In the last 10 days I’ve only left my house for groceries and to walk my dogs. That type of isolation can be challenging enough, but when it’s a result of a global pandemic the fear and anxiety creeps in and makes it even harder. I’ve been gloomy and sluggish feeling, and that’s honestly pretty common when you feel stuck and quarantined. So here are the ways I’ve been keeping my sanity, while also keeping myself, and others, safe and healthy:
1) Get outside
Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride- or just go sit out on the porch or in the back yard. A little fresh air, sunshine, and the sounds of birds chirping as spring rolls in can almost always help boost my mood when I’m starting to feel like I’m in a funk.
2) Maintain a routine
When your whole schedule is disrupted it can be really easy to fall into a funk of sleeping in, not getting dressed until dinner time, and starting to feel like days are just washing together. I’ve tried to maintain as much of my normal routine as I can- get up and make coffee, take the dogs outside, shower and get dressed. As a teacher right now, trying to maintain my work-day normalcy is almost impossible, but finding little things throughout the day to accomplish help me feel like I’m still being productive and have purpose with my time. Even if it’s just reading a few e-mails, or starting to think about lessons I can do with my kids once I get back to work.
3) Read a book
I have a HUGE stack of books on my self that I’ve been meaning to read, but just feel like I never have enough time. In the days I’ve been home and #socialdistancing I’ve finished one book, and am working on picking out what I want to read next. I have always loved to read, but the chaos and business of daily life usually gets in the way, so I’ve actually been really happy to have a little time to do something I enjoy 🙂
4) Watch Netflix
Movies, TV shows, documentaries, whatever you like most! If you’re looking for TV shows, I highly recommend Schitt’s Creek, The Ranch, Queer Eye, Cheer, or The Good Place (if you somehow haven’t seem them already- and go ahead and judge me for my choice of binge-worthy TV shows).
5) Play Games
Board games, video games, whatever your into! Conveniently, a few weeks ago my husband and I bought a Nintendo Switch and have got some solid entertainment out of that. But I also love classic board games and card games. With only two of us, our go-to games include Monopoly Deal, and Banangrams. You can also play games with friends online! The perfect way to get some human interaction while still practicing #socialdistancing.
6) Clean the House
As someone with somewhat unpredictable chronic illness pain, a full day of deep house cleaning usually isn’t in the cards for me. Having time at home has actually been incredible for this because I can do things in small increments- dust one shelf and take a break; wipe down the counters and take another break; throw in that loads of sheets and blankets I’ve been meaning to do and take another break 🙂 Shavings make a pile!
7) Call a Friend
I appreciate my phone calls with friends and family so much when I can’t physically see them. Not only does talking to the people I love the most always boost my mood, but knowing that other people are feeling the same things as I am during this crazy time makes me feel better. Call a friend or a family member to catch-up, check-in, or even watch a TV show while on the phone together so you can gossip about it the whole time!
8) Have a Virtual Meet-up
On Friday we’re getting on a video chat with a group of friends to just visit and hang out! My co-workers and I are having a virtual lunch together next week through a Google Hangout Meet. Call up some friends and get online together for an hour or two to just enjoy each others company!
10) Connect through Social Media
Social media can be a little scary right now with all of the coronavirus craziness, but it can also be really beautiful and uplifting. Have you seen the babies talking together at bedtime? Have you seen the people in Italy singing together off of their balconies? We’re all in the same boat right now, and I’ve honestly found a lot of comfort in connecting with people on social media who share my feelings and challenges. It’s just important to know at what point you need to put it down and be present in real life.
11) Tackle that project you’ve been putting off
Almost 2 years ago we put a new door to our backyard in….and I’ve been meaning to paint it since then. I took some time this week and finally got it done! Pick a project that’s been on your to-do list forever and take some time to work on it, even if it’s just in little chunks at a time!
12) Write in a Journal
This one may not be everyone’s jam, but when my life is crazy and I start to feel anxious, journaling is my FAVORITE outlet. Being able to put my feelings down, hand-written, on paper, just has such a soothing effect for me. If your skeptical I encourage you to grab a piece of paper and give it a try- I think you’ll be surprised how good you feel after getting all of the overwhelming thoughts out 🙂
13) Keep up with the News (but know it’s ok to step back from it)
Knowledge is power. If the coronavirus is scary to you, the best way to feel calmer is to be as educated as possible. Understand the best ways to protect yourself, and understand what the world is doing in response. The tricky part here is that so many news outlets publish half-truths, or stories written to invoke fear (crappy right?). So knowing what to read to become educated, versus when to shut down the news and step back to something that makes you happy is super important.
14) Wave to your Neighbors
I see my neighbors outside with their dog a few times a day. A friendly wave, and even a shout across the street just to say “Hi! How are you doing?” keeps you safe and builds community, all while also allowing yourself a little human interaction.
15) Go for a drive
Today we went for a ride through town and past a park that we like to go to. We definitely didn’t stop, but just changing up the scenery was really nice. We’ve disinfected the car, and staying inside of it keeps us and others around safe. But getting the feeling of moving beyond our house and yard, even for 15 minutes on a sunny day, boosted my mood quite a bit. The trick here is that I want to also avoid gas stations, so don’t want to go out and ride around too much- I just have to maintain a balance.
16) Remember that this is only temporary
The current climate is hard. Isolation is hard; humans are social creatures. While you practice #socialdistancing and try to ride out this pandemic, try to remember that (sorry for the cliche), this too shall pass. This is temporary. It may take weeks, or months, for us to get back to “normal,” but at the end we can go back to the lives we enjoy, and probably be stronger and more resilient because of all of this. Stay strong, support each other, and know that we are all in this together 🙌💙