This May, we’ll be exploring various aspects of mental health in a new series called “How Do I Deal?” As we navigate Mental Health Awareness month during COVID-19 this year, we feel like this current moment in time requires us to go a few layers deeper as we learn how to manage all the grief hope, whiplash, fear, anxiety, and sadness we may be feeling in this moment and beyond.
Originally published in Girls’ Night In Newsletter Issue #169.
By Carey Polis
Oh, hi, hello it’s your resident wannabe birder, back again to report not on the red-bellied woodpecker I spotted (but it was cool!!) but to confess something.
You see, in between the corona-fueled bursts of ugly cries, the constant financial hand-wringing, the relentless news-reading spirals, the guilt of not working hard enough or not focusing on my kid enough or not focusing on me enough or focusing on me too much, the concern about humanity in general, the babka consumption, the bad muffins consumption, the 25-crackers-in-3-minutes consumption, the soft pants, the awkward Zoom small talk, the spending too much time on Instagram psychoanalyzing acquaintances, the how-are-you text messages that you genuinely mean but you don’t know if people really want to answer, the hovering dark cloud that never totally leaves, I find myself… bizarrely, confusedly happy.
These past two months, I’ve been freakishly protective over the very little “me time” I get—typically between 9pm-10:30pm, after my son goes to sleep, dinner is eaten, and household errands are haphazardly accomplished. That hour-and-a-half is when I go deep on the things that are just for me. I read about minor feelings, I watch nightly episodes of a YouTube series on rural Chinese cooking (this article got me hooked), I text mom friends about preferred sippy cups and stacking toys, I scroll the internet for the perfect combination of dried yarrow and echinops to pretend I know how to interior design, I go down rabbit holes about Michael Jordan memes and the ERA and funky rugs.
Of course, this doesn’t happen every night—sometimes I crash early, sometimes there are bills to pay and life things to figure out and yeah, the spirals.
But when it can happen, those 1.5 hours give me the diversion I need to re-charge. #HowDoIDeal? I indulge in sometimes weird but harmless quirks that are satisfying to maybe only me. A glimpse into my specific bliss:
Some ‘80s & ‘90s songs I listen to and sing off-key while playing Tetris on my phone:
- 9 to 5, Dolly Parton
- Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Meatloaf (yes, I realizing the messaging is highly problematic)
- Hold On, Wilson Phillips
- Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-a-Lot (we’re in the truth tree, okay?)
- What’s Up?, 4 Non Blondes
- Jane Says, Jane’s Addiction
Ranking of ocean creatures in order of how likely I am to watch a Netflix documentary devoted to their subject matter:
- Giant squid
- Giant squid
- Giant squid
- Mantis shrimp (is there a good doc out there? I need to know.)
Clothing I definitely can’t pull off but like to scroll through anyway:
- Cropped sweatshirts
- High-waisted jeans
- Jumpsuits (I pee a lot? Feels complicated.)
- Blazers (just have never worked for me. I don’t know!)
- Anything that’s not clear how you wear a bra with it
Cheeses I just think about a lot:
- La Tur when I want to talk to no one and watch bad rom-coms
- Ossau Iraty because it’s subtle and deserves thought
- Laughing Cow because childhood nostalgia
- Sofia because I’m worth it
- Kraft Singles when I need a grilled cheese
- Harbison because I miss dinner parties
To be honest, sometimes I use this “me time” at the expense of more pertinent things that need to get done. But right now, belting out Wilson Phillips off-key can be more valuable to my headspace than crossing something else off my to-do list. What’s on your solo karaoke list? I’d love to hear from you, but def won’t be responding after 9pm.
What rabbit holes have you’ve fallen into recently when you’ve needed a distraction? Let us know in the comments below. 👇 Click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and be a part of this conversation all month long.
Photo by @careypolis.