How To Stay Zen AF When Stuck Inside

Do you have pics of exes from years ago haunting the nether-regions of your photo album?

The worst part about 2020 is that the world feels like it might be ending. The best part about 2020 is that it’s not 1918. Can you imagine what it was like during the time of the Spanish Flu? Me neither. What I know is that we’re lucky. We have the internet now. And foam rollers. And Amazon Prime (for now). Our conveniences are endless. We’re still essentially the same humans, however, and being confined makes us stir crazy.

Here are some things to keep your mind stirring without going crazy right now:



Yup, we’re starting at the core of the crazy: your mind. Everyone I know is either meditating already or plans to start soon, so that probably includes you. Now is definitely the moment to get your neural pathways in order, friends. Even if you spend the whole five or 10 or 20 minutes daydreaming about your crush or your next grocery run or perhaps running into your crush during your next grocery run, it’s still time well spent.

I love Tara Brach’s podcast. She has a bunch of meditations and insightful talks. My faves are “The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts” and “Happy For No Reason.” Whenever I’m spinning out, Tara brings me back to center.

If you need to be convinced to meditate in the first place, I recommend the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast with Dan Harris. He interviews well-known people and asks them why they meditate. Short answer? To become about 10 percent happier.

Do whatever it takes to get yourself started. Light a candle. Sit on your couch. Don’t be uncomfortable and don’t try to be a monk either. Just get still. It’s your job to choose peace. Nobody else can do that for you.

Take an online writing class.

Have you been meaning to write more poetry? Do you want to start your memoir? Catapult has a long list of rad classes you can take from the comfort of your favorite chair.

Watch “Gentleman Jack” on HBO.

This is a show based on the diaries of Anne Lister, a woman who, in the 1800s in England, recorded her feelings about women in a secret code that was later decoded.

Read Trash by Dorothy Allison.

Then read Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg.

Then read the poetry of Franny Choi.

If you haven’t read Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, do that, too.

Move your body.

Where your body goes your mind will follow. If you’re sitting all day, then you might imagine yourself filled with stagnant pools of pond water. That’s not enlivening and eventually, it’s going to bring you down, possibly way farther down than you need to go. If you don’t exercise regularly, you can keep this simple. Roll out your neck. Do child’s pose. I recommend doing an inversion for five minutes a day. Put your legs up the wall and close your eyes; this allows the blood to flow back into your brain. It wakes you up. It changes your perspective — and it’s so easy to do.

If you want to be more physically challenged, there are tons of online classes you can take!

Everyone and their dog loves “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube. And every yoga studio I know of has moved their classes to Mind Body, which is a great way to keep supporting your local businesses.

For Pilates, I’m obsessed with Cassey Ho, who has a totally compelling personality.

Up the good vibes in your Instagram feed.

If you’re like me, you are pressing that devilish sunset creamsicle icon eight billion times a day, then scrolling until your thumb falls off. Who and what are you exposing yourself to and why? If photos of some person from high school are bringing you down, unfollow that person. Then unfollow everyone else who makes you feel unhappy. I recommend replacing those accounts with uplifting ones. Here are some of my faves:

@glennondoyle is so high vibe. So is her wife, @abbywambach.

I follow @portiaderossi because I kind of want to be her.

@aolanow posts wonderfully heartfelt drawings and words of wisdom.

@sandwichmagazine is just beautiful pictures of mouth-watering sandwiches.

Call your old friends.

Who do you keep thinking about, but never have the time to call? This is the time to call those people and ask how they’re doing. Use your phone to connect right now. You can catch up with loved ones and remember you’re not alone.

Digital libraries.

Did you know that libraries offer online access? Yeah, it’s amazing. You can check out books using your iPad, computer, or phone. Obviously, the best part about this is that it’s free! And there’s a time limit, as there would be with a physical book, which gives you an incentive to read within two or three weeks depending on what your library offers.

Clean out your old photos.

Do you have pics of exes from years ago haunting the nether-regions of your photo album? If so, do you need them anymore? Or, more specifically, do you need all of them? I would argue that no, you probably do not. Clear out some space in your mind and press delete.

Deep clean.

Our surroundings affect us — a lot. Since we’re going to be inside for a while, now is the time to make our homes as clean as we’ve always wanted them. Now is the time to scrub down your oven and Magic Eraser your walls. Fun fact: you can also use a Magic Eraser to remove the scuffs on your white shoes. This is my favorite cleaning tool. It’s the best.

Get rid of old clothes.

While you’re cleaning, you might notice you have way too many garments you never actually wear. Let me tell you something: Other humans will want to wear those garments, and maybe you want to make some money off them, too. There are two easy services I love, and all you have to do for each is sign up online and toss your stuff in the bag they send you. Use Thred-Up for cheaper clothes and The Real Real for high-end items.

Sarah McLachlan.

Remember her? Yeah. Listen to the songs “Stupid,” “Ice Cream,” and “Fallen” and be transported back to the first time your lesbian heart fell in love with this enchantress.

Make the recipes you’ve been meaning to make.

Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce is the absolute bomb and so comforting.

Write people cards.

Isn’t it the best when you receive an actual card in the mail? It means that somebody cared about you enough to take the time to write you a note and send it to you. Now’s the time to do that for someone else. If you don’t have stamps at home, you can order some online. If you don’t have cards, you can make your own. If you don’t feel creative, you can steal my ideas or buy my cards.

Start doodling.

Why not? Do you have any crayons at home? Those might be perfect. A Bic pen is also perfect. Get creative. Use anything.

Jigsaw puzzles and board games.

When was the last time you played Monopoly? If you’re home alone, screw Monopoly and get down with a jigsaw. Here’s one of boobs.

If you don’t have a foam roller, order this one on Amazon ASAP.

Seriously. This thing is your new best friend.


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