Sometimes You Just Have to Take Care of Yourself

4 min read

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Self care during quarantine
I’m not big on personal posts, but allow me this indulgence, please.

You see, 2020 has been weird for all of us. We’re living in a time that feels utterly foreign to most of us. There’s been one disappointment after another. I stay awake often scared shitless because this feels like the fictional dystopia… only, this ain’t fiction. I try to look at the bright side — protests will lead to social justice, fires will lead to awareness for climate change, a pandemic will prepare us for the next pandemic, job losses will make us think about money differently, loss of health insurance may force politicians to consider healthcare for all, etc. — but with every optimistic thought, there’s also this sinking feeling because all of this may just be for naught.

And of course, being a single, introverted, extremely private person also means that my thoughts are usually jumbled up inside my head, with no outlet or respite.

Often the things people do for self-care do not ease my nerves. I cannot take a warm bath and feel invigorated. If anything, it just makes me even more restless. People say that I should tune out the news. But that just makes me worry even more. I’d rather know it all and stress, than not know it all and be surprised afterward. I hate surprises — good or bad.

I don’t like massages or pedicures because I hate being touched by strangers. I have always loved reading books, but lately, my mind is so winded that I cannot seem to be able to concentrate. I tried re-reading one of my favorite novels (Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami) but gave up on page-10.

I keep dreaming about and pining for the good old days when life was… easier.

And yet, at the same time, in some weird ways, I look at my life and cannot help but think, yeah, this needed to happen for me to be who I am today. And then I realize that being able to feel that way is also a privilege. And that realization weighs down on me, makes me wonder if I’m doing enough.

Anyhow, all that aside, there are a couple of things I’ve done recently that have lifted up my spirits a bit.

I tried a face sheet mask for the first time.

And it was freakin’ fantastic! I don’t even know why it was great, but it was great. Like, for real. It didn’t do anything noteworthy. It didn’t make my skin baby-soft, nor did it have a glowing effect, or mega hydration. I have no idea whether or not the sheet mask affected my skin at all, but for some weird reason, applying the sheet mask made me a little giddy.

I saw a friend after almost six months, and we went for a hike.

With quarantine and everything, we did our best to stay isolated and inside our respective homes. But we’re both single and were going a little crazy. Ideally, I enjoy being alone. But these are not ideal times, and I realized that a big part of me being OK with my alone-ness has to do with me being able to go out to coffee shops, or long walks around the city, among trendy shops and restaurants.

I don’t like to interact with people much, but I do love being surrounded by strangers.

Since that wasn’t happening anymore, loneliness had started to creep up on me. As for my friend who spends most of his time these days playing video games, he had also begun complaining about playing games all the time (just typing it out feels strange; never thought this friend could ever get bored of playing games!)

So, he and I decided to meet up and go for a hike in the mountains.

It was fantastic! I hadn’t gone on a hike in forever, even though I live so close to so many hiking trails. The one we went to wasn’t super hard, but not exactly easy either, especially given my lack of practice. It was a three-mile climb, and by the end of it, I was gleefully exhausted. My heart was thumping, I was out of breath (had to take off the mask at some point and I did feel a bit guilty about it, but there weren’t a whole lot of people around and we were outdoors, so there’s that) and yet, my body felt amazing. In fact, I’ve started to exercise again since coming back from the hike and feeling better than ever!

I splurged on a MasterClass yearly subscription.

I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell. I love reading his essays and had been eyeing his MasterClass on writing for some time now. I’ve also been trying to watch my spending because, well, life during a pandemic is unpredictable. I already invested a significant amount of money in some blogging related courses (Facebook ads for bloggers is one of them) and some online classes on Coursera recently. So I really didn’t want to spend any more money until the end of the year.

But well, I was feeling terrible, so I decided to treat myself anyway.

I got my money’s worth in about 30 minutes! Seriously, guys! If you’re a writer and wanting to get better at your craft, I highly, HIGHLY recommend Malcolm’s MasterClass.

He reminded me that it pays off to be different. Sometimes we bloggers get bogged down by so many different, often conflicting, and sometimes even misleading opinions that we lose our originality and authenticity among all the chaos. Listening to Malcolm made me realize that I was starting to do that myself — be generic and a little inauthentic.

