COVID 19: Denimheads get dressed and other ridiculously simple tips for positive Mental Health

by | March 24, 2020 | Opinions, Life

Yes, I know. The news cycle is a 24-hour-a-day COVID 19 shit show. Yes, I know the last thing anyone wants to hear is more terrifying, possibly misinformed or misleading information on COVID 19. Yes, I know we are a new-as-fuck denim blog, and that probably has lead you to question we are writing anything at all about COVID 19. Relax. Take a breath. This is not going to be an article about the virus itself, but how we, as a community of denim enthusiasts, oh hell, human beings for that matter, can maintain some level of normalcy in a time of uncertainty. Stick with me.


Why Establish a Routine?

Make your fucking bed. Some of you may be a friend of Bill W. Some of you may have undergone counseling for one matter or another. Whether you are in recovery, trying to get there or undergoing therapy of some form, you may have heard this lesson in meetings or from your counselor. Make your fucking bed.

After my father passed away in September of 2010 and my grandfather three months after that, I was struggling; with grief, with faith and with just being a day-to-day contributing member of society. Suffice it to say that I felt leveled and my mental health was definitely in the shitter. So I sought counseling. It helped, a lot, and if anyone out there is struggling with mental health distress, I can’t recommend hashing it out with a mental health professional enough. Seriously.

What I learned early on in my sessions, and my main task every morning was to get up and make my bed. No matter what happened the rest of the day, no matter how bleak life felt after that moment, I accomplished something, regardless of how trivial the task. Do it, do it every day, and feel good that you have done it. The routine of it gave me a sense of accomplishment and purpose. There’s an entire book written on this one principle; “Make Your Bed,” by Admiral William H. McCraven.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

Admiral William H. McCraven

So the Fuck what?

I saw a tweet that both made me laugh and made me think. “What are you people wearing jeans during lockdown trying to prove,” was the message. I laughed given the nature of my blog and its denim focus, but also it made me think about routine. I get up at the same time every day, regardless of my ability or desire to sleep in.

I get dressed even if I intend on laying around the house all day (OK, I have Irish twin toddlers, that’s not usually an option.). I train at the same time every day, try to keep my meals as scheduled as possible. I do this out of habit and, yes, it keeps me grounded. Discipline. If you have ever listened to the Jocko Willink podcast, he talks about discipline and routine regularly and how it is beneficial for mental health and productivity.

Jocko Willink, US Navay Seal, commander of Task Unit Bruiser―the most decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War.
Jocko Willink, US Navay Seal, commander of Task Unit Bruiser―the most decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War.

So, for many of us in the United States and across the globe have found ourselves in a quarantine-type situation. It’s pretty fucking isolating and that’s the point. In an effort to flatten the curve, slow the spread and protect general public from COVID 19, we’ve all, in some ways, become guests of the state. This pandemic has broken most of daily routines, including what time we get up, get exercise, go to work or even get dressed.

Routines during the COVID 19 lockdown, or quarantine, or stay-at-home order, what ever the hell your locality is calling it, will help anchor you. They will help you from spinning off the planet whether you are alone or trapped in a house with your family, dog and pet goldfish who already understands the mental weight of confinement.

BlurtItOut.org, a mental wellness blog which is focused on increasing awareness and understanding of depression, posted an article with some simple and practical information on the benefits of having a daily routine. First and foremost, routine gives you daily purpose, even if it is just getting up and making the bed. Purpose drives all human beings forward and forward is the only way through the COVID 19 pandemic. It can sound counter-intuitive but developing a daily routine can help us to feel more in control of everything, aid our mental health and help us to cope with change, to form healthy habits, and to reduce our stress levels.

Keep Your Routine Simple

This doesn’t have to be an itemized action list of hundreds of tasks to be completed in excel format. Keep it simple. Consider this the express-fucking-checkout line. Twelve items or less, Karen! Fucking Karen. I discussed the weight and stress of choice in an earlier post. Don’t do that to yourself.

I’ve beaten this horse to death, but make your fucking bed. Trust me, it helps and I could list dozens of articles to back this claim the hell up. Get dressed; we are all working on various denim projects, fades we are chasing, now is the perfect time to put on a new pair of jeans or one that didn’t get enough time this year. Get after it. Start a hobby or return to one.

Exercise. If Max Brooks’ “How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,” taught me anything, it’s that it truly is going to come down to survival of the fittest. You have the time, do some calisthenics, go for a reasonably distanced jog, both in duration and also in proximity to others. Make time for loved ones, those in your house and also those more isolated than you might find yourself. Technology can be the root of all evils but it is also a true blessing. Read, learn, grow. This is the slowest life might be for a long time to come. Expand your mind.

I hope this was helpful and it didn’t just sound good in my head. It might have. Sorry, not sorry. That said, I have found all of this helpful in the last two weeks as I have been locked out of my job, found myself with an abundance of time and a brain that can’t sleep unless I mentally exhaust it. I do hope this helps someone and if need be, I will find more ways to try and help from afar.

Good luck and stay tuned for more.

About the Author

Grant Schildhouse

Grant Schildhouse

Grant, our Editor in Chief, is a denim enthusiast and writer; The Arcuate is his attempt to combine these loves in one place. He wants to tell some of the stories behind those who make and wear denim with a passion. His journey into the world of denim continues, and he hopes you'll co-journey with him, allowing him to be your fireside storyteller.