There have been several times in the past year where I have slipped into what I refer to as “the fog.” I scroll endlessly on social media, I click on YouTube video after YouTube video, only to start part of it and move onto the next one. I eat food until I’m sick. I stay up until 5 a.m. even though I felt tired hours ago. I sleep 14 hours a day and then take a two-hour nap on top of that. I binge all four seasons of The Good Place in a weekend. There is no past or future, only the present and the over-saturated indulgence. In non-pandemic times, I usually chalk “the fog” up to the utter emptiness that I feel after a semester has ended. I feel relieved. I can finally avoid all responsibility for a brief moment. I can let go of control, just for a second. But, this past year, during lockdown, “the fog” has come back several times, and it’s easy to forget that I used to not feel this way.
Needless to say, I think “the fog” is a symptom of poor mental health. It’s hard to escape sometimes, but here are the ways I’m trying to clear “the fog” this Winter Break. It’s going to be difficult because I won’t have anything to do for a whole month and a half — nothing to do but sit in my feelings, which can sometimes be helpful but also lead me to over-ruminate and then want to numb everything.
1. Reading books
2. Working on a creative project
3. Planning a hike outside (maybe with friends)
4. Reminding myself I’m not alone (I think it’s a great fallacy that we believe we are alone. There is someone out there that cares about you more than you realize, even when you feel fundamentally unlikable)
6. Restoring relationships and leaning into relationships that are restorative