How has your life changed in the last two weeks?
For some people, I know their world has seen a massive shift. For some, I am sure life hasn’t changed very much. But, we are all living in a new normal that might be around for a while.
So, today I thought we could talk about things that might help you during this time of stress. Because let’s face it, even if life didn’t change much for you, there is a lot more stress just in living these days. I think at this point, we might all know someone who is sick (I do), and if you even remotely pay attention to the news, there is something stressful there. You might be working in a job that has gotten more stressful or might be stuck at home, and that is causing stress. We all have something.
I have plenty of tips. Some days, I feel like I have been training to stay at home my whole life. I am a natural introvert, although I play an extrovert when I am outside my house. I didn’t have many friends that lived close by when I was a kid (pre-internet), so I have been learning to entertain myself my whole life. I have also worked from home a lot in my career and have spent lots of time figuring out how to be by myself. All useful skills in this distanced world.
So here are some tips:
1. Have a routine. This goes for everyone in the house. Create a routine if you didn’t have one before. Decide when you will get up, eat, work, play, socialize. Put blocks of time on your calendar if you must but get some kind of routine going. This works especially well for kids but is great for adults too. Because if we know what comes next, we alleviate anxiety and cause less stress in our lives. And this is especially good for adults trying to work from home who have kids. You can schedule work while they are doing school work, and then everybody takes a break at the same time. It should hopefully alleviate some of the interruptions that can cause working parents to go nuts. And it may take a while to get the routine going, but keep trying. It will help in the long run.
2. Socialize. I added that above and I think it is important for everyone. Introverts have a tendency to become hermits in times like this, and extroverts are struggling because they don’t like to spend time alone. So, you need to socialize. I like to go old school and talk on the phone. I have been really good at that my entire life. But now, we have all kinds of ways to interact with people. Zoom, Whatsapp, Facetime, and Skype are all good tools that will let you see the people you are talking to and have a good conversation. They all have a free version, so you don’t have to worry about cost, and you can do almost anything together in front of a screen. People are doing workout classes, happy hours, lunches, even knitting group meetings on these tools, and finding out that it really is a good way to connect. So maybe try a new technology and get together.
3. Limit your exposure to stress and anxiety-producing things. I am horrible at this, but I know it is helpful. If the news causes you stress, watch less or not at all (I am physically incapable of not watching the news). For me, the biggest stressor was going grocery shopping. I am terrified of getting sick, and grocery stores are always hotbeds of disease carriers. So, I have started doing online ordering that I just pick up in front of the store. Much less stress for me because I don’t have to come in contact with too many people, and I don’t have to panic about not having bananas (because everything else in my food world has a substitute, but man I love my bananas). And I know that some people won’t be able to get away from stress because of their job or home situation, so then I recommend coping mechanisms. There are a lot, and you should choose what works for you. Long walks, yoga, meditation. I use an app called Calm that can read me stories or play soothing music or guide me through a meditation. It is a paid app, but there are free ones. Or I have some 30-day free trials I can hand out. Let me know if you want one.
Those are the big tips I am working with right now. I hope they can help you.
For now, I am wishing you all a good week and that you and your loved ones are all healthy.
PS. I am also finding some humor is helpful. This little ditty made me laugh, so I am linking to it here. (Fair warning- this is not for little ears or anyone who does not like cuss words.) “Stay the F*@K at Home”
And I found the kid-friendly version too: “Stay the Heck at home“