A few weeks into practicing social distancing and self-isolation, and I don’t know how you feel, but I’m exhausted. Waking up every day knowing that when I checked the news it probably was not going to be great took its toll on my mental strength, and I found myself becoming more anxious, getting less sleep, and generally feeling out of whack during the day.
How do we show compassion for others and ourselves during a time like this, when we have limited physical contact with friends and loved ones?
If you’re experiencing the same thing, I want to share some things that have helped me feel more capable and in control, to show myself and others some compassion:
- Try new recipes! Get creative with the provisions you stocked up on and take your time making something that seems way out of your culinary capabilities. Even if it turns out horribly, it’s hard to concentrate on anything other than the task at hand (and it’s fun).
- Take your walks! Seriously, go outside if you can—as often as you can. It’s still spring, the sun has been shining, flowers are in bloom. Stay a safe distance from people you come across, but try to get outside at least once a day. I usually listen to my favorite feel-good songs, and they immediately take away any anxiousness.
- If you feel like you have to check the news, give yourself a time limit! It got to the point where I was checking the news in the morning when I woke up, through my entire lunch break, and then intermittently throughout the evening. To practice self-care, I had to limit myself to only reading for 15 minutes at lunch. This way, it didn’t ruin my morning and I had already built up some positive momentum for the rest of the day.
- Call/FaceTime/Skype/ Zoom/write letters often! Your loved ones are probably going through the same feelings you are, so having that support and camaraderie is helpful. I don’t know why it seemed so to me weird to just call someone up before this time, but it’s a practice I hope continues even after we get through this. It’s a great way to tell someone you were thinking about them.
Most importantly, you are under no obligation to be a hyper-productive quarantine machine. Do things that make you happy, that relax you, and sure—some that are challenging, educational, or productive. Use this time however you want, and let go of any guilt surrounding things that you could, should, would do.
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