Let me start by saying; I hope you are staying safe and that you’re managing your family and yourself in the best possible way during these unusual times.
I want to speak to something important that is easy to take for granted. For those of us fortunate to be healthy and able to stay at home with all the creature comforts of electricity, internet, gaming, delivery services, and Spring weather – wonderful! It is important to reflect on that and truly feel that gratitude on how much different things could be.
Next I want to dive right in and say that “holding down the fort” doesn’t have to be a punishment or sentence. There are plenty of things to take advantage of during this downtime that you may already be doing or otherwise letting slip.
First, here’s something that you should be mindful of:
Keep your routine (or some version of it)
It might feel nice to stay in bed, in pajamas, and not bathe everyday. And once in a while, it’s totally fine to do that. These days of being inside and “not having to impress anyone” will present an opportunity to develop some nasty habits that will be hard to break out of later. Wake up at a reasonable time, eat and exercise to your normal(ish) schedule. Stress is your bodies reaction to change, minimize changes where you can, and sustain your calmness. You’ll feel better retaining your normal feeling of accomplishment versus succumbing to too many “lazy days”.
Not just because your body needs to move, but this is also good for your mind. I’m not just talking about endorphins, but your overall well-being will be dependent on how you feel about yourself. Feeling lazy? You’ll be lazy. Feeling great after a workout? You’ll be a shining beacon of positivity! You’ll feel, sleep, act, and react to the outside world better.
What’s that you’re eating?
Less exercise will contribute to some future health concerns or weight gain, but what you’re eating now will help set you up for future success or failure. Staying home more means you can’t pickup fresh fruits/veggies to prepare every night, but you can certainly make better choices than frozen pizza or ramen each day. You can emerge from this a few weeks from now and shock your coworkers and friends with how you’ve really made this time count towards your health goal. This is also going to correlate to your mental well-being and ability to adapt to stress. “You are what you eat” and your body doesn’t care that you’re “not supposed to go out/impress anyone”. You are healthy or your not, eat good – feel good!
Most of us are dehydrated on a daily basis. If you are fortunate enough to have internet, I believe you are in a place where drinkable water is easily accessible. This could be a great time to develop a great hydrating habit and see what it feels like while it’s easier to stick to. You’re too cool for water? Children or spouse making you need to cope? Well, this is also an opportunity to commit to day-drinking, burn through a couple of bottles of wine per day, and emerge a full-blown alcoholic in a few weeks. Everything in moderation…except water I guess, you can have as much of that as you want, but know that being stressed with your family is normal and okay; find the balance, communicate and adapt.
Ask yourself, “How are you doing?”
Make it fun, make it silly; it doesn’t really matter, but reflect on what you are feeling. Ask yourself “Am I okay? Do I need anything?” And listen to your emotions. It is easy to forget that you are going through this too, especially for those with children or families with diverse needs. Take some time for you every now and then. Meditate, even if it’s while you’re cooking of doing the dishes. Let those secondary tasks take the auto-pilot and process your thoughts and feelings. You’re mind and body are connected, you need to take care of both.
Now, what are something you can do to use this time productively?
Well, fellow author and lifetime friend D.C. Caruso wrote a short story called “Remember When” and with it she prepared a list of 50 things to do – find it here.
You might think you know the drill; movies, music, video games, books, etc.
Feel like sometimes all those forms of “Entertainment” start to become a bit dull? Don’t have their same satisfaction power? You’ll be feeling that more over these next few weeks. That is because being entertained is different from being fulfilled. Spending time is different from investing time. One is when the day has simply passed, while the other is when the day is lived. Seized. Carpe Diem!
Here’s some additional things you can do:
Connect with someone. Spouse, children, family, and friends (over skype/phone if you have to). I don’t mean talk about the virus or what they want for dinner – no – I mean connect the way you probably connected with your spouse when you first met. The way your children, who might being growing up so fast, need you to get to know them. Maybe need you to give them a kick in the butt (metaphorical of course) to get their life together. Ask, to whomever, “What do you want out of life? Where do you want to be in 4 years? How are you going to get there? What are your dreams? M/F/K Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, Jessica Alba” it doesn’t matter really. Have a genuine conversations that is deeper than the entertainment factor.
After writing that, I’ve decided I’m going to go get started now. You should too! I’ll write more later on if you’re interested – share any tips below if you’d like to share =)
Thank you for checking in – stay safe!
***image credit to artist contributions at pixabay.com***