Self-Care During Social Distancing

This has been a time like no other we have experienced. We are staying home, staying away from family and waiting for this pandemic to start declining. It’s a very scary time for all of us. We are all experiencing different aspects of this devastating virus. Many of us have lost people we love, not being able to say goodbye, while others fear every step we take outside our homes. Our work lives have changed. Some people are now working at home, while others have lost their jobs in this unforeseen economy. In a nutshell, we are all worried. So how do we take care of ourselves during this time. Self-care is important for our mental and physical well-being as we go through this unspecified time period afraid and unsure of what the future holds.

1. Take Time Each Day for Yourself.

Maybe this is a good time to take care of some self-care that we tend to neglect in our busy lives. Maybe a long bath with some soothing music or a simple online yoga class can help you put your mind back on track. Take out that facial mask you bought and never used. Go through that cookbook you have collecting dust and create a new family meal that you can remember. Read a book without thinking that you should be doing something else. This is a time we never expected and we may as well do all those things we would do to relax that we never get to do.

2. Start a Journal.

When we write down our feelings, they leave our body and are now on paper. It is a kind of freedom and release that is very helpful in relieving tension. Just keep writing about your day, your feelings and whatever comes to your mind. You will notice that it feels like taking a deep breath after exercising or sitting down after working in the garden. These kinds of releases are important to maintain our mental health during this crisis. Having our feelings bottled up is not healthy. Let them go. Write them down. You will feel better.

3 Turn Off the TV

Many of us often think that we would not have survived this type of social distancing years ago when televisions weren’t in every home, we did not have computers or smartphones and information was not at our fingertips. Unfortunately, sometimes we are on overload. So take some time in every day to turn it all off and just sit and do nothing. Just think and relax for a little bit with no interruptions from texts, phone calls, and emails. And no interruptions from the anxiety that the local news brings to you.

4. Stay Connected to Those Who Matter

A phone call or a text can lift your spirits for the day. It makes you remember that you are a special person and that someone is thinking of you. Calling a relative or old friend that you may not have time to do in our regular, fast-paced lives may be just the remedy you need (and them) during these uncertain times. It will brighten up the day. These days are about the small stuff that is important and that truly fills our hearts.

5. Send Someone a Card or Gift

We are blessed with technology and are able to order many products online. If you know someone who is alone or very sad during this time, send them something special. Flowers, fruit and other presents are perfect but think about even sending them a pretty mask to brighten their day at the store this week. It is those little things that matter.

Take time to write a little note or send a card to someone who lives far away to brighten their day. A small gesture can go a long way to make someone smile and take away some worry. In these isolated times it is important to feel essential in this big pool of uncertain life.

6. Keep Up With Routines

While everything around you is different and disheartening, it is important to keep up with your daily routines. Clean the house, do the laundry and make sure you take your daily pills. On top of this make sure you are taking care of yourself: shower, get dressed, style your hair…. These are things that seem less important when we don’t see people but we want to see our reflection, and think of the hope that lies ahead. And you want to look your best when you go to the mailbox or walk your dog.

7. Help Others

Remember that some people are not as lucky as we are during these times. Businesses are struggling, people are out of work and many, many people are losing loved ones every day as a result of Covid-19. So support a restaurant, thank a nurse and always take the time out to call or write to a family who has suffered a tragic loss. Many of these families were not able to say goodbye at the hospital and are now facing no goodbyes at a funeral. These are added hardships to already horrible times. So give to a GoFundMe cause, or send a meal to one of these families that are hurting. And don’t forget to support your favorite restaurant and maybe order take out during the week. These small gestures will go a long way if others do them as well. Let’s be there for each other.

8. Be Ready for An Emergency

This is a good time to review all your papers and put them in order so that they are available in case of hard times. Write a list of your prescriptions and your accounts in case anyone has to look for them. We don’t like to think in these terms but we don’t know what lies ahead so we have that extra time to sit around, we may as well put our lives in order.

9. Sort through Memories

This is a perfect time to go through old pictures and articles you have saved and organize them in folders or binders. Or if you have a little bit of energy, scan them and put them in folders to keep for your children and grandchildren. I have a bin of photographs from my mother that I always say I am going to organize. In fact, when I have my whole family over we start to do this and then we stop because we are all enjoying each other’s company. This week my uncle passed away, and I thought about all the times we tried to do this so now I plan to sit down with this large bin of photos and organize them by separate families while I have the time. It will be wonderful to give them to my loved ones when we finally see each other in person.. And at the same time, I can enjoy looking at some fonder memories.

10. Make Plans

Better days are coming so make some plans. What do you want to do when we can return to normal life? Who do you want to see? Where do you want to go? Sometimes thinking about what we will be doing sometime in the hopefully near future, will brighten our day.

What will be the first thing you will do when we are no longer social distancing? Let’s share some of our thoughts here. Please comment and let’s make our “wish” list together….. Be safe.

