A summer quarantine was not welcome news. Vacation times, summer holidays, and family reunions… All cancelled. Now summer quarantine isn’t mandatory in The Netherlands. But it is suggested. Sander and I try to be upstanding citizens so we decided to hole up for the summer. And we survived. There a blistering week where so many people went to the beach that the beaches had to close down. People we knew went on vacation while we occupied our couch. We longed for our favorite restaurants but decided to eat at home instead. What helped us keep our sanity? Sander went to work every day while I stayed at home. So here’s what worked for me.
Out of all the things on this list, having a routine saved my buns. I got up in the morning around the same time. Then I walked the dogs, came back and had breakfast, and then sat down to work. I could only get up for breaks. At 5pm I was done and the rest of the evening was for doing whatever. This strict routine helped me fill out my days. And I spent my time being productive instead of being melancholy. I also felt more accomplished and at the end of the day I had something to look forward to the next morning.
Most of my summer planning was for food. We started to order our groceries online and it’s done wonders for me. I planned out so many tasty summer meals and Sander was blown away each time. It was a lot of fun researching recipes and finding Dutch equivalents of ingredients. It allowed me to get more familiar with Dutch items, the grocery website. But most important of all, I brought exciting dinners into the household. We had been in a dinner rut for a long time because Sander did the shopping and picked up the same foods. Meal planning allowed my creativity to resurface in a fresh way. It also made dinner something to look forward to.
And speaking of meals, I’ve jumped onto the intermittent fasting wagon. I eat brunch at 11am and stop eating after 7pm. It’s allowed me to eat healthier and stop after dinner snacking. In my fasting periods, I only drink black tea. Now I feel healthier and have more energy around the house. Also I’ve been able to drink more water and spend less time dehydrated. It’s been great so far. I bought a 1000g bottle of peanut butter and washed it when it was empty. And now I use that as my iced tea cup. I made Sander’s parents laugh when they saw it but I let them know at least I hit my water intake goals!
It’s been months since I decided I would let little things make me happy. The scent of my favorite perfume is a good one. Preparing a delicious meal is another. It’s been so long now that I’ve conditioned myself to get happy at the smallest things. And it works wonders. It might be selfish of me to do so but no one should be unhappy for months at a time. It’s terrible for mental and physical health. So while you can be aware of the world burning around you (like what’s happening in my home state of California…) don’t let it get to the point where you can’t function as a human.
We only have one life to live, please don’t most of it being unhappy about being alive. And it’s wonderful to think that people love the idea of getting help. It’s freaking 2020 for crying out loud. You shouldn’t make friends and family responsible for your mental health. Be strong and take charge. Find a therapist if you need it because we all need someone to talk to.
Please note this photo is from 2016 when we went sailing with Sander’s aunt and uncle. You can read about that here!