We are starting a series of guests posts with friends of hijulez.
First of all, let me start with I hope with you and your family are healthy and safe. These are scary and stressful times we are in. I send out my love to everyone directly impacted by COVID-19.
Right now, we all have different situations so we can learn a lot from our friends. Today we are sharing a post from my dear friend and poet Rosemary!
A little bit about Rosemary:
Rosemary is the most loyal human. She's so funny, so witty, and so spontaneous. She's nurturing, earthy, a really good listener and a wholesome human being. She's resilient and strong.
Mental Wellness During a Pandemic
By: Rosemary Xinhe
Self-compassion, self-forgiveness. I think one of the critical things during this unprecedented time is to ask yourself what self-compassion, self-forgiveness look like for you, nearly every day. Use a journal or a few pieces of stapled paper, to make a calendar. Even if it’s just “11 am: be out of bed and in the kitchen by now” or “3 pm: read for 30 minutes in a sunspot.” For me, this means that no matter what you spend your time on— mental energy, physical energy, whether or not you are working on projects or staying in PJs multiple days in a row, with Sunchips bits falling down into your lap— you have built a fundamental and non-negotiable contract with yourself that you will forgive yourself if you impose judgment towards yourself.
For me, having some minimal skeletal morning routine really helps, and keeping my sleep hygiene secure is a must. After my body naturally arises, I try my best to roll out of bed promptly and get on with making a morning smoothie. My sister and I then go to the park or track to exercise, or spend time in our garden. Hitting that natural light sets the body into a strong start to the day. Even if I have no clue how my day will look, which in these times is often, I am still committed to doing the best morning get-up-and-go thing for myself. At night, keeping my phone charging on the other side of the room, or even in a different room completely, is a life+ brainsaver. This sounds simple, which is why you will only reap the benefits of it when you commit to doing it yourself instead of assuming you can do it if you reeaaaaally wanted to.
As per work with my psychologist, I have discovered that it is true— keeping my bed strictly for sex and sleep helps prime my body to fall asleep more easily at the end of the day. If I do work on my laptop in bed, watch Netflix in bed, then my brain associates this awakeness, with the feeling of my bed. I live with Bipolar II, and since my psych ward hospitalization have been in psychotherapy for two years. I take lithium carbonate in capsule form every night before bed. For the past two years, I have had a community mental health team which supports me through meetings to keep track with my mood and mental wellness. I have been well since I started medication and working with my teams, and since trying really damn hard to care for myself in different ways. I started off with the self-compassion and self-forgiveness piece because I strongly believe that if we can start to shed our self-judgment through creating a new pathway in our brains that puts ourselves first (yes, this will take our entire lives, and yes, that is okay) then no matter what you spend your time doing in this pandemic and in the grander tapestry of your life, you will be fundamentally alright, you will manage, and you will continue to be resilient, flawed, and real.
Stay strong, stay safe, and protect the strangers around you by self-isolating! Love, Julez.