Being Grateful for the Small Stuff

As I finish the fourth week of my social distancing, teaching from home, I realize that we are all guilty of not appreciating the small stuff in our lives. I hope that when this is all behind us we relish every moment that we get to spend with our families and friends in the real world. Yes, it has been wonderful spending time in my home, which I love, but I feel as if I am missing even the trivial parts of my everyday life.

For example, just going to work and having lunch with some friends, or seeing you friends at lunch will seem less trivial to us. We may no longer dread Sunday nights and actually look forward to our traditional work week. Or will we? Will we become so accustomed to this “new normal” that we will not know how to return to our everyday normalcy? I don’t know the answer but I would hope to find out soon. Soon I hope we will be in our carpools, at our jobs,at our gyms, at family gatherings, at restaurants, and the list goes on.

So let’s take this time to organize our homes, our lives and ourselves so that when we can go back to our normal life we will embrace it with caution and extreme satisfaction. I believe it will have to happen slowly but I know everyone will take precautions when we go back as we recall what these times have really been like.

Not seeing our families, our friends, our grandchildren, our colleagues and so on has made us more appreciative of the small stuff. I remember reading that book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and thinking yes this is right. Now we understand that the small stuff can be so gratifying and yes, we do miss it. Enjoy that cup of coffee in the morning. Relax as you take your online yoga class. Meet your friends and colleagues on Zoom. This will continue for a bit longer so get the most out of it. Tell people you love and miss them. And hopefully soon we will all be together again…. hopefully at barbecues, pools, beaches, parties, restaurants or just hanging out with our friends…. something that we miss so much.

So please stay safe and follow the social distancing rules so that we can return to normal life. If we all follow protocol it will happen sooner. Then we can get our jobs back, our economy back and our lives back to our normal which will never be the same. It will be a normal that we will appreciate every single day!!!!!!

Feeling Accomplished During Social Distancing

We have been stuck inside for awhile now. Going to the store to pick up and order or a restaurant for a special take out treat is the most fun we have during the week. Most of us are used to being so busy that we cannot keep up with our lists of what to do each day. So think of social distancing as a time to catch up on our mundane or “too busy for” tasks that often get put off til forever. At least if we do this, when the ban is lifted and the virus subsides, we can run free outside and into the world knowing that we put our time to good use.

1. Plan Meals for Week

Take a look in your refrigerator and pantry and think of some fun recipes you can finally take time to prepare. Look through some old cookbooks and make each night’s dinner something fun and different. Get the whole family involved. It could be a bonding time that we often miss out on during our normal busy lives. Ask family members for ideas and a wish list of what they want to eat. Then you can make a list of what you will make each night of the week without going to the store. And, of course, supporting a neighborhood restaurant could also be one night’s meal choice.

2. Books to Read

Most of us have a shelf or corner of a room dedicated to a pile of books that we haven’t read yet (but had to buy at that yard sale). Some of us even have many books to read on our Kindles or IPads that we keep downloading in hopes of reading. One way I feel accomplished is by writing a list and then actually checking off what I have done. So write down every single book in your corner, and book on your Kindle, and as you read them you can check it off. You may want to even add a box to donate (an actual book) or delete (an ebook). I know that we have been home for 17 days and I have read 3 books and 1 ebook. I was going strong for awhile but working at home is taking up a bit of time.

3. Self-Care List

When we are working or doing things for our family, we often forget ourselves. So now is the time to give yourself your own list. On your list you should write down what you will do daily to take care of yourself. You can also add a list of products you need to purchase in order to maintain self-care (Here’s where Amazon may come in handy). This list can also include your daily schedule with time indicated for your self-care activities such as spa, online gym classes, meditation and so on. It is so important to take care of you, or you won’t be able to take care of them.

4. Organizational Needs

This is a good time to evaluate your home office and see what you may need to make things work more efficiently. Especially in these times of not knowing how long we will be social distancing. You can make two lists: One which lists what you should buy now (amazon.com) and a list for future, i.e., new computer or new organization system. Take a good inventory and take your time making the list. It doesn’t have to be checked off right away.

5. Social Lists

It is important to feel connected to the other people in your life that are not currently stuck in the house with you. Make a list of people to call, text, write to and even send a Birthday or Get Well card to. You can also make a list of upcoming gifts you need to buy with some room to jot down ideas. Don’t forget to check items off as you get done!

6. To Do Lists

I find it helpful to have a to do list for every day. Usually when I am done for the day and watching tv or reading I write down what I need to get done tomorrow. This is helpful to me because I always feel the need to feel as if my day was an accomplishment of some sorts and have goals for the next day.

I hope that you have found some of these ideas helpful and maybe you are starting some of them right now. Good luck in your social distancing goals and also don’t forget this is time to reconnect with your family and also to catch up on sleep.

Stay well. Let me know how you are doing during social distancing. We all need each other.