Is it ok to say that you are enjoying this time? Is it selfish or insensitive to write these words and mean them? Is it normal to find comfort and peace in your world which has suddenly slowed down and become considerably smaller? Does it make you a bad person to say the confinement was what you needed, to give your mind a moment of stillness, to dim the buzz of voices and the hustle of bodies around you. Will people frown when they learn that you are not struggling in this new found reality, that you are somehow thriving in the calm of your four walls. Should you shy away from this message, the message that the alternative world has become too fast, too scary and too crowded for your liking. Would you be believed if you said that you are content in the unexpected solitude? That you don’t feel any desperate desire for the end or that the uncertainty has made you more certain than you have felt in weeks.
We are nearing the week six marker in our new reality of “stay at home” and many people are doing something they never thought they would do in their lifetime–isolating themselves from society, from the world around them, from their family, their friends and loved ones. It is not something we could have predicted and therefore prepared for. We have gone in to this new world blindfolded and many of us are fumbling around in the dark trying to make sense of these familiar yet unusual surroundings.
Isolation comes with who I am as an introvert, and I feel I have been training for this for my entire life. As someone who thrives in solitude, I wondered how to go about writing this post, how to convey the sentiment of calm amid the chaos and to provide you with some ideas on how to keep your sanity from slipping away as we embark upon the next period of this.
One of the most important things is to get sunlight. That vitamin d is going to change the way you view the day, I promise. I have heard a lot of people complaining that all this glorious sunshine we have had over the past few weeks has come during the worst year because we are unable to get out and enjoy it. I have to disagree. We have been told to stay indoors this is true, but we can leave the house for one walk a day, we can take our pets out, we can do a form of exercise. Imagine having to do that in the pouring rain. We are extremely lucky to have the sunshine at the moment, be grateful for it. If you are one of the privileged people who has a garden to enjoy, take full advantage of that, get yourself out there and warm your winter bones. Even if you don’t, make sure to open those windows as soon as you wake up and let the fresh air and sunlight stream on in. A lack of vitamin d can lead to depression and anxiety, neither of which need any extra encouragement at the moment.
Staying in Touch. We live in a day and age when staying in touch has literally never been faster, easier or more accessible. We can speak to anyone, anywhere in the world at any time of the day. How amazing is that. A lot of people are isolating alone so it is so important for them to have some human interaction throughout the day, even just an hour reserved to chat can help people feel much less isolated.
Mental Health Days. When anxiety is at an all-time high, it is important to take a mental health day. There is a lot of pressure from platforms like Instagram, that tell us we are not being productive enough or making the most of this period, there is a competitive feel about the most influential quarantine life. We cannot berate ourselves for not feeling up to learning Latin or baking banana bread, we do not have to work out every day if we don’t feel up to it, no one is forcing you to go to Tesco or to go on your walk of the day, in fact far from it. If you need to, curl up on the sofa and binge watch Netflix all day. You totally can.
Routine. While we have no strict routine at all, it is helpful to put in place some kind of structure to your day in order to feel like you are maintaining some normality in your life. I would recommend waking up at the same time during the week, as you would if you were going to work. Have a shower and get dressed. Getting dressed is a big one for me, while I am still in my dressing gown (which I often am until mid day) I don’t feel like doing anything but moping around the house. Get yourself ready to take on the day. Get up, get changed, find yourself a work station and do what you need to do. You get the drill.
Try to keep busy. For many of us, it is difficult to find motivation or inspiration to get anything done. It is so easy to avoid everyone and everything and find your days passing you by filled by procrastination and box sets. While that is fine some days, you will feel better and find you have much more energy if you attempt to keep yourself busy with something. Below I have left a list of possible ways to keep yourself entertained during this madness. Some of them you may have already tried. Some you may never try. That is fine. Be open minded though, you could find something new to focus on and a new passion, perfect for passing the time.
- Online fitness
- Movie marathons
- Perfect new recipes
- Come Dine with me, within your house hold or online cooking the same recipe.
- Do the garden if you have one – plant some new spring bulbs.
- Go for walks
- Bike ride
- Make an at home gym
- Make a to-do list for when this is over
- Redecorate/Revamp a room
- Find things to donate – food, clothes, school supplies
- Volunteer – any one in the local area need help?
- Learn a new language
- Learn to play a new instrument
- Get creative with old clothes
- Paint someone you live with
- Podcasts you have been meaning to listen to but hadn’t had the time
- Call an old friend
- Facetime quiz
- FaceTime party ft g&t
- Sign up for an online course
- Update your CV
- Get out the old board games
- Write a letter
- Send post cards
- Try photography