Transitioning from a life of independence to moving back home because of COVID-19 can initially make you feel like you are losing control of your new identity. It’s a constant internal debate as to who you need to be in this old, but new environment.
Acclimating feels like stepping on eggshells where you constantly ask yourself:
Is it safe to be the new me back home?
On the outside, you look just like you left. On the inside, you know you are a different person.
Gone unwatched, feeling ungrounded can get you into unhealthy coping mechanisms such as binge drinking, bursting in anger, and isolating yourself.
If you feel like you are going crazy, you are not alone.
Here are five healthy ways you can gain back control of your daily life.
1. Be the Boss of Your Morning
Do you know that hazy state of mind right after waking up? When you are just making sense of what’s happening around you? That is the perfect time to ground yourself with a morning routine.
You can start your morning with a quiet affirmation statement reminding yourself who you are. It sounds silly but it works! You can do a quick 1–2 sentence statement; somewhere along the lines of: I am Cristine, and my mission is to be a writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. Today, I am choosing to be grateful.
It’s less about the content and more of the act of having a routine in the first place. You are creating a sense of control within you early in the day.
I recommend the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod if you want to learn more about crafting your morning routine.
2. Utilize the Power of Habits
Adjusting to timezones, temperatures, and people can be overwhelming.
I used to move along with whatever is going on in my environment. This go with the flow mindset resulted in me feeling lost, anxious, and ungrounded.
“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
What solved this lack of groundedness is intentionally imposing a structure within myself wherever I go.
I have a list of three non-negotiable habits — working out, journaling, and reading. It doesn’t matter if I were in a conference in San Francisco or in the beaches of the Philippines. I need those three habits in my daily life.
Having a structure can save you from the unpredictability and frenzy of constant travel.
3. Visualize Chaos
Anticipate potential chaos before landing.
In Stoicism and in Psychology, we call this strategy Negative Visualization.
It is natural to feel isolated when things around you are not going as planned. The best way to prevent feelings of isolation is to face the problem even before it arrives.
By preparing for the worst and visualizing how you would handle it, nothing can faze you anymore.
If you know you are going to feel bad after reuniting with certain family members from your hometown, such as Uncle John, visualize how you will protect yourself against him and other toxic relatives.
Through the process of visualization, you can better equip yourself by mentally preparing for challenging situations. Visualize what could go wrong and mentally combat the worst case scenario beforehand.
4. Recreate Your Comfort Food
A hack that you can use to feel at home wherever you go is through food.
Dining for me is more than food — it is a memory of emotions.
I’ve never had that much bobba tea as I’ve had when I felt homesick for Taiwan back in Los Angeles. When I miss the Philippines, I look for the nearest Filipino restaurant and order Palabok. Now that I’m temporarily back in Taiwan, I crave simple dessert like Trader Joe’s Banana Bread, my comfort food in the States.
Food has a magical ability to transport you from a foreign town to home in three seconds.
How about you — What is your comfort food? How can you recreate it at home?
5. Have an Anchoring Object
An anchor is an object which makes you feel at home whenever you look at it or hold it.
It can be a Netflix series, a journal, or your childhood stuffed toy. Just like the anchor of a ship — it keeps you from getting carried away by the tides of the water.
My anchor is my Google Docs journal. I’ve been writing on it for four years now and it is literally, my best friend.
What object or experiences makes you feel at home?
By creating healthy habits and anchoring yourself back to your center, you can move wherever in the world with calm, security, and confidence.