Now that we are all practicing “social distancing” and staying at home by choice or by mandate, there are opportunities to make the best of the situation. If you are a high-achiever who is used to going and going until you drop, it might not be as easy as you think (I know from experience), but it can be done.
For those who have perfected the “art of chill,” there is an opportunity to make suggestions to friends and colleagues on the finer art of being in the moment and making it a good one.
A word of caution though…if you make it look too easy for others, your risk alienating them or worse calling into question their mental health. Everyone’s experience of: “stay home, stay healthy” will be different and that is OK. First of all, acknowledge that whatever you are feeling (elated at the time off from work, panicked, snoring on the couch, or tired of walking the dog ten times a day), it is authentic. Remember the book, “I’m OK, You’re OK?” dust it off and read it. We are all going to be OK. And of course, reading could be added to the list too!
Finish that project – Some might want to clean out garages and closets. Others are writing poetry and completing novels. Take this time to make a list of projects you want to and need to finish and get started. And then choose in order of importance or willingness. If you are not finishing a project, then start one.
Organize – Whatever this means to you. I have heard of friends who are taking everything out of old file cabinets and making it digital. For me, it is getting rid of the thousands of old e-mails I have been saving in case I need to reference one of them. Perhaps, it is getting your kid’s room set up better for an online school. Make a shopping or project list.
Meditate – There are lots of ways to meditate and whether you want to do it alone using relaxing music, playing a singing bowl or going for a walk, try it. If you prefer to get the guidance, there are lots of organizations offering opportunities online. Check out this one: https://www.headspace.com/ or https://chopra.com/articles/guided-meditations.
Exercise – Sitting in front of the computer all day is going to make things eventually hurt or not work anymore. Trust me! I have a degree in Sports Medicine. To avoid that, go for a walk. Use those weights at home that may be doorstops. There are so many fitness people offering online classes it is a bit overwhelming but available. For a local Yoga offering, check out Ashland Yoga Center’s online classes here: https://www.facebook.com/ashlandyogacenter
Keep a Journal – Writing down what you are accomplishing each day or your feelings or what you are grateful for can be quite empowering. It can also be a struggle. You may even want to doodle or doddle instead, but even just jotting down how you got through the day and what it was like is worthy on its own. For some tips on how to get started, try here: https://mellowed.com/journaling-for-beginners/ or
Yard Work – I admit that I have weeds growing alongside my house. Now, I can get to them. I also have a pile of dirt in my backyard that has been sitting there untouched. So, look around your abode and decide if there is some work you can do outside to keep your vitamin D levels up and make your home a beautiful oasis. If you do not have a yard, someone around you might and may not be able to do the work themselves. Consider offering assistance. Or try an indoor garden.
Learn Something New – Take a class on how to host Zoom meetings. Maybe you want to learn a new subject. At Kahn Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/). It is FREE! Have you always wanted to reface your kitchen cabinets? Here is a unique and inexpensive way to do just that:
Help Each Other – Help your friend by giving him a call. Pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor that cannot leave her apartment. Think of a skill or service you can offer online and begin sharing it right away. Offer support to family members close who need it. There are so many ways that we can reach out to others and let them know that they do have someone to lean on.
Clean – Notice that I put this toward the bottom of the list, but seriously, we need to be extra vigilant about washing our hands. We can also do deep cleaning of our homes. It might even end up becoming a form of meditation and you can get two things accomplished on this list at one time! Do read the advice on which products are best for each type of cleaning job though. This resource is helpful for
Call Someone – Some people are routinely calling two friends a day. A call is so much different than a text and hearing someone’s mood and inflection is important when we reach out. If you want to take it one step further, you can Skype or use Zoom to actually see the person that you are talking to these days.
On the flip side, respect people’s requests to not be bombarded by calls as well. If you are feeling alone, call a friend or one of these: http://www.suicidehotlines.com/oregon.html.