Pandemic Isolation plain out sucks. Our new reality is that we will be self-isolating for a lot of time still with the coronavirus pandemic. I know that I have entered into a period where I am staying at home a lot more with another surgery next week. Sure I will go out to a park, the doctor’s office and such, but I am practicing social distancing at the extremes. I have my control and avoid people at all costs. Even the ones that I trust the most.
This might mean cabin fever for some. I know a thing or two about this problem. For others, it may not be too much of a change to a homebody lifestyle. But in all cases, this is the new norm we’re living. It is completely dependent upon the things we focus upon.
Things You Can Control During Pandemic Isolation
There are some things we can’t control. Obsessing about them is unproductive. It doesn’t help the situation at all, and in fact, it can make you absolutely unhappy in the process. It is when you focus on what you can control that you find peace.
Here are some of the things that helped me through quarantine. You may find other things that help you, but these really helped me:
Grow a Garden or Start a Houseplant (or 20)
Getting your hands in dirt is always a good thing. It grounds you and settles you from the chaos of the world. Gardens are fun because when you harvest, you can share the bounty. Even if it is just flowers. This year I have really reaped the benefit of having a beautiful garden. I have raspberries and blackberries that I share with friends along with flowers. It gives you something to focus on other than yourself. Added bonus fresh air and sunshine do a soul good!
Keep a Schedule
There is power in having a regular schedule when things are interrupted. Keep a regular bedtime, exercise routine (even if you have to create a new one to compensate that the gym is not an option), and other personal care that you do. If you regularly get a manicure, take the time to learn to do it yourself. This rhythm will help you feel normal until you build a new normal. This means if you have Tacos on Tuesday – keep the schedule. For us it has been playing Skip-bo together every day.
Make Cooking a Priority
It is so easy to just pick up something on the way home to eat instead of spending time cooking. During this time of isolation, I have found that I have lots of free time. I have been trying new recipes and experimenting with food. I have learned to make what I thought were really difficult dishes (Eggs Benedick for one) and incorporate them into our weekly meals. I have also taken the time to make and freeze things for when we are busy. Let me tell you there is nothing better than a freshly roasted chicken out of your oven. Sorry Wegman’s your rotisserie chicken is okay, but I have mastered this meal!
Tackle a Project You Have Wanted to Accomplish
I have been organizing our home. Getting things better organized, getting rid of clothes that I will no longer wear. Clearing the clutter. If it doesn’t give me joy or have a true purpose I am letting go of it. I am spending a few moments a day on a book I have been working on. With my physical limitations as I recover from surgery I spend 15 minutes in the garden a day. It isn’t where I want it to be, but it is better than it was last year.
Allow Yourself Time to Rest
This is a tough one, it has taken some time for me to get here. I have had 4 major surgeries in the last 18 months, 5 if you count the eyelid lift I had. I am having another surgery at the end of this month. It takes a lot of energy to heal. Rest is so important. I have given into Netflix, Amazon Prime and CBS All Access. I feel no guilt in all the binge watching I have participated in. I am not going to feel guilty about it. As I feel better, I do more. If you are having a bad day, allow yourself the grace to do nothing. Even if that is binge watching a favorite show.
Stay Social With Those You Love
There is social media, the phone, letter and now we all experience Zoom!!! How ever you find it best, keep connected with your loved ones. I have been taking to sending cards to George’s mom with news clippings or printouts from the internet. She doesn’t have a computer, so it keeps her connected. I am running several Zoom meetings to keep people connected and that is helping me as well.
Be Mindful of What You are Giving Attention to
Before this pandemic isolation, we were living a crazy busy life — work, social, home all at a breakneck pace. Now it feels like the Universe has hit the pause button. This is the perfect time to take stock of your life as it stands. Decide your priorities and adjust your life accordingly.
Trust me it can be scary, I have deleted over 700 “Friends” on Facebook. I don’t miss them. I also streamlined my group memberships. I see more of what I want and I don’t feel pressured to always be online. I leave my phone on the charger in another room more often than I have it on me. I spend more time on Twitter and Instagram now because I have a routine.
Take each day as they come, if you are feeling stressed out in your time of pandemic isolation try some of the things that have helped me get through. You will get through it!