With the Corona virus shaking thinks up here in the U.S. and precautions in place, you are likely reading this at home. As in self-quarantined and working at your kitchen table. Or cuddled up in your fuzzy bath robe watching Modern Family reruns. Or hiding in the bathroom from your kids.
Some of you may be home alone. Others may be sharing your space with family or roommates. Perhaps with young kiddos. Or with teens who’d rather not be there with you in the first place! Most likely you are only a few days into this self-quarantined, socially-distanced “new normal.”
How are you handling it? Do you already have cabin fever?
Now, I’m used to working from home and quite comfortable with ample alone time. But many people are not, including our daughter Brooke, who lives in Prague. She normally works in an office setting with lots of face-to-face contacts (and the social life of a mid-twenty-something). But the Czech Republic has been under a nationwide quarantine to help contain and slow down the virus for over two weeks. She’s been hunkered down alone in her studio apartment since then and I have to say I’ve been impressed with her ability to make lemonade out of lemons.
She’s used this as an opportunity to catch up on reading, deep clean her apartment, try a few new recipes, and take online workout classes. She’s “visited” virtual art galleries, museums, and plays. And she gotten extra creative and turned an old dress into face masks, as they are required to wear one any time they are outside their homes in her country.
She also checks in via FaceTime with her mom every day for an almost face-to-face conversation. Selfishly, I love this connecting time with her. These extra calls are definitely a silver lining in an unfortunate situation–even when she screen shots me making the strangest faces.
Now don’t get me wrong, she’s had some down days, naturally. The rising numbers of cases in the news get to her. She worries about her friends. And she definitely misses human contact. But in spite of a few sad days, she’s used her creativity and imagination to stay as positive as possible. And she’s inspired me to look at this situation differently.
What if we looked at self-quarantining through a different lens? Here are a few thoughts to help you think differently about sheltering in place:
- Instead of merely bracing yourself for survival, why not celebrate this “bonus time” with your immediate family? Break out the board games. Watch a movie. Dig out old coloring books.
- Appreciate the place you call home. You could even work on those “some day when I have time” projects, like cleaning out closets, painting projects or washing windows.
- Savor the simple things. This is an opportunity to read that stack of books that has been piling up on your bedside table. Pull out the old turntable and show your kids what an LP sounds like. Sip a mug of hot cocoa. Bake bread from scratch.
- Get in front of the cabin fever blues and build bright spots into your days. Be sure to get up and move! A little fresh air and sunshine can go a long way.
- Think about others. Start a gratitude journal. Write a letter (yes, old school, snail mail) to someone you love. Support your local businesses, emergency personnel and hospital staff.
- Pay attention to what you consume. And I’m not just talking about food or booze. What type of social media or TV content are you consuming? Think about what you’re watching and how it’s making you feel. Perhaps you want to step away from devices and try something else?
- Give grace. Everybody processes this kind of stress differently. Be patient–with yourself and others. And remember to say “I love you.”
A little “me time” is okay.
What does “me time” mean for you?
- crossword puzzles
- petting your cat
- channeling your inner Julia Child with a new recipe?
- working out
- watching movies
- taking a walk (socially distanced, of course)
- playing Scrabble
- reading to your plants (Wait! What?)
Okay, so Brooke may have gone over the bend! She sent me a picture yesterday of reading to her plants.
Did I mention the need to keep your sense of humor?
Warm days will come again. This virus will (eventually) pass.
In the meantime, please stay positive and be safe.