Over the last two weeks, in all my discussions with friends, family and colleagues, the number one concern was, for goodness’ sake, how are we supposed to keep our well-being, when we’re cooped up all the time? Cabin fever feels too minor a term. Let’s face it: the majority of us are accustomed to going out whenever we want, wherever we want, with whomever we want.
As Hippocrates said, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Or in our case: these desperate times are causing a whole lotta anxiety–someone send help, please! Here’s what we know: everything you need to succeed is right there inside of you. That’s right. You were born with the ability to adapt, accept, handle, then move on. But first, we need to reframe how we’re looking at this whole quarantine business.
Here are my 5 tips to stay sane while staying away from society:
- Unplug. I’ll be the first to admit: I check my phone a lot during the day. In fact, on Sundays, iPhone tells me how much I’ve used my phone over the last week. You’re up 20%! But with change happening in the entire world, I found my usage went up by a huge margin. Sure, staying informed is important. Too much of a good thing, though? Well. You know the answer to that turn of phrase. We’re all anxious. We’re all concerned. We all look at the person who just sneezed in the grocery line as if they’ve just licked every surrounding surface. Checking your phone or tablet or laptop a million times a day only adds to your existing anxiety. Dial it down a notch. Put away your phone. Be intentional about your time away from social media. Trust me, you’ll instantly begin to feel better.
- Get organized. This is pretty simple. You’re stuck at home. You’ve got time on your hands you otherwise would’ve spent milling around Target with a latte. Go through the clutter. I started with my office, thinned out stuff I didn’t need anymore (hoorah for minimalism!), then moved on to my closet, the drawer in the kitchen that holds things I forgot I even had. Whatever you do, pace yourself. Take it slow. One area at a time. The makeup drawer in the bathroom, the outdated cleaning products beneath the sink, the outdated products in your cupboard. Give yourself a reward, when you finish. Getting organized will bring a mental clarity you didn’t realize you were missing.
- Learn something new. I’ve been meaning to try Yoga for I-don’t-know-how-long. But either the timing wasn’t right, I was too tired after work, I couldn’t afford it, or all the aforementioned. Cool fact: SO many people are making YouTube videos for working out, meditation, learning conversational French, Spanish and other languages, starting the first chapter of the book you’ve been meaning to finally write, how to amp up your resume and start applying for your dream job. The world is literally pulling together to help each other cope with the lows of isolation–something we are all going through. Trying something new will give you new purpose and increase your brain power. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun.
- Get out and breathe. If you’re still able to leave your house, get out and take a walk. Nature works the senses like little else can. Your ears pick up birdsong and squirrel chatter. Your nose catches the scent of spring blooms. Your skin feels the wind move. Although I do recommend avoiding highly-trafficked walking tracks, your neighborhood or one nearby will do nicely. Just remember to practice social-distancing (like automatically fastening your seatbelt when you get into a car, this is a learned habit we’ll eventually get down pat–along with hand-washing) and try not to think about all the bad stuff happening around the world. This time is for you. For your mental health.
- Give yourself time to adjust. As working people, as wives and husbands and human beings inhabiting this planet, we rarely give ourselves grace to adjust to change. This is the time to do that; to embrace who you are, your own timing, and allow yourself some leeway to acclimate to this new normal. If you can’t let go of your phone just yet, try putting it down for an hour one day, an hour-and-a-half the next. If the very thought of walking around the neighborhood makes you wanna chew off a thumbnail, just step out onto your back porch. Close your eyes, let the sun shine on your face. Baby steps, okay? This isn’t a race. One person’s method may not be yours. There’s no right or wrong. Just remember: we’re all in this together and, together, we’ll make it through.
xoxo – Alyssia