Give Yourself Enough Credit: It’s a Quarantine After All

by | May 29, 2020 | COVID19, Personal Growth, Self Care | 0 comments

I am, just like everyone else, my own worst critic. And again, just like everyone else, I am also going through this quarantine life during COVID-19.

We are all synonymously looking for ways to handle our self care during quarantine.

It’s easy to get swept up in the millions of social media memes and posts about people working out, getting in shape, doing virtual classes online, learning new languages. Honestly, by the end of the day, I find myself curled up in bed telling myself the horrific narrative of, “What is wrong with you? You didn’t do anything with your day. There are people out there starting their own businesses and you didn’t even muster up enough energy to take a shower.” No seriously, I have those days.

But then this morning, I looked back at my gratitude journal.

Yup, I’m one of those, but only up until recently. I started 9 days ago after I watched a Tedx Talk about creating new neural pathways in your brain to make you a happier human. A suggestion during my TedTalk internet worm hole was to write down at least three things before bed that I did which made me happy. Now, I’ve heard this before, many times, and thought it was silly. Then a dear friend of mine told me his dad did it for 365 days straight. Now I had to try.

I could very easily write down that my dog made me happy today or that I successfully ate two meals instead of none. But I wanted to try regardless. What was the harm? Just another thing to add to the list I felt like I would never follow through with?

Looking at the journal now, only 11 days in, honestly changed something for me.

Not only did I write down 3 things everyday for 11 days, I wrote down anywhere between fifteen and twenty things, and I was very descriptive about them. I didn’t just say that I took Luna on a walk. I wrote down:

“I danced with my headphones on along the sidewalk and through the streets while taking Luna for a walk, without an absolute care in the world. I felt like my true, authentic, quirky self. Luna’s face had the biggest smile with her tongue sticking out, just happy to be in the sun and chase after a stick. We were two very happy girls.”

I described the simple task of walking my dog and really put myself back in the moment to write it down at the end of the day. To relive it, and to remind myself of what I felt as I danced listening to whatever cheesy pop song I jammed out to on blast.

And as I reread these last 11 days, I really have not been giving myself enough credit for the things that I do every single day.

Here is a short list of what I found my days to be compiled with:

  • I read, so much more than I have in the past.

  • Every single day I have been eating my meals regularly.

  • I volunteered my time to make plastic yarn for a friend who is helping the homeless.

  • I stepped outside of my comfort zone and played music for others virtually.

  • I listened to TedTalks that inspire me to continue staying motivated.

  • I started knitting leg warmers because summer is almost here so why not?

  • I’ve immersed myself in my writing again. Every. Single. Day.

  • I regularly go to the park to give myself a moment to breathe.

  • Went on gorgeous hikes in the mountains.

  • I’ve pushed myself to be more connected with individuals in my life, both old and new.

  • I’ve made genuine future plans for myself.

  • I made soup because I’m a pro-chef now (let’s just say while I might enjoy cooking, I’m not exactly a pro so this was huge for me).

  • I’ve been bold and brave in at least one way every day.

There were many more items on my daily lists, but all in all, I could tangibly see with my own two eyes that I was doing so much more than I was giving myself credit for. Even if it was simply taking a bath or sitting on the floor listening to a podcast essentially doing nothing.

There was a common theme:

I stopped doing what I felt obligated to do and started doing what made me happy.

We are currently living through one of the strangest, and most mentally challenging times many of us have ever experienced. I am in no way comparing it to some of the other horrendous and extreme events that have transpired throughout someone’s life. I can only speak as a millennial that in my lifetime, as an adult, this by far has been one of those things where you look back and say, “I remember in my day when people scarcely walked the streets wearing masks and bumping elbows if you’re lucky, and not in the way you might be thinking.”

This is something I’ve said before, and I will say it again, and again, and again.

Neither you nor I NEED to come out of this better. We will get out of it. But we don’t have to do anything that isn’t exactly what we need. Nothing out of obligation. We just need to come out of it. That’s it. That is as far as your expectations should go.

Maybe today you dusted off an old record and finally gave yourself a moment to listen. Maybe you took a nap because your mind and body said, “Give me a damn break already.”

The point is, all of those are absolutely worth commending yourself for.

One of my days was just a list of various walks I went through throughout the day, ending with a Netflix binge of a new show I found. That was it. And you know what? I do not feel any sense of shame for that because it is what I wanted and needed to do. I didn’t spend the day becoming fluent in French or doing online courses to become a life coach. I didn’t think of the next million dollar idea or create some social media trend that would blow up my TikTok following to a million (side note: I do not have TikTok).

A little reassurance during social distancing.

And for that matter, don’t feel like you need to be posting all of the time just because everyone else is. We are all living our own stories. Just because you are scrolling through and see people at the beach, or having social distance hang outs in the park, or completing their next workout, does not mean that you need to be in competition with people for the award of “Best Quarantine Survivor Ever.” Because that’s just it. We are all just trying to survive this in whichever way we know how.

So at the end of the day, just be content with yourself.

Acknowledge that whatever it is you did today was because it was right for you right now. You don’t have to change the world, but do try to give yourself some credit, it’s a quarantine after all.

And if it makes you feel any better, I just got up while writing this to literally grab a handful of plant based ground beef and shove it into my mouth. I’m still a winner today. So are you.


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Meet the Author

Hey, I’m Lauren Dow. Author, podcast host, advocate, and feeler of the big feels. I’m here to provide a safe space to normalize the conversation about mental health and share about my journey of healing. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.


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