Social distancing is hard for everyone, even for introverts like me. Although I’m usually very happy spending some quiet time with a book or a movie, about a month since I started self-isolation I was going crazy! I had enough of it, and I had to do something to change my mood.
There are tons of articles like this on the internet, but most look somewhat abstract to me. Below I will list some practical tips that worked best for my own adjustment to this temporary reality. Hopefully they will help you as much as they helped me.
Take care of your surroundings
These things usually go without saying, but a declining mental state can make us reluctant to do them. Make a routine of the simple things: Make your bed in the morning, as soon as you get up, Do the dishes as soon as a meal is finished, and keep surfaces clean and uncluttered. If your surroundings are in order, your mind will tend to follow.
Be a producer, not only a consumer
You know that painting you started some time in the past and never finished? Or that jumper you started knitting, that book you started writing? Whatever it was, now is the time to get back on it.
It’s great to zone out sometimes on the sofa with a movie or series, but too much of it can leave us feeling down, sluggish AND it can lead to mindless snacking.
A creative hobby can do wonders for your happiness levels. Having something to show for your efforts can give you a sense of self-accomplishment and pride. Even if you don’t know what you like, this is the best time to experiment with various hobbies and perhaps find out about a hidden talent you didn’t know about. Whatever you do, make sure you have fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if something doesn’t work out like you initially wanted it to – after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination!
Take care of yourself
This goes without saying, but we sometimes forget with everything going on around us. Since I have been working from home, I went into overdrive and worked a lot more hours than usual, so other things fell to the background.
It’s important to make time for yourself. Have a bath, do a face mask, exercise, or better yet, take a walk. Especially if there’s nature and trees near where you live, it can do wonders for your mental balance!
Dress normally, even if you’re not going anywhere
Pyjamas were great the first few days, I’m not gonna lie. If I didn’t have a virtual meeting requiring video, I would just work on my desk in my PJs, sipping coffee and typing (or clicking) furiously.
At first, it was liberating to not have to care about dressing up or putting on makeup (apparently there’s people that do that every morning – shocking, I know), but it soon lost its charm. The more days went by, I felt sluggish and reluctant to get into “work mode”, which resulted into reduced productivity, feelings of guilt for not performing as well as i should be, and even more reduction in productivity. Do you see a pattern here?
I did, and I figured I had enough. Empirically proven piece of advice: dressing (even remotely) nicely can help boost our self-esteem, and our sense of productivity and purpose. Even on days when you wake up feeling like a sack of potatoes, pushing through and dressing up will help you feel like you have a purpose and kick-start your will to be productive.
Ladies, wear a bra. I know, it feels like a deathtrap, and when else are you gonna have the chance to go for months on end without a bra? If you can pull it off, then good on you! I honestly envy you.
But, if like me you find yourself struggling to be productive when bra-less (possibly because throughout my life, bra-less days were slop days, there is now a mental connection between the two), or you are experiencing back pain, you could consider putting them back in custody. It’s for the greater good.
Technology is great, isn’t it? Call your loved ones, and even if nothing exciting is going on in your life at the moment, have a laugh with them and tell them you love them. Even if you’re not really the person that likes to spend hours on the phone, like me, do it anyway. You need it, and they need it too. Your friends are probably going through the same feelings that you are, and your family members are probably worried. Let them know you’re coping, and they’ll cope as well.
If you have the chance, play some games together! Apps like Houseparty can be great for a game night with loved ones. Games can be a great way to have a good laugh – it busts anxiety and negative feelings for everyone involved.
Stay apart together – it will help keep you and your loved ones sane.
Let’s hope we won’t be in isolation much longer, but even when we get out of quarantine, it’s good to work consciously towards our mental well-being in our daily lives as well.
I hope all this helps, and see you again soon!
The Creative Cactus