staying home How We're Making Our Mental Health a Priority

How We're Making Our Mental Health a Priority

Paths to peace.
Paths to peace.
Photo by Getty Images
Clearing headspace is essential to enduring the coronavirus crisis.

The Virtuoso editorial team is gladly doing our part to help #flattenthecurve with pop-up home offices, homeschooling, and hand-sanitizer by the gallon, but staying healthy also hinges on being grounded (the good kind of grounded). As we all come together in common cause, let’s remember to pause and take a collective deep breath. We will get our world back and get traveling again, but until then, every strategy for maintaining mental health is welcome. Thankfully, a wealth of medical advice for quieting the mind is now available, including Dr. Harriet Lerner’s 10 Ways to Ease Your Coronavirus Anxiety, published recently in the New York Times (one of our favorite tips: stay connected). Along with heeding her advice, here’s a look at what else our team is doing to stay sane in the time of Covid-19. We’d love to hear what you’re doing, too. You can share your advice with us on Twitter

Plant it: Add life to your living space.
Plant it: Add life to your living space.
Photo by Getty Images
I’ve been leashing up my collie pup for daily, early-morning walks (being mindful to maintain six feet of social distance from passersby). It’s impossible to deny the uplifting effect of fresh sunlight on my face and the comforting sounds of my neighborhood slowly coming to life. By the time I get back home, I’m inspired to repot old plants and fill my apartment with flowers. This new ‘breakfast cocktail’ of light exercise, vitamin D, and green flora helps me take on the coronavirus regime one day at a time.
– Samantha Falewée, assistant editor

Right now I’m focusing on things that I can control, like getting out the tape measure to demonstrate to my son exactly how far six feet is. And I’m trying to let go of the things I can’t control, like that recurring dream where I yell at other people’s kids in the park for standing too close together. Tara Brach’s guided meditations have been in rotation in my house for a long time and the current moment is no exception. I’m also planting my garden. There’s nothing like tender snap-pea shoots getting stronger every day to impart a little hope.
– Marika Cain, managing editor
Puzzles can bring piece of mind.
Puzzles can bring piece of mind.
Photo by Getty Images
Months ago, I bought a few of Galison’s 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles (my favorite: the kaleidoscopic New House by Jonathan Adler) and suffered a lot of teasing from friends (‘How old are you, 80?!’). Queue a quarantine, and puzzles are suddenly cool again. When we’re restless at home (and tired of TV), they’re a therapeutic happy distraction.
– Veronica Rosalez, senior graphic designer

I’m diving deep into my favorite musicians’ catalogs and homeschooling a 9-year-old with delicious science projects like Bon Appetit’s two-day, no-knead focaccia, which also stocked us for nearly a week of panini lunches. (Next up: Thomas Keller’s 7-yolk pasta dough and Momofuku’s bo ssam.) And my daughter and I are naming the dozens of dogs that come to the park across the street. I suspect they like this new routine – most come to play two or three times a day! 
– Justin Paul, senior editor
Sleep on it: Bedtime tea and a good read.
Sleep on it: Bedtime tea and a good read.
It’s important to stay informed, but for my own already-fragile anxiety, being too informed isn’t productive. My solution: I’ve put myself on a news diet. I’m trying my best to only check in on what’s happening a couple of times a day, so I can spend the rest of the time present, working and taking care of myself and my family. I’m relying on the New York Times’ Morning Briefing for overnight and AM news, and The Atlantic Daily newsletter for afternoon updates. I’m reading books before bed that take me far, far away from our current state of affairs, which I’m convinced is helping me fall asleep faster.
– Amy Cassell, manager, digital content 

Normally I’m not a stressy person, but this situation is anything but normal. Our teenage kids are home (and constantly hungry) and we have multiple Zoom sessions occurring concurrently at different corners of our house, from work meetings and online classes to happy (and unhappy) hours and coffee meetups. Needless to say, I need a moment or two for myself. I’ve been breaking away midday for two-mile walks and also cooking quite a bit, especially dishes that remind us of our past travels (Greek salad, for example, dressed with olive oil we brought home from Santorini). Nightly me-time calls for binge-watching and baths infused with lavender oil I purchased in Provence.
– Melanie Fowler, design director
Your ten o’clock: Yoga for the homebound.
Your ten o’clock: Yoga for the homebound.
Photo by Getty Images
To offset what must surely be an unhealthy amount of eating, drinking, binge- watching, and online shopping, I’ve tried to maintain my regular yoga practice while stuck at home. “Yoga with Adriene” is a calming and straightforward YouTube series led by an approachable, laidback instructor based in Austin. I also downloaded a 14-day trial of Les Mills On Demand for its online BodyFlow sessions, a combination of yoga, tai chi, and Pilates set to contemporary music. I enjoy them so much that I’m going to purchase monthly subscriptions to keep up the Zen benefits on future travels – which I plan to take as soon as possible. Namaste and chill!
– Elaine Srnka, vice president of content
Still life with stress relief.
Still life with stress relief.
Photo by Korena Bolding Sinnett
I’m holding tight to the maxim ‘busy [and clean] hands, calm mind.’ I built a little photo studio in our garage to work on my still life photography, I’m baking like a mad person, and am knitting a winter hat in the hopes that when it’s time to wear it, I’ll be somewhere beautiful and snowy, and that this difficult time will be a distant memory. 
– Korena Bolding Sinnett, art director

Actively following the advice of family and friends has helped me immensely. But so, too, have total timeouts. As a now working-from-home slash homeschooling father of two, I’m doing my best to elude burnout and any ‘I should be doing more’ guilt. So, for a few moments each day, I’ve been channeling my Italian roots and practicing la dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). Simply sitting on my front porch, watching our cherry trees slowly come into bloom, has been my best medicine. 
– Joel Centano, senior editor

Color Yourself Calm

Take a virtual vacation to Hawaii and show off your coloring skills with Virtuoso Traveler’s April cover. Download a printable PDF, then show us your finished product on Instagram by using #VirtuosoTravel – and we’ll share some of our favorites with our followers.

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