There’s no denying that these are some crazy times we live in. History is in the making - but it’s definitely not what I think any of us would have chosen.
Here we are - at home.
Life has changed dramatically for everyone. Many of us are at home indefinitely, working remotely or not working at all. Those who are essential workers have enhanced safety and cleanliness precautions to try and avoid spreading and contracting this virus. Businesses are closed, with only essential services operating. No-one knows when this is going to end.
We have been called to make sacrifices and adapt. I think we owe it to one another to do this. It’s definitely not easy, but we can adjust, and maybe even enjoy this time at home.
It needs to be said - if you are struggling during this time, don’t feel that you have to engage in everything. If survival is where you’re at right now, then focus on that. Some of these tips might help you feel more normal, some might feel like an extra burden. That’s okay, Do what you can, and go from where you are.
These are some of the ways to help yourself adjust to a temporary normal.
It can be very tempting to treat this like a holiday and stay up late, sleep in, and do nothing at all. But it’s not the best way to get through a month at home. Instead, try keeping somewhat to your usual routine.
Wake up at the same time, keep showering, exercising and eating when you normally do. This helps you adjust into the new normal by not taking away everything you’re used to. If you normally sleep in on weekends, keep doing it so you can signify to yourself that it is a weekend!
Check in with your family & friends
Physical distancing doesn’t require social isolation. We as humans thrive in relationships, and we need this more now than ever. Chat with your ‘bubble mates’ and see how they are doing. Share about what you’ve all been doing, and spend some time together cooking, reading, watching something or playing board games.
Call your loved ones and friends and check in with them. Say hi, catch up. There are so many options through the internet these days for voice and video calling.
Discord has been our go-to for keeping in touch with a group of friends - with chat and voice channels we are able to connect, and even live-stream online games that we can all participate in. Jackbox is a great online party game and I highly recommend it! (Not sponsored, just a fan.)
And don’t forget text messaging and phone calls - have you forgotten how to use your phone as a phone?
Check in with yourself
Don’t forget yourself during this time. Sit, be still and really think about how you’re doing. Are you anxious? Excited? Tired? Optimistic? Do you need rest?
Try writing in a journal every so often, and taking time to reflect on how you feel, where you’ve been, and where you want to go.
Practice some of your self-care during this time. Don’t feel you have to be doing something productive every minute of the day. Enjoy the quiet moments with a cup of tea, pamper yourself with a face mask or sugar scrub, read a book, stare out the window. Do those things you can that make you feel happy. Show yourself you care.
You might find that now you have the opportunity to evaluate all the pieces of your life. “Going back to normal” could mean creating a whole new normal. It doesn’t have to, but you have the option.
There’s nothing wrong with staying informed, but there is everything wrong when it starts to overtake your whole life and bring you down. If you need to unfollow certain people or companies for a while, do it. Re-follow them in a few months. If you need to ask someone to stop sending you links, do it. I’m not telling you to bury your head in the sand, but too much negative information can be a bad thing.
If you feel that the information you’re consuming is getting you down, do something about it. Find one trusted source for your news (I’ve been enjoying The Spinoff and the Ministry Of Health website) and check in no more than once a day, 30 minutes max.
If you don’t normally fit much exercise into your life, now is the time to do some! Go for a walk, run, bike (if you have one,) follow a dance workout (there are heaps on YouTube like Fitness Marshall .) Follow the social distancing rules (no sneaky meet-ups with friends) and wash your hands after being outside. You will feel better for moving. Trust me!
Have you always wanted to dance? Draw? Understand accounting? Cook Italian food? Now we have time to learn! Chances are, you’ve got some hours up your sleeve. If you’re feeling up to it, why not devote them to trying something new?
There are so many paid and free online courses out there, covering almost every topic under the sun. Just google it and see what you can find! Or if you’re more of a book person, buy an e-book (or read a book that’s been waiting on your shelf.) And please don’t forget Youtube, blog sites, and wikiHow! We have a lot of great resources for learning at our fingertips.
If you’ve been learning something for a while, take this time to practice it. Sit down and work on that painting, finish knitting that scarf, practice cooking, and up-skill your coding. This time could be awesome for finishing something you started, or improving a little bit more.
Creativity is important for our mental health, but I don’t think we prioritize it enough. Go ahead and make something - it doesn’t have to be good.
I know that in this day and age of Instagram it seems like everyone is amazing at what they do, and yours needs to live up to that. I have news for you: it doesn’t. Everyone starts as a beginner, and doing is the first step to getting better. And what's the harm in simply enjoying being creative?
The thought of making something imperfect can be paralyzing to some of us, but the act of creating doesn’t have to be about the end product. It can be about doing something with your hands, your mind, and channeling some of the pent-up energy into something you made. You don’t even have to keep it, just enjoy the process.
I hope you are genuinely doing okay during this time, and you find some of these practices helpful to creating a feeling of ‘normal’ during this time. It will end, and we will be able to travel, visit restaurants and movie theaters, see our friends in person, go shopping, and do all the things we used to do.
But for now it’s important that we stay put, and look after ourselves in the process. We can come out of this okay. We can do this.