According to the 10 year rule, I’m 2 years shy of being an official New Yorker. In the 8 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve gone out just about every 2nd day with the exception of the odd week where I might be sick or readjusting from travel. This is the reality of most New Yorkers given the plethora of activities and restaurants at our doorstep. There’s a reason why this is called the city that doesn’t sleep. While this is the reality of the New York lifestyle, the rest of the world is wired a little differently. Where I’m originally from, Sydney, Australia, lockdown is kind of similar to most weekdays in that there are limited things to do after work so you’re most likely heading home. Not to mention, space is a given. It’s no secret that space is not a luxury for many New Yorkers, after all, who needs space when you’re mainly there to sleep? It got me thinking about how other New Yorkers (who did not flee the city) are staying sane during shelter in place.
Going on day 50+ of self isolation, I know I’m personally beginning to struggle. My Managing Partner asked me in our 1:1 how I’m doing and how’s my mental health. Truthfully, I almost cried and then proceeded to talk through all the things I’m grateful for and why I shouldn’t complain. I’ve always lived alone in my New York life and I’ve always appreciated this because… well I had the luxury of coming home to my own oasis away from the hustle and bustle. Now this is all I have, sans hustle and bustle. As someone who thrives off of other people’s energy and is taking lockdown very seriously, it’s admittedly getting tough and the end is at minimum another 30 days away. I can’t be the only one in this boat so I’m setting out to find different folks in New York who are open to sharing their story on how they’re staying sane during shelter in place from the new epicentre of the crisis.
To kick things off, I’m sharing how I’ve managed to get through 50+ days of self-isolation as a single person household in NYC.
Morning Routine – Every day, I insist on my typical morning routine. I wake up, shower, put my makeup on (I’m on video calls all day and for my sanity I need this!), pick out my sweats for the day (nope, none of them are tye-dye), make breakfast (which is new to my routine, usually I just make matcha or coffee), Instagram story my breakfast / workstation (also new and worth noting that I’m a wannabe food blogger so food always eats first) and then my work day starts.
I’m fortunate that work is only a 7 minute walk for me so I’ve never had to factor in much of a commute. Now with those 7 minutes I can fit in breakfast and am really appreciating why it’s the most important meal of the day. Documenting my breakfast / workstation might seem silly but it has helped me count the days and I always add a song which is reflective of how I’m feeling that day. It’s somewhat cathartic and I kind of want to remember this period of time.
Violin – I’ve played violin since I was 5 years old and since moving here I have only played it a handful of times. Fortunately, when you start playing an instrument early in life I think it’s hard to lose the skill, but I was 100% rusty. This has turned into endless hours of practicing and video calls with my sister who acts as a quasi-teacher. I love classical violin music and spending my time practicing / learning pieces helps me step away from work and invest in a creative skill that’s been put to the side. Personally, there’s something very rewarding about this and I’m grateful to now have the time to focus on it.
Cooking – I eat the majority of my meals out and as a wannabe food blogger I’m on an endless quest for finding delicious (and aesthetically pleasing) meals. Obviously lockdown means I can’t eat out, but as a true foodie I’m not letting this stop me… I just have to make them myself. Every week, I plan out 2-3 meals I want to make, write out my grocery list and on Saturday mornings before the rush and when the store seems to be full of supply, I pick up all my ingredients. If you’re a one person home like me, you will want to half the recipe or you’ll be eating 1 meal with leftovers for the week. Every week I gain more confidence and attempt making something more challenging. I’m getting to the point where I’m really appreciating eating at home and dare I say, I think my food is restaurant quality! Ok, it’s probably on the level of fast to casual dining. I think it’s rewarding to see a skill come into fruition that I have never been that excited about that feeds into things I love. Shoutout to Bon Appetit and Half-Baked Harvest – I would be nowhere without their recipes!
Video Calls – What works for you now might not work for you in 2 weeks, so for me this is an iterative list that is subject to changes based on my mood, outside factors etc. At the beginning of all of this I was on Houseparty / Zoom / FaceTime etc. anytime I wasn’t working. It was fun until it became a little exhausting. Two things I’m craving more than ever is connection and making sure people are doing okay, but for it to consume my entire life outside of work wasn’t feeding me. So video calls now happen sporadically throughout the week and I rarely go from one call to the next. I’m starting to figure out a good balance of work, family, social and me time and part of that is reflecting on how certain activities make me feel.
Overthrow – My favorite workout is boxing at Overthrow and fortunately they spun up a digital platform overnight. I think it’s easy to forget how energized you can feel after a good workout with your favorite instructor. I know I did until I did his full class via Instagram Stories. While there are on-demand workouts available through their home school app, doing the class while he was live was the most motivated I’d been… maybe because you can’t really press pause, you just have to keep going. So I’m going to try and prioritize whenever my boxing instructor is live on Instagram Stories because being somewhat active while stuck indoors is important for your mental and physical health.
Doing Nothing – There are nights / weekends when I just do nothing. I don’t work, cook, clean, talk to anyone, play violin or work out. I just sit and listen to music, watch tv, read, nap, stare out the window, or spend endless hours scrolling through Tik Tok. Yes, I am a 30+ year old on Tik Tok and I’m not ashamed to say that it’s been particularly entertaining during self isolation. While connection and creativity are important, sometimes you just need to do nothing to balance out your day / week.
Like all things in life, continuing to have balance is important. It’s just a matter of figuring out ways to create this from the inside of your home especially if you’re a one person home in an NYC apartment. And while I am starting to feel the weight of this solitude lifestyle, I think it’s important more than ever to be self aware of how you feel. Allow yourself to feel that way, don’t be afraid to talk about it, and figure out ways you can direct that energy into activities that make you feel good and sane while practicing social distancing.
Before I wrap up, if you need help in finding some zen whether you’re in a five person household or one, check out Headspace. Governor Cuomo has teamed up with them to provide a special NY collection to support our mental health. Also, May is mental health month and Mental Health America is running a #MillionInMay campaign to encourage people to take a mental health screen to promote prevention, early identification and intervention. If you’re unsure of how you’re feeling in this climate or just trying to stay sane during shelter in place, it’s worthwhile checking out.
If you liked “Staying Sane During Shelter in Place: Check In With Yourself” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts from the Bowery Capital Blog.