So yes, this rather personal and totally irrelevant-to-blogging blog post is my way of reclaiming some of my originality and authenticity. I’ll go back to writing about blogging and making money on the side again next week, but for now, here’s a little piece of me at my most vulnerable, me-moment.

How are you guys coping these days? Any self-help tips for quarantine? Share with me in the comments!

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Self care during quarantine

10 thoughts on “Sometimes You Just Have to Take Care of Yourself”
  1. James From Element Pack

    Really thankful to you for this article. I am a developer and I had to work day and night. That’s why my body and mind don’t get any rest. I really feel that I need to take care of myself otherwise I will become a big problem for me.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Maliha. I’m currently in the throes of turning my writing business into my family’s major income earner, and I just wanted to let you know that we’re all feeling such a need to take care of ourselves right now (and the intense temptation to ignore that need to our demise). Thank you for putting words to it and encouraging us to make it happen.

  3. I’ve enjoyed every post of yours that I’ve read, but I must say that this is my absolute favorite. At the end of the day, we’re all people who are a little (or a lot) scared, and we’re all trying our best. My new ‘quarantine hobby’ is cross stitch embroidery! I love it because it gives me something to do with my hands besides scrolling on my phone, and it calms me down in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad that you’ve found some things to add a little joy to your day, too. Thank you so much for sharing, Maliha.

    1. Thank you, Kaitie, appreciate the kind words 🙂 Cross stitching has a feeling of nostalgia for me. My mother used to do that, and she taught me how to do it when I was a kid. Personally, I’m not good at things requiring my hands… sounds weird when I spell it out but that’s just how it is. I’ve been going for long walks these days, and that has been somewhat therapeutic.

  4. Ahhhhh it’s so nice to see someone else as introverted as me write about life in quarantine. I’ve been joking around saying I may actually become more social once things start to resemble “normal” again.
    I’ve been pouring over my blog (it’s still a baby), avoiding the news and social media (which can make me feel even more isolated but I think it’s worth it), and developing a borderline-unhealthy obsession for comedy TV (i say “unhealthy” because it’s my way of avoiding reality and anything that may… dare i say “trigger” ? any anxiety).
    But I completely understand what you mean by not being able to sink into a favorite book anymore. I miss that too. It sucks that one thing that used to be an escape is just one more thing ripped away by shitty circumstances. But with all my shamelessly self-pitying aside, I now want to venture out and go to my tiny library around the block and find something and HOPE (good god i hope) to get sucked and addicted to a new story ?.

    Always looking forward to your posts,

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer! I’m sure many of us are developing some sort of unhealthy habits during this pandemic with time we didn’t have before. Even though I work, it still feels different. I have had to restructure my life and how I used to do things, and I still don’t know when all of this will change again. Will we go back to how things were before? Or will it be something completely new? So many unknowns, but well, we just got to hang in there and do out best! Thanks again for the comment and for reading my blog; appreciate it 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to know that the bloggers I read and follow up with are actually real, normal people. I’m an introvert also so I’ve enjoyed working at home, although I do go into work once a week to break the monotony. While at home, I’ve been taking the time to learn about blogging, catch up on journaling, pretty much figuring out how to write; pretty much figuring out how to navigate the blogging and writing world. Stay safe!

    1. Thanks for the comment and the kind words Gemma, appreciate it. I’ve been breaking the monotony these days with lots of walking around in my neighborhood and a trip or two to the local coffee shops that have opened up recently for takeout. Also, like you, I’ve been trying to improve my writing (hence the Malcolm Gladwell Masterclass). Thank you again for reading my blog 🙂

  6. Maliha,
    I love this post! Thanks for sharing this. I don’t have any new tips for dealing with isolation during quarantine, though I usually head outdoors and spend time with nature, when nothing else is working. Keep on being authentic and honest. It’s what draws me to your blog and keeps me coming back.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Lucie. I’m also trying to go out more these days, even if just to walk around the neighborhood. Thanks again for your comment, and for reading my blog; appreciate it 🙂

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