How to Happily Shelter in Place
So tonight I wanted to address something that we are all going through, sheltering in place. It’s been two weeks for me now and as I’ve written about before, life hasn’t changed all that terribly much for me. But I know that’s not the case for most of you. There are pros and cons to every situation and for those of us who live alone, we don’t have someone around to interact with, but we also get to have alone time, space to ourselves. Particularly for those of you who are at home with little kids, time alone has become a precious and rare thing.
So tonight some suggestions about staying sane at home, I hope they help you have happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane
Relax – I know, part of the issue some of us are facing is the shelter in place order is that we’re relaxing a bit too much. And I would do my best to avoid Netflix and chill becoming your entire way of life. But mental relaxation is going to be essential because we have all been traumatized by what’s happening to some extent. We have to realize this and recognize that the stress this is causing us is real. So we have to address that stress or it will eat us up inside and we’ll take it out on who is available and those are the people we’re sheltering in place with. So this means you have to employ all of the things you know reduce stress and make you feel better.
Establish routines, mostly for the purpose of making sure you consistently do the right things. You need to eat, and eat well, don’t let this become a junk food fest. As the order came down I heard someone say, people are either going to come out of this looking fantastic, or like a dumpster fire. Chips, Cheetos, cookies and the couch lead to the dumpster fire. But eating as healthy as possible, taking time away from the news and the screens in your life, having a schedule and getting enough sleep take you to a much better place and will help you reduce your stress levels.
Self-Care – I know, it’s the cool in term right now but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You have to take care of yourself, even while you’re responsible for having to take care of everyone else. So that means find those spaces in the day or the evening. Perhaps that’s late at night, or early morning, perhaps it’s during nap time. If you have a partner to help, then each of you have to let the other get some time off the hook and alone. It may just be time for a cup of coffee or tea, a little time to read a book or meditate, maybe it’s 15 minutes to do a few yoga posses or take a quick walk or run, whatever your into. But you need these things for your own well-being.
Breathe – And yes, this means exactly what it sounds like, remember to breathe. The techniques in the link are all very simple. And you don’t need to find a special place or have a meditation pillow or even, if you are in a house with little kids, necessarily even find a quiet place. But a few times a day it’s really good for you just to stop, and do a little deep breathing. It’s such a small thing but it really can relieve a good deal of stress and make you feel better.
Distraction – At some level we will all need to be distracted from the reality of our situation. It’s bad folks, we all know that, that’s where the trauma comes from. If the worst estimates come true for the epidemic, we will all in some way, likely be touched by illness and death from Covid19. Even if the better estimates play out, we have all been impacted by the shelter in place rules, we will all see effects from the impact to the economy as a result of the pandemic.
So yeah, distract yourself, stream some TV and movies, read a good book, play music, draw, paint, play video games and do whatever you need to in order to forget yourself for awhile. Hell, that includes taking naps, sitting in the sun or just doing nothing at all for a time. A few days ago I did a post where I listed a huge list of online ways to distract yourself. Have some fun folks.
Find something new – This is a great time to find something new to learn. That could mean doing like I am and working on a new language. Duolingo is a free online language learning site that’s somewhat gamified to make it fun. Pull that guitar out of the closet that you haven’t played in five years. Order a penny whistle off of Amazon and take up playing it. I’ve also been doing some crossword puzzles online as a form of entertainment and of course I’ve been writing. So try something new, heck create a fun research project to do online or even take an online course.
Stay connected to others – The fact is, that although it’s called social distancing, it’s really about physical distancing. It doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from the people you care about in your life. So reach out to friends and family, especially those folks you’ve lost touch with. Just don’t hang out with them in person do it with technology. Heck if possible, even give someone a call, yes an actual phone call. This weekend I taught my 78 year-old mother how to video chat on Facebook. We’re also planning to put together a family Zoom call next weekend. So reach out and say hi to those people you care about.
Develop routines – I think it’s important to keep some routines while working at home and sheltering in place. Try and go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday. Establish some daily exercise routines, eat at the same times, basically keep yourself scheduled. But also don’t be afraid to schedule some time to do fun things or even a time to do absolutely nothing.
Get outside – I don’t care if it’s to walk, or run or just sit in the sun, but get outside. The sun helps your body produce vitamin D that’s been indicated to help you fight off disease. The fresh air, the sun, the chirping birds, blue sky and the blooming flowers will all make you feel just a little bit better about everything, trust me.
Keep it all in perspective – Yes, it’s bad. Yes, there are tough times ahead for all of us. I think it’s important that we’re not delusional. This situation is going to last for a time, I think June 1st is the optimistic date, September 1st for the pessimists among us. But regardless of which timeline it is, I can tell you this, our shelter in place reality will end. A time will come in the next months where we will start to get out of our houses more. When we will be going physically back to work, when children will be returning to school. Life likely won’t start feeling normal again until the fall, but it will happen. None of us will ever be the same again, but we will get past this and find a new normal.
So there’s certainly things to look forward to, and start developing those plans in your heads, a little positive daydreaming might go a long way right now. Be safe and well my friends. ~ Rev Kane