The buzz words lately are social distancing. In case you are living under a rock and somehow haven’t heard this term, it basically means to stay out of crowded and nonessential places and to only spend time with your immediate family or people you live with. I have a feeling that depending on where you live, most of us will be experiencing even stricter restrictions and quarantines in the next few weeks. In this crazy time it is really the only way that we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, as well as do our part to contain the coronavirus. I know a lot of my clients and friends are very nervous about this idea and so I thought I would spend some time talking about how to survive social distancing.
First of all, it is important to understand why the idea of social distancing may be so difficult for most people. Human contact is really important to our wellbeing, and some research has even shown that without it newborn babies can die. It has also been shown to reduce stress, boost the immune system, and lead to a longer life. If you have seen the video from Italy where they are experiencing a strict quarantine you know what people will do to feel a sense of connection (if you haven't seen it, check it out here). So in this time when we are being asked to drastically reduce such contact in order to stay physically safe, we need to also do things to stay mentally and emotionally healthy as well.
My biggest suggestion that I have been discussing with people is to create a reframe for the situation. A lot of what is coming up for my clients is that they feel like they are being put on house arrest and it feels very constricting and uncomfortable for them. However, it can be looked at as a staycation instead. If you have people that you live with, treat this like you were at a cabin in the woods and spend some real quality time together. If you live alone, take this as an opportunity to get to know yourself. Most of the time we are so focused on the people in our lives and our to do lists that we dont take the time for ourselves. So use this as a way to create intimacy with yourself, get comfortable being alone, and get to know who you are. Alternatively, if your already stressed mind can't wrap around the idea of being alone right now, invite one or two friends to stay with you during this time. However, if you decide to do that, know that you should limit your contact to just those people and not have one person stay one night and another the next and so on.
In order to stay mentally and emotionally healthy during this time it is really important not to focus on all the things you can’t do, and instead start focusing on all the things that you can. How many times a week or even a day do you say, “I dont have enough time to…”. Now you literally have nothing but time, so use it to do all the things that you haven’t been able to. Luckily, this is all happening as the weather is starting to get warmer and it is lighter longer. So take advantage of that as well.
Some fun ideas to make the most out of this time are:
Read a book
Catch up on a show you have been meaning to watch
Have a picnic in your backyard
Work on your garden
Try out some fun new recipes
Go for lots of walks
Order puzzles or games from amazon and make a night out of it
Designate a spa day and do a face/hair mask, paint your nails, do a self massage, or take a bath
Take advantage of the many exercise streaming services that are out there now (my favorite is lekfit)
Get a free zoom account and have video conferencing hangouts with your friends or family
Take a drive to an area you like and look at houses
Drive to the beach and look at the water to get the feeling of spaciousness.
Do home projects you have been meaning to get done
Build a fort in your living room and "camp out" or if you’re lucky enough to live in the warmer weather camp out in your backyard.
Start a meditation practice
Catch up on sleep
Create a new habit
Clean out your closets and donate clothes to goodwill (the need for clothing may increase over the next few months)
Learn a new skill
Take an online class
Most importantly, if you are struggling during this time, reach out. Tell a friend or family member what you are going through, contact a mental health professional, or reach out to this community. We created Spirit Society so that people could feel like they were a part of something, so reach out to us, post in the comments here or on instagram and let us know how you are doing and what you need more of. Or just let us know what you are doing to stay sane during this time and any fun ideas to spend the time. We are all in this together, and together we will make it through. Stay healthy everyone.