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Self Care During the Stay Home Order

LOTS of people are wrestling with the stay-home order. Introverts are more likely to be doing better, although they are still in some pain. Some extroverts are desperate enough to risk COVID just for some social interaction. Everyone is wrestling in one way or another along the continuum. Many have found helpful ways to navigate the "new normal." Here are some ideas that seem to be useful. They are a compilation of my own ideas, ideas I have read about, and ideas that clients have come up with themselves or reinforced as useful.

Come up with structure and boundaries. 

Working from home can be like being in a Las Vegas nightclub, no sense of time, no breaks. Make sure to structure time to eat, rest, and take small breaks. Working from home is actually a very flexible thing if done correctly. I hear too many stories of people waking up, and immediately getting on their computers. Breakfast, and showering are still important. No offense if you shower some other time of the day. My point is, simply, don't forget the basics. Remember to take care of yourself. Come up with a rough outline of how your day should look so that you remember to stay balanced.

Set boundaries with each other. If you're working from home as a couple, make sure to talk about what your day looks like in the morning, and what the expectations are for the day and the evening free time. Everyone has needs for work, play, rest, food, time to be alone, and time to be together. It can change daily, so talk about it daily.

If you have kids, figure out creative ways to fit in their needs for schooling, and play. No parent (who is not a teacher) is going to be able to figure out how to home school the kids overnight. Just do your best. Reach out for help. Ask the neighbors (from six feet away, of course) for some helpful ideas on what they do. Create a support system for yourself.

Enjoy that drink... in moderation, and not for the wrong reasons!

Everyone is joking about how the home school teacher was fired for drinking on the job. It is funny. But be careful why you are drinking. If you have a history of addiction, it's probably a bad idea. If you do it normally, watch your patterns, make sure you stay in moderation. Don't drink because you are stressed. Do something else to chill out first. It's easy to create problematic associations between feeling stressed, and drinking to relax. We have enough problems, let's not make more. 

Relax with meditation. Don't knock it 'til you try it. 

Some of the best nerds in our industry have studied the effects of meditation on the body. If you're interested, Dan Siegel, is a wonderful leader on the subject. Feel free to Google him. Meditation works well. My favorite free podcast is Meditation Oasis. Great guided meditation, calming music without any gonging in the background. Others have also said they like the CALM app. Meditation balances us and restores us at a DNA level. It is an ancient wisdom, recently verified by Western science as effective. Please check it out.

Schedule virtual meetings with family and friends.

Humans are not wired to isolate. It works against our nature. We are lucky to be in such a technologically advanced era. Schedule regular times to "hang out" with those who are important to you. We recently discovered the HOUSE PARTY app. Easy to use and works well.

Stay busy. Create meaning and purpose in new ways. 

Humans have an innate need for meaning, purpose, and social interaction. Now is a time to get creative so we can still get some of these basic needs met. I'm not thinking this means most of us have the luxury of time to learn a new language. But I think we can accomplish the basics. If you have ever had a list of things you never had time to get to, maybe now is a good time to revisit it. Perhaps you had a list of things you always wanted to try. As the flattening of the curve progresses, we are all going a little stir crazy. Hopefully, the weather will allow us more options soon. But in the meantime, it's important to get creative. Talk with friends, family, partners, kids about what things sound fun or interesting. Have a "party." We have been baking cakes and blowing out the candles just because it's fun.

For those who are eating too much... go old school. Remember gym class? Try looking up a calisthenics program online and see what good workout programs you can do using just your body weight. Walking and running is still allowed. Just keep your distance. One study from Belgium suggested putting a minimum of 12 feet between people when running, because when we run we breathe harder. The study simulated germs going farther as a result. Just be a little more cautious but have fun.

My kid keeps me busy when I'm not seeing clients. And he reminds me of the fun we can have doing things that adults don't normally do. Coloring contests, Nerf fights, bike rides, competitions of any kind can be fun things. Sometimes you can even figure out how to do it with friends even if it is virtual.

Start a blog. Maybe one person will read it, maybe nobody will. Some of my clients have given me tons of great links to things for families and kids to do virtually. If you're having success homeschooling your kid, share it with the world. If you've come up with some new recipes using the stuff in your cupboard because things are out of stock at the stores, share it. Yes, we also want to see what crazy ideas you come with to reuse your empty toilet paper roles! So far we have made binoculars and a fire breathing dragon. Sometimes purpose comes just from having fun, and sharing it with others. We can't move mountains during a quarantine, and it is temporary, so try to keep it light.

I welcome any other ideas people come up with. Everyone is wrestling in some regard. Some have lost family and friends to COVID. Others are coming out of their skin because of the lack of social connection. Some are ok, with mild cases of boredom. Others are even thriving. Being reactive to who is going through what just makes it worse. Judging just makes it worse. In a time where we cannot connect in person, we must find connection in other ways. Reactivity and judgment just divides us further. It's important to be empathic and united. Hard times fall on everyone. Some of us are experiencing hard times right now. Others will experience it at some other point in this crisis or later down the road. Everyone goes through hard times. Stay hopeful. Stay safe. Stay united. 


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