Now that all 50 U.S. states (and much of the world) have some sort of “stay at home” or “shelter in place” order, it’s becoming apparent that the era of social distancing is far from over. It is likely to last until at least the end of April, and maybe even longer.
There’s no doubt about it – being isolated from friends, family, and your normal routine is stressful. Even healthy people can suffer physically (as well as mentally) from not being around others. People already prone to loneliness, anxiety, and depression are even more vulnerable to feeling the effects of social isolation. The news isn’t all bad, though! There is a silver lining to what is an otherwisebleak situation. Pollution levels are at all-time lows, and there’s no shortage of “quarantine memes” that remind us that we’re all in this together while bringing wry smiles to our faces.
To help you survive social distancing we’ve compiled 9 tips:
- Look at this situation as “distant socializing,” not social distancing. Thanks to modern technology, you can still interact with your loved ones, no matter where they are in the world. Skype, Zoom, Facetime, and even the telephone allow you to feel like you’re in the same room with friends and family. Consider doing virtual happy hours, dinners, and other activities with a group via Zoom.
2. Keep a schedule.
Maintaining a routine helps you feel a sense of normalcy in this chaos. Try getting up and going to be at the same time each day, and have a list of activities that you do in order. Most of us are used to have structured daily schedules, so having unstructured leisure time can feel overwhelming.
3. Get outdoors.
As long as you’re not congregating or hanging out with people when you’re outside, there’s no law against getting some fresh air. Now that spring is in full swing, the sun is starting to shine and the days are getting warmer and longer. Vitamin D from sunshine is a healthy immune booster, so don’t keep yourself cooped up indoors. Go for a walk or jog and smile at people from a safe distance.
4. Tackle a project.
There’s probably something you’ve been meaning to get around to that you haven’t done yet. Whether it’s spring cleaning, learning to crochet with that kit that Aunt Marge got you three years ago, or painting a bedroom, there’s no better time than now to get it done. Bonus: use this time to make your home a sanctuary. Since you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors, make sure you’re in a space you enjoy. You’ll feel infinitely better!
5. Find something to look forward to.
Though there’s no exact date about when these restrictions will pass, start making tentative plans now. Research a European vacation or chat with friends about what you’ll do together as soon as this over. By remembering that this situation is temporary, you’ll be able to stop focusing on how inconvenient it is at the moment.
6. Experiment with new recipes.
Get creative in the kitchen and try making dishes you’ve never tried before. The stakes are low because you (and maybe a trusted family member) are the only victims of your creations. You can experiment and make adjustments to that quiche recipe until it’s perfect. When we’re allowed to see people again, host a brunch and wow everyone with your culinary talents.
7. Let yourself Netflix and Chill.
Our busy lives can make lounging and doing nothing seem like a sin or lazy indulgence. But, now that we’re stuck at home, we have an excuse to stay in our pajamas and relax with a movie marathon. We don’t recommend turning Netflix and Chill into a daily habit (especially if you’re supposed to be working from home), but experiencing some downtime here and there can leave you feeling rested and recharged.
8. Connect with old friends.
You’ve probably got a list of people that you’ve lost touch with for one reason or another. Why not make a list of people you miss and aim to call one person each day? You can check on them to make sure they’re doing alright and reconnect with long lost friends. Plus, it’ll give you something social to do!
9. Find the thing that “I never have time for . . .”
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but never had time to accomplish? You likely have more time on your hands now than ever before. And, you’re probably not going to have another block of uncommitted time like this again until you retire. This is the ideal time to commit hours to a project you’ve never been able to do up to now. It could be learning a language, writing a book, or mastering the art of painting. You probably have at least one thing in mind!
This is a challenging time for everyone, both people stuck at home and those on the frontlines who are busier than ever. Try to remember that all things are temporary, and we’ll get through this together. How are you keeping yourself busy during this challenging time? Let us know in the comments!