These days survival looks different than last week. The health crisis we are ALL in right now is presenting us with at least a double challenge. As someone struggling with mental illness, I realize that it is taking extra effort to stay away from spiraling into a vortex that is very hard to come back from. My usual go to websites and blogs are all bleak and sterile – I am not saying that it is unwarranted but still …, TV is a no go, unless it’s Netflix, the family is getting antsy and on edge and we haven’t even been isolated completely yet. Here is what keeps me sane in a world that was bustling around me until a few days ago and has now suddenly turned silent, ducking from the hidden threat of a potentially deadly virus.

Connection – always vital for me but more so now. I am using my unwillingly freed time now to call people I have not been in touch with for a long time, checking in with my friends, family and people in need, offering to help in any way that I can. I was reading in one article today that maybe, just maybe, this crisis will make us realise how important we actually are to each other. I sure hope so! One thing that has me feeling depressed these days is my impotence. We don’t know what is coming, we don’t know how to help, we can’t meet people, what can we do? Here is one action point you can easily do today: find your most trusted charity supporting doctors and health systems in your country and donate. For me, in Romania, where I am from, it is this.

Body health – I continue to work out daily even though my mind is telling me constantly that there is no use. Typical depression messaging. DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING. As Glennon Doyle says, one step at a time, the next right thing will take us home. And I don’t mean a location in the world. So, get up and if the only thing you can do is march, do that. Dance, potentially with your family but alone in front of the mirror or in the shower will do. Oh yeah, shower! Daily. It does wonders for your brain too. Eat as well as you can. Don’t use this time to gain 20 kilos and binge eat every crap that comes your way. I know, it is VERY hard. Last night I found myself craving cereal and milk like there’s no tomorrow. Sorry … it just came out … Sure, make an exception here and there (I am making Pizza today from scratch – here is a great site for healthy fun recipes) but don’t let exceptions become rules.

Brain health – Find one (ONE!) trustworthy news source and stick to it, check twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. The news these day can be deadly as the race for the most views has not stopped. Keep reading (here are some ideas: Kristina Kuzmic – Hold On But Don’t Hold Still, Glennon Doyle – Untamed, Marie Forleo – Everything is Figureoutable – they are optimistic, offer great ideas and the general understanding that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS). Keep learning, watching beauty online if you cannot see it out your window. It is hard to not start a Netflix binge so if you are going to do that, choose light over crime, disaster and especially pandemic movies. For me, Everybody Loves Raymond does the trick these days. It is within our control to feed our brains beauty, health and wisdom instead of doom, crap and disaster. If you can’t bring yourself to read – because it is hard when anxiety and depression loom over you – look up at the sky, colour a mandala, download the Calm App and put on music, go to body health.

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