How's Your Mental Health RN? With Entrepreneur, Jess Tran
This year, we observe Mental Health Awareness Month during quarantine: A time when our minds (and also, sadly, our skin) are doing atypical things. This series will see us ask friends and collaborators to share how quarantine is affecting them, and the practices and rituals that have helped make this time less weird. Here we have Jess Tran, vintage store owner, (fellow) Aussie in NYC and all-round cool individual. Over to you, Jess.
Social isolation has been a weird time—there have been so many facets of life that have been completely upended; from losing my job to trying to remember to wear pants or any type of clothing in order to form a sense of normalcy in between all the Zoom calls and time spent in a vacuum. The increase of anxiety/depression/stress has definitely done a number on my skin, and I've also been seeking a lot of comfort foods lately, which has also contributed to some skin issues.
How has being inside for this period of time affected your mental health?
I think being able to stay inside in comfort has been hugely demonstrative of my privilege and ability to do so, which i'm incredibly grateful for, but I think that we're all suffering from a blow to our collective and individual mental health.
On the macro level, it feels like everyone is being forced to reckon with the public systems that have meant to support and help us but haven't, the inadequacies of the presidency and leadership as well as the overwhelming nature of being forced to interact with the world exclusively through digital formats. I think I'm definitely struggling with trying to process information and keep informed while at the same time being mindful of the immense pressure it puts on my own mental health, when so much feels out of my control. I was also laid off about a month ago at the beginning of the pandemic, and the grief that I had with letting go of a job I really loved, and to face the uncertainty of my future and how I create an income for myself has been incredibly daunting. I feel like I'm oscillating wildly between numbness, distress and joy which has been a challenge to manage.
On a positive note, it feels like this time has opened up a dearth of opportunity to just be. With the lack of FOMO and outward social pressures on your schedule and your time, it feels positively transformative to suddenly have so much extra space and time created to intentionally connect with the people I love (both here and abroad), catch up on reading and watching TV as well as self-introspection and quality time with my quaranteam, my partner and my dog.
Has the quality of your skin been affected during quarantine?
Yes! I think just a lot of stress and anxiety and poor comforting diet choices have resulted in my skin looking really lacklustre and dull. I've been really loving the new Malin + Goetz resurfacing serum which has helped even my skin out a bit more, and the Laura Mercier Nourishing Rose Oil to provide a little more bounce and freshness. Have also been trying out Cocokind's clean + conscious skincare range and my skin has been really enjoying that too.
Any practices, rituals or strategies for keeping your mood happy and your spirits high during this time?
Yes! I've been so grateful to continue a weekly therapy practice and a weekly women's group (a group of women that hold space for each other to process emotions). I supplement those mental health practices with a daily meditation habit with my partner, long masked dog walks and giving myself to do whatever I want whenever I want. Whether that's spend hours reading, doing a Ryan Heffington Instagram Live dancing class or eating copious amounts of instant noodles, there have been so many tools that can help lift my spirits.
Has quarantine changed your outlook on life?
I've seen a lot of tweets and comments from friends about birds and flowers, questioning if there is usually this amount of birds chirping or flowers blooming around this time. I found myself really fascinated by this too—it felt like there was an explosion of spring that I had never noticed before.
Having the time and the space to slow down and to really be present has been an incredible part of this new type of living—there's nothing happening, so I'm paying attention to the little pleasures of life and nature more. The other day I was just absolutely gobsmacked by a bed of tulips I passed on a dog walk. I'm hoping that the rich experience of the present will remain with me long after things return to some semblance of normal and quarantine feels like a distant memory.