This is everything I know about getting out of a bad pandemic mood and freelance writing

On a good day I’m happy that if I have to be on lockdown, at least I’m quarantining with my three favorite people and this is happening at a time when my kids are old enough to make their own cereal and not so old they think everything I say is idiotic.

On a bad day I’m still in my robe at 11 am and I hate everything, including the fact that my robe doesn’t have pockets and I’m crying because there’s no visible floor space in my kid’s room and I’ve been begging her to let me help her clean it for days, and now she’s finally asking for my assistance but I just don’t have the energy for it right now.

On good days I say I’m going to make a list of all my mood-lifting tricks but then I decide not to because I’m feeling fine and I probably will be for days, so why would I need that list anyway.

On bad days, I can’t remember any of the tricks I would have put on the list and it doesn’t matter anyway because none of them can make coronavirus go away.

In no particular order, here is a non-comprehensive list of things you can (probably) do right now to feel better if you’re in a quarantine funk:

1| Move. This one is definitely dose-dependent but something is always better than nothing. Sometimes I stop and do 8 pushups or 20 squats. Once I took a kettlebell into the backyard and did some strength stuff for 10 minutes. Sometimes I set a timer for five minutes and work on my (fledgling) handstand.

2| Breathe. I notice that my breath often gets shallow. It feels like it’s stuck at the top of my chest, especially when I’m online and super especially when I’m skimming an article or looking at Twitter or Facebook, I have 25 tabs open, and I’m supposed to be working. Taking a big, long, deep, intentional breath feels so good. I meditated for a couple of minutes before bed the other night and I woke up in a good mood. Coincidence? Maybe. I’d like to think there was a connection there, however.

3| Hug. If you have someone to hug, embrace them for at least six seconds. (Science says that’s the minimum threshold for endorphin release).

4| Read. There is no shame in distracting yourself from a bad mood. I’ve been enjoying Samantha Irby’s Wow, No Thank You (funny essays), The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (juicy fiction), and Buried Rivers by Ellen Mains (Holocaust/intergenerational trauma memoir). There’s nothing like genocide to put your problems into perspective.

5| Create. Make anything. Bake a cake. Write a letter. Draw a picture. Sew a miniature pillow using scrap material and some cotton balls for your kids’ baby dolls.

Remember the energizing project I mentioned back in April? I’m really excited to finally share it with you. It’s an e-book called 7 Pitches That sold: How to pitch stories editors love, double your income, and land bylines in top-tier publications

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