Humans are social creatures by nature. In these seemingly uncertain times, we may be faced with self-isolation or shelter-in-place measures for the protection of ourselves and others. While these actions may be necessary for our public health and community safety, it could feel overwhelming in our individual daily lives. These are uncharted territories for most of us. How do we get through?
Know that we are resilient beings and can cope with the potential cabin fever that may come our way. A myriad of emotions may show up, including worry, fear, anger, frustration, and more. We can sit with these emotions, hear them, and acknowledge their presence, but they do not have to take over our lives. It is even quite normal to experience fear and courage at the same time. Here are some suggestions on how to survive and thrive in the days ahead:
Focus – Where do you choose to put your energy? Place your focus on those things in life that you can control. We cannot predict the future or exactly how long this crisis may last. We can, however, control our attitudes toward the situation; rather than being stuck in isolation, perhaps you are now given time to focus on yourself and your home. We can reframe the situation and bring our thinking into a positive mindset. Focus on your inner self, your kindness, your compassion, and your ability to love. Let those parts of you guide this new experience.
Boundaries – Stay mindful of how much time you devote to news and social media. It is important to stay informed with accurate healthy information about this critical situation, while not becoming immersed in the unlimited amount of negative news and distressing stories on television and social media. Turn off the news, limit your social media, and spend some time caring for yourself.
Daily Routine – Maintaining a daily routine can be very helpful! This routine will be new and different. You have an opportunity to recreate your day. The mind, body, heart, and spirit will all need a bit of attention. Make to-do lists and set daily goals. Plan time for relaxation and nurturing your human self. Maybe this includes deep-breathing, yoga, stretching, meditation, or prayer. Hold on to your gratitude and hope. Perhaps you speak your gratitude aloud or keep a journal. Exercise, drink water, and eat as healthy as possible. Maintain a regular sleep routine. Continue to shower and care for your body. Participate in hobbies, listen to music, and express yourself artistically. Experience the outdoors, whether through a window or by sitting in the backyard. Work in your garden and spend some time on those household chores you have been putting off.
Distractions – Distractions are encouraged as part of your regular self-care. These help keep the mind engaged without focusing on the crisis situation. Build puzzles, read books, play games, or build models. Watch a favorite television show or documentary, check out a virtual online museum tour, or browse the beautiful space photos at images.nasa.gov. Search for free online Ivy League classes that you may enjoy. Watch one of the numerous live animal and nature cameras. Take a virtual National Park tour on Google Earth, from Denali to the Virgin Islands. Learn a second language or watch an online concert or play. Do the daily crossword puzzles or play a game of solitaire. Become an armchair movie critic, and post your reviews on social media – comedies are strongly recommended!