think of a better time to start reading more books. For Paranormal Book Club, we're rereading the Sweet Evil trilogy at the moment and I'm already on book 2. I always have books lined up to read but I'm more appreciative than ever of the escape they provide me with.

3. Netflix, Hulu and all the streaming TV
I'm also a big TV binger and I have a feeling I'll be leaning into that habit even more. I recently finished Altered Carbon Season 2 and Raising Dion (both were excellent!) and I can't wait to find something new to watch. Plus, I'm still keeping up with my "live" shows such as This Is Us and Grey's Anatomy.

4. Download food and grocery delivery apps
This is the only non-"tried and true" item on my list today and it's specific to what's happening in the world right now. It seems like such a small thing but I downloaded DoorDash, Instacart and UberEats (I already had Seamless) over the weekend and it provided me with a bit of relief. I can only take my own cooking for so long (not to mention my kitchen can only fit a half-size fridge), so with my plan to avoid restaurants for a while this is a great alternative. Also, the grocery delivery is super handy! This entire past weekend I kept telling myself I would wake up extra early to get to the store as it opened and unsurprisingly, I chose to sleep in instead. I already have an Instacart delivery coming on Thursday.

5. I love puzzles (of all kinds)
About 1.5 years ago, I rediscovered my love of jigsaw puzzles. I was really unhappy with work at the time (who am I kidding, I still am) and I found that jigsaw puzzles were a great way to turn my brain off. I haven't bought any recently because I had accumulated so many with no where to put them. But then I found jigsaw puzzle apps for my iPad and I recently got into the NYTimes mini-crosswords. Still, I think I may buy an actual 1000-piece puzzle soon.

6. Talk it out as much as you need to
Even though a lot of my conversations in person and over text lately have been about the coronavirus/COVID-19, I personally find comfort in talking to friends and family about it. Whether it's to discuss what we've heard in the news, our own feelings on the matter or just checking in to make sure the other is okay, I always feel better after I let out my feelings. I think if I were to bottle up my stress, I'd feel much worse. I'm not someone who will necessarily post their feelings on social media, but I am quick to text my best friends to say, "I feel this way" or "Am I being crazy?" and it goes a long way.


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What are you doing to keep yourselves occupied and safe?

1 comment

  1. I feel you Rachel! I can handle stress really well but over the last month things accumulated in my life - most of them positive but still stressful. I try to take deep breaths and move on step by step. I hope this will pass quickly but until this happens I try to stay indoors as much as possible with a dog and read as much as I can.
    Keep safe

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