This is a stressful time for everyone, and things are only going to get worse before they get better. As an introvert, a single mom, and a millennial recovering from a divorce, in many ways I have been self-quarantining for some time now. Practicing social distancing and staying at home come naturally to me, and compared to when I was on bed rest during my pregnancy being restricted to my house doesn’t really feel that restrictive. So I thought I’d share my long-practiced techniques for living a good life while avoiding other humans for those of you out there that may find it more of a shock:
Establish routines: It may be a new form of torture for you to have to stay in your home and have every day feel the same. Establishing a routine for your day will help it go by more quickly.
Break up your routine: Now do the exact opposite! Find ways to mix things up, especially if you have kids. You can still go for a walk in your neighborhood or a hike. You can still get in your car and go for a drive somewhere new and listen to music to get out of the house.
Exercise: Find ways to exercise in your home and get movement in, and incorporate it into your routine. It will help you feel better, increase endorphins, and stave off depression.
Take care of yourself: This may feel like the perfect time to binge TV and eat junk food, but that will leave you feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Do good things for yourself - eat healthy, try a new recipe, get adequate sleep and sun, meditate, etc.
Be productive: Try a new recipe, bake something, work on a hobby, read that book you’ve always wanted to, deep clean one thing a day, do anything that engages your mind and makes you feel like you are accomplishing something. Create activity and movement for yourself, it will help pass the time and serve as a healthy distraction.
Online Ordering is your best friend: You can do almost all your grocery shopping online and have it delivered or pick it up at the store. I’ve been ordering almost everything I need online for years, from couches and beds to groceries and shampoo!
Keep social media healthy: If you use social media to keep in touch with friends or keep up with the news, keep things positive. If the news starts to become too depressing, don’t dwell on it to the detriment of your mental health. Keep in touch with your friends using GChat, Zoom, Signal, Facetime, Marco Polo, Facebook Messenger - I also hear you can just call them! There has never been a better time to stay connected while staying apart.
Find ways to serve: Tip your delivery people well, if you sew you can make face masks, donate to good causes that are helping people through this - there are lots of ways you can still help from the comfort of your own home.
Be kind to yourself and your kids about screen time: If you are working from home, THROW OUT SCREEN TIME RULES. I have a strict 1-hour limit for my toddler normally, but if I’m going to get any work done that means Cars twice a day and two hours of Brain Candy TV or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It’s completely depressing how clean the playroom is staying as he just watches TV, but it’s temporary and necessary. He’ll be fine.
Be kind to yourself in general: Maybe you feel like crumbling to the floor and literally all you can do to make it through is binge The Mandelorian, and that’s OK! After the 5.7 earthquake last week in Utah I did absolutely nothing for seven hours - I was too worked up. But I gave myself that time, I focused on healing, and tried to be better the next day. So forgive yourself, make whatever effort you can, and take care of yourself.
Remember, the greatest service you can do for our country right now is to just STAY HOME as much as possible. If you are a medical professional or a grocery store worker or someone that has to go to work, THANK YOU for keeping things going for the rest of us. Your sacrifice is appreciated, and in exchange, it is the duty of those of us who can stay home to do so to help protect you. We are all in this together. The powerful, wonderful American ideals of individual freedom and self-determination need to be balanced with What We Owe Each Other, and right now, we owe it to each other to take this seriously and sacrifice for others.