Life is filled with uncertainty – now more than ever. No one knows what the next few months will look like – with COVID cases continuing to spike and the election still not being exactly finalized. It’s easy to get washed up in the underlying anxiety that’s buzzing around every corner.
Since moving alone during a pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time to myself. This is both a great thing and a terrible thing. I no longer have the option to pop into my roommate’s bedroom to mindlessly chitchat or jump in my car and pull up to a friend or family member’s house in just a few minutes. But I do have a lot of solitude living alone. I can sit on my couch and read for hours with no interruptions or I can leave dishes in the sink without worrying they’re going to get in someone’s way. I’ve had to be intentional about how I spend my time, because how I spend my time is how I spend my life.
While living alone in a new city these past few months, I’ve begun to take notice of what makes me whole, grounded, and secure.
I firmly believe that meditation is absolutely essential for a healthy mindset. Each morning, after I brew my coffee, I set a ten-minute timer and I force myself to be still and silent. My cat gets to go outside and my phone is face down. As the aromas of coffee fill my home, I sink into myself, force myself to breathe deeply, and soak into the reality of a new day. Of course, I’m not perfectly consistent, and sometimes I don’t make time for meditation in the mornings. I’ve noticed those days are often filled with anxiety, so I make an effort to meditate every morning.
Countless studies show the importance of working out. It produces endorphins, increases appetite, and promotes better sleep quality. It’s an essential part – and often the best part – of my day. Being in the habit of exercising is so important to me. Anytime I get out of my gym routine, I feel sluggish, frustrated, and well let’s be honest – chubby. Not to mention, fellow members of my gym are often the only people I have regular face to face contact with during the week.
Snuggling with my cat
My little fur baby is the love of my life and my emotional support animal. She greets me every time I walk through my door, bouncing down the steps, little squeaks escaping her small pink lips. She likes to sleep on top of me every night, trapping me with the warmth of her small, furry self. I rarely have the heart to move her limp, snoring body even when both my legs have long fallen asleep.
Facetiming a friend or family member
Being able to pick up my phone and intertwine my reality with someone I love always reminds me that I am not alone. I can chitchat about my day and listen to them do the same. Although it’s vastly different than being in the same room as them, I’ll take what I can get.
Taking a warm bath / shower
After long days, I like to soak in Epsom salt. A coach at my gym recommended it to me after I was complaining of sore muscles. It’s been such a lifesaver since then. I have one kind that is infused with lavender and another that is infused with eucalyptus. Sometimes I’ll combine the salts, and soak in the blended luxury.
I love Chick Fil A as much as everyone else – maybe more than some – but over the years I’ve taken comfort in preparing my own food. I love the whole process. Okay, well I don’t actually like the grocery shopping, but I love the meal planning, the process of cutting vegetables and potatoes, and getting the timing right so everything is done around the same time. And most of all, my favorite part of cooking is the smell of fresh garlic in olive oil. It’s so comforting and I’ve found that I rarely make anything without starting first with garlic.
Working with my Life Coach
After graduating college and moving alone during a pandemic, I found the transition to be less than seamless. I struggled adjusting to life post- graduation on top of settling into a new city where my social life was next to nothing.
I was talking to a friend about how I wanted some sort of transition therapist to shove me along in this process. He suggested a life coach. I did some research and found one that I thought I would enjoy working with. I sent her an email and she called me the next day. We ended up talking on the phone for over thirty minutes about where I was in life, where I wanted to be in life, and what I needed to do to get there.
During our first zoom call, I was nervous. I have never been to therapy and I imagined this would be something along those lines – she assured me it wasn’t. Therapy, she told me, is more like a venting session where individuals go to sort out certain problems. But life coaching is more of a goal-oriented process where you do the work outside of that biweekly meeting.
My first meeting we did an activity to learn what my core values were: peace, authenticity, and vulnerability. Then I did an honest assessment of how content I was with each area of my life, and she asked me what I could do to improve the areas that were lowly scored.
Since meeting with her, we’ve talked a lot about my dreams and aspirations to be a freelancer, my transitioning from college into the “real world” during a pandemic, and how I can form and stick to healthy habits that keep me grounded.
I know life coaching isn’t for everyone, but it has certainly been for me during this season of my life.
What are some ways that help you stay grounded?