I’ve been under shelter-at-home orders for a lot shorter time than most people my age because I work in a hospital as an allied health professional. Eventually, because I’m not a medical professional, I moved to the work-from-home crew.
It’s been a tough transition, as it has been for almost everyone I know. I’m a thousand miles away from my family and closest friends. I feel discouraged a lot of the time if I get caught in my thoughts for too long a time.
So I decided to write a list for myself of activities that are helpful to me so that when I feel like nothing is right, I can just pick up my notebook and see what I can do for myself.
Maybe one or two of my thoughts could be helpful for you.
- Go outside and walk or bike, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Wash the dishes that are piling up on your table (or use paperware if you know that you’re too tired to clean up after yourself this meal).
- Trust that other people love you and are rooting for you.
- Write daily goals in pencil, not pen.
- Pray and meditate.
- Leave your bed.
- Do work at your desk. Your room may be a shoebox, but it does matter to have separation between work and play if at all possible.
- Play or make music.
- Videochat someone you love.
- Set up or attend a game night online with your friends.
- Find ways to use your skills to volunteer virtually and think about others while also realizing that staying at home is a form of compassion and that you’re doing everything you can.
- Support a local business by ordering takeout or delivery.
- Write a card.
- Remind yourself that other people, even the ones who I’m envying (AKA people quarantined with their partners and/or family members) are experiencing similar fears, griefs, and disappointments.
- Spend less time on social media.
- Read the news only once or twice a day and avoid looking at the death counts if possible.
- Remember that this is short-term. “I’m not with others yet.”
- Let painful feelings roll on by on clouds in order not to dwell on them.
- Decorate your space with cards, photos, and other things that remind you of who you are and who loves you.
- Reach out to loved ones to check in on them, especially people who live in areas that are affected the most.
- Take out the trash regularly.
- Cook and eat healthy food that fits your dietary restrictions.
- Also feel free to eat a lot of baked goods. Be impressed by your prowess when you eat a whole batch of brownies in 24 hours.
- Watch a goofy TV show or a good movie that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
- Remember that everyone, including you, is doing their best during this challenging time.
- Write in your journal if there are thoughts that you can’t seem to process fully in your mind.
- Find ways to laugh and people to laugh with.
- Realize that your best will be different from day to day.
- Watch live animal cams.
- Take an anti-anxiety medication if necessary. This is the kind of time that they were created for.
- Do activities that make you focus on something intently, like puzzles.
- Practice gratitude.
- Go to virtual worship services, especially ones that have small group activities.
- Think about this incredibly challenging time in “both and” rather than “but” or “either or.”
- Let yourself grieve what has been lost. Cry. Scream. Throw something. Then find your way back to yourself and take time to appreciate the silver linings – there actually are some. Some of the worst of our societal inequities are being exposed. Also, some of the best of humanity is being highlighted.
One of my friends called this time one of “physical distancing and social solidarity.” May you find a similar sense of solidarity within your own communities and relationships.
What have you been doing during this time that’s been helpful for you?