In no other time in recent history has such a microscope been placed on how we are all spending the minutes and hours of each day. We have been thrown way out of our comfort zone, to say the least. Books are already being written on the psychological and sociological impact of Shelter in Place and Social Distancing, but right now it feels like we are all just trying to figure out the new normal of our daily routine. All of this requires a level of adaptability and flexibility that feels really uncomfortable, even scary, but we will get through it! Here are a few ways that will help:
1. Seize the Opportunity. Boredom gets a bad rap. It is in the midst of boredom that creativity is born. And even though it can feel like many of our choices have been stripped away, we have to recognize the opportunities that are still right in front of us. We can choose to succumb to fear and frustration, or make the most of this situation. Be bored. Then allow the things that you would enjoy doing to creep in. Is there a home project or creative hobby that you’ve brushed aside because you’ve been too busy? Are there friends or family members who get a Christmas card, but you haven’t spoken with in years? Now is the time to reconnect, to let people know you are thinking of them, to be there for each other. Give yourself permission to carve out time for things that make you feel good, and go do them. Take advantage of this opportunity!
2. Take Care of Body & Mind. There have been some pretty funny memes going around about eating too much while being home all day. Let’s be honest, they wouldn’t make us laugh if they weren’t somewhat true! While this is not the time to be too hard on ourselves, we need to do things that are keeping us physically and mentally healthy:
- Eat well. Stock up on fruits and veggies with all of that rice and pasta. 😉
- Move your body. There are tons of online resources for yoga and exercise programs to do at home. Find a new favorite workout. If the weather allows, walk around the neighborhood once or twice a day.
- Limit exposure to news and social media. Try reading/watching the news only once per day. I promise that if you need to know something, someone will tell you about it! If news and social media are adding stress and anxiety, be deliberate about how often you engage, and consider cutting some out altogether. Your mind will thank you!
3. Become the Expert on Compassion. If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that this is really, really hard. For everyone. We are trying to work from home while educating kids, if we still have a job. We are worried about getting the groceries that our family needs, or if we will receive medical care if we get sick. Each of us has a unique set of circumstances that we are trying to manage, all of them challenging. Now is not the time to judge, or be overly critical with yourself or others. Instead, take time everyday to check in, acknowledge your fears or struggles, and remind yourself that you are doing an incredible job! Rather than worry about how others are handling it, remember that they are doing their best too. Offer them help, not judgment. Nothing feels better than feeling heard, understood, and supported. Whenever you feel tensions arise, pivot from productivity to compassion, and watch how the energy shifts.
We will get through this. Let’s try to make the most of how we spend this time. Let’s take good care of ourselves. Let’s become gurus of compassion. We will come out of this and be better for it. Hang in there!