If you are like me...an extrovert, social to a fault and filled by the energy of other people, social distancing is the devil! Staying in our home has become our new reality and by the looks of the rate of our current pandemic, the time spent indoors may not be changing anytime soon. Insert sad face... Many of us are now working from home, teaching our children school lessons, cancelling travel plans, no longer eating out, not able to visit our family, and painfully adjusting to a more virtual lifestyle. You might actually consider yourself a bona-fide, passenger on the proverbial "struggle bus". Ugh...
Let's be real, this is NOT easy. As humans, we need to socialize, it's part of our biology. Connection is central to our sense of self for many reasons. You may be feeling like your world has been turned upside down, and make no mistake, it has been. So now what? How do we stay sane, keep our family safe, our life and work afloat as well as actually thrive in our new reality? Like any other obstacle before us, we will need to hone a new set of skills to move in the direction of adjustment. A pivot, a shift in the direction of what we CAN control is critical. Adaptation is the key here. I have a few ideas below to help.
My first tip is to keep time. I know it is tempting to sleep in and stay up late when we are not actually expected anywhere, but be careful. A loss of schedule can be very disorienting and come around to bite us in the butt over time. Make your schedule fit your new lifestyle and your needs, but keep something set and actually stick to it.
If you are now working from home, it is crucial to set up a workspace. A corner, a designated room, whatever you can pull off. You may also make sure you set boundaries around when and how you need to focus on work. You might have to FIRM about it, but designated work time is necessary to be productive and feel a sense of normalcy. Oh, and it also helps to keep the bills paid. Yeah.
Stay active! This tip is actually a non-negotiable. Beware of spending too much time lounging around. Rest when you need to, but being active is necessary for both your physical and mental health. Grab those endorphins as much as possible to keep sane. Do NOT worry about how, just stay active. No excuses. Youtube free exercise videos, a walk in the neighborhood with your mask on, a TikTok dance-off with distant family and friends...whatever gets you moving.
Stay connected with your friends via calls, texts, Slack, Skype, or any other mode of communication. It helps a lot, even if you're just swapping pictures of cool chihuahuas back and forth with friends on Instagram. Remember, we are social animals. We can do this, just differently.
To add a positive spin on being "stuck at home" you can use the new found free time to learn a new skill or hobby, like cooking, painting or a new language. There are literally hundreds of creative people now out of physical work that are now willing and able to put together a virtual class or lesson. Try it! It'll fill the time and make you feel more productive.
Remember, You are Stronger than you know!