Hey, Hi, Hello!
Are you self isolating, engaging in social distancing or in full lock down with kids? Is this a whole new works of insanity for you? Well, never fear! I’m going to share some of my best survival tips and tricks with you.
First, on a serious note: Self Isolation can be hard, I know. Even for introverts, there are limits to how isolated a person can reasonably be before it starts to affect their mental and physical health. If you start to feel overwhelmed by your isolation, reach out, skype a friend, go for a walk or speak to your doctor. Don’t wait until your feelings become unmanageable to get support. Your feelings are valid, you deserve care and you are worthy of attention.
Now, onto the tips.
Tip 1: Do stuff during your bursts of energy
When I first became a full time mom to 2 children under 2 years old, I was coming out of a routine of 18 hour work days. I never expected to become so exhausted so quickly. Don’t be hard on yourself if you find that you have long stretches of zero motivation and a seemingly endless desire to nap. That feeling is, in my experience, pretty normal. Your routine has changed, you are under stress and everything is new and outside of your control. It’s ok to feel a little off kilter. The important thing is that when you have your “Up” moments, you use them in ways that improve your overall health and well being. Work isn’t going to bend to your mental health needs for the most part, but other things can.
Use your uptime to cook yourself a big batch of unseasoned meat to set aside to make cooking dinners throughout the week faster and easier when you just can’t find the fucks to give. I did a big batch of chicken thighs yesterday that will be used for soup, stir fry, chicken pot pie and casserole. Next time I feel like doing stuff I’m going to cook up a bunch of hamburger and portion it out for Shepherd’s pie and spaghetti. Maybe make some breads and baked goods so we can just pull stuff out of the freezer when I don’t feel like thinking up something these assholes will eat.
Organizing your kids educational stuff is helpful too, making up a routine to follow if you haven’t got one yet. Catching up on things you wanted to do for yourself is a great use of uptime, or even just going for a walk or stretching. Anything that makes you feel good and takes some worry off your mind is a good thing to do.
Tip 2: Allow yourself to have your “down” times
It might seem simple enough to be kind to yourself while you transition into this new phase you’ve been thrown into, but a lot of people struggle with being gentle with themselves. You may feel like you’re not accomplishing anything and your downtime is outweighing your uptime, and that may be the case right now but it won’t always. Once you settle into a daily routine that is comfortable for you, your downtimes will get further apart and you’ll find that you accomplish more without even noticing. All of a sudden you’ll realize that you went through a whole week without feeling like you suddenly couldn’t keep your eyes open at 10am, you got all your housework done and you’re not behind on any work. It’ll sneak up on you. The important part is to try to be consistent with your routine when you’re not struggling to stay awake and to use your time to prepare for the times when you just can’t cope.
*Note, consistent doesn’t mean perfect, do not expect perfection from yourself, that’s not fair.
Tip 3: The other 80% of your time
Right now, you might find that you feel like there’s waves of realization happening *to* you. You’ll be going through your day and all of a sudden something will snap you into the reality of things. Something like seeing an empty mall parking lot that is usually busy on a Saturday or remembering that an event you were planning to go to is postponed. Those moments might be upsetting, or feel surreal, and that’s ok too! Things are upsetting and surreal, it’s ok to admit it. It’s ok to be scared, or even angry. What matters is how you manage those feelings.
While it’s true that this situation is scary, there are still a lot of really lovely things happening in the world. People are supporting each other, from the act of social distancing itself to dropping off supplies for immune compromised people in their neighborhoods and to friends who are quarantined. It’s really great to see people coming together even when they have to maintain a minimum 6ft distance from each other.
The environment in areas that are in full quarantine is beginning to improve already, with dolphins swimming in the canals in Italy to the smog over parts of china clearing. It’s truly amazing to see how fast things can change if given time and the videos are very neat to watch.
People are realizing the importance of people they took for granted, from people stocking grocery store shelves to the medical professionals we rely on, this crisis has shown how much we depend on each other in our daily lives without realizing it.
It can be hard, when you’re struggling, to see the positive things happening around you but I hope you will try.
I also hope that when you just can’t, when you’ve tried to be positive but you can’t help but feel overwhelmed and sad and angry, that you know that it’s ok to feel that way and it will pass.