This Pandemic Life: Self-Isolate More, Not Less

Memes are pretty much my favourite thing right now. I love scrolling through Instagram trying to find things to make me laugh so I can share and make others laugh without doing the work. I also really like doing research about COVID-19; I try to find credible sources that are sharing real, valuable, and truthful information about what’s going on, so I can arm myself and my clients with the best advice to stay healthy and safe during this weird-ass time. Truth be told, I am online WAY too much. Anyone else feel me on this?

I watched/listened to Elizabeth Gilbert answer a fan’s question this morning on Instagram, and it really hit home with me. In her 16 minute answer (which I highly recommend, watch it here), she suggests that during this isolation period, maybe we aren’t isolating enough. And as a self-isolating extrovert struggling every day without human interaction, I couldn’t have disagreed more. But then, after taking it all in, I couldn’t have disagreed less.

She suggested that our eyes and ears have no choice to eat up what we feed them and that we need to isolate ourselves more from the things we are forcing upon our senses when it is negative, or anxiety-forming or self-esteem crumbling, or negative in any way. And this has never been more true.

black flat screen computer monitor on black wooden table
Insomnia and screen time go hand in hand these days

Our senses feed our souls. Please read that again. Our senses feed our souls. What we consume with our eyes and ears is taken inside as perceived nourishment, and often it is so completely the opposite that it’s harmful to our health. But we have a hard time recognizing the signs. Or rather, connecting those signs with our sensual diet, if you will. We don’t see how what we expose to our senses can cause insomnia, but rather the opposite; When we can’t sleep we turn to our phones to get us through.

If you’re like me, you’re a fact seeker and or a fact-checker. This research can send your mind to places it shouldn’t go, and send your thoughts spiralling out of control. Not all of what you read is real nor can it be trusted, but it is hard to distinguish between the two. Fake news disguises itself as legitimate publications, but when the mask is taken off and we examine things more closely, it is nothing more than terrible writing with some hidden agenda; a wrinkle-free, botoxed version of the truth made to appear as true. However, the real truth is ugly, and it’s hard to find those flaws. There are also so many unknowns, and the truth is evolving and changing as everyone learns.

Right now, more than ever, we need to isolate ourselves from what is playing out online. The stress and anxiety of what we read, see and hear isn’t worth our time, and can negatively impact what is already a very hard time for all of us right now. Stress levels are high, anxiety is amplified, and we need to give our bodies and our souls a break. What we expose our senses to can be a source of stress, anxiety, insomnia, self-loathing, depression and so much more. Or we can choose to expose our senses to things that are real, that aren’t on a screen, and that drive positivity. We need to absorb less of what we are told, and more of what we do in daily screen-less moments. How can we do this?

By being diligent to our wellbeing:

  • Catch up on the news once daily from a known and reputable news source
  • Limit your screen time to a couple hours a day
  • Get outside safely, any way you can, and daily
  • Be diligent in filling up your time with activities that do not involve screens, whatever those may be to you
  • Connect with other people in safe and meaningful ways – deeper than digital

The world will not end if you don’t add to your Insta story today. You CAN make food without showing the world. Your walk in the woods doesn’t need to be recorded. We, including myself, can all be better at this. Our life is not a performance; live not for the audience but for yourself. Being in the present moment, living mindfully, can create deeper and more meaningful experiences and connections. Let go and live deeper.

apple tree
Get outside daily however you can

 

Being Off Booze

Enough said
Enough said

So I am doing a dry January. For those of you who know me, you are laughing out loud, slapping your knee and crying because me without wine or cider is a ridiculous thought. For those of you who don’t know me, you’re wondering why anyone would put themselves through such a thing. But for those who know me really well, you know that I have been doing a dry January for some years now. And turns out other people do it too…it’s a thing.

Usually being off booze is a real struggle for me, not because I need to be drunk all the time by any means, but because I love a great wine paired perfectly with a delicious dish. Because I love to try emerging craft ciders. And because sometimes all you need is a gin martini with a twist. Don’t get me wrong…I am from up north (like way up north), so I know that if you have to hike into that campsite, a box of wine without the box, also known as a bag of wine, not only travels well but will get you drunk and also makes a great pillow if it lasts through the night. I also know that the fastest, cheapest way to get drunk is doing a shot every once in a while until last call (aaahh…break-ups).

However, perhaps it’s because I have matured into a “classy drinker”, if you will, or because I am becoming more aware that “Toto, I don’t think we’re in college anymore”, but this January being off the booze is not only not hard, but feels just right. I feel awesome. I make it to the gym or yoga almost every day. I am not only eating, but craving healthy meals. And drinking tons of water has become second nature.

But why quit drinking, you ask?

1. Because Dehydration

Drinking even just a “couple” glasses of wine most nights will dehydrate you. Dehydration can easily put you in the hospital, and is terrible for all things internal and external. By laying off the booze you can help aid anything from dry skin, chapped lips, and brittle hair and nails, to stiff joints, muscle cramps, and constipation.

2. Because Horngry

That’s right…it’s horny plus hungry. You have a proverbial hard-on for all things starchy, salty, deep-friedy, saucy, sticky, cheesy, and gooey. Booze makes your body crave things high in both sugar and salt. Essentially, you are sabotaging any healthy changes you are trying to make to your diet, because you will lose and choose shit food too often to keep you on track.

3. Because “You Ugly”

In uni you may have been privy to the learnings from a poster on your buddy’s dorm room wall that he bought at the Imaginus poster sale that read “Beer. Helping Ugly People Get Laid Since 1776” (or something to that effect). However while drinking may make other people more attractive to you (and that’s a whole other pile of wrong), the truth is it makes you unattractive, both long and short-term. When you’re drunk you tend to slouch and stick out your belly. You sweat more which makes your hair look greasier. And regular boozing will eventually lead to serious wrinkles, blotchy skin, and just rapidly age you before your time. Before you know it you will be drinking to handle your own ugly, pre-mature cougary looking reflection, and that’s sad.

4. Because “You Dumb”

It’s true…think about it. You are smarter when you don’t drink. And I don’t mean you avoid making stupid impulse decisions or mistakes…this isn’t a miracle. I mean you are actually more intelligent sans the drinky-poo. Your memory is clearer, your thoughts are more precise, you have better concentration, and you make fewer careless mistakes. While some of the best ideas were once a drunk drawing on a pizza box (aka Trivial Pursuit), I will bet most of the best ideas came from a sober stroke of genius rather than a drunken shot of vodka.

Essentially I am not recommending that you never enjoy a beautiful glass of red again, but saying that it may be time for you to ease up on the reigns. Or at least try a month being off booze and see what happens. My prediction is you will be pleasantly surprised at how awesome you feel, and what you are capable of.

 

Please note that a permanent leave of absence from alcohol may be the best choice for you for many serious and complex reasons. Should this be the case, do not be afraid to ask for help.