WAYS TO STAY SANE AND WELL IN SELF ISOLATION
Proactively Creating Your New Normal – for now, and the future
Firstly, it feels so funny to finally be sharing these old pictures I took in my old lounge now, when we’re so close to moving into our new space and our lounge will be (aside from furniture) utterly unrecognisable. I often do this, take photos, and have them in my wordpress drafts for years before finally deciding ‘nows the time’ to share them. In fact i’ve even had this post half written for two weeks, which means I keep having to update it as everyday the situation evolves.
As it happens, i’ve not had the mental space to post much these last few months, but with the current state of global affairs, the health warnings around Coronavirus, and of course the move to self isolation / staying home in the UK, it sparked an idea and got me to finally put ‘pen to paper’ as it were.
Given where we are now in the UK (and given my own health situation, living with auto immune disease), i’m fully resided to the idea of being house bound and in self isolation, and in fact finding so many positives in it – a forced moment to stop living 120mph and actually rest, be slow and enjoy some of those things I just never have time for. In fact i’m slowing so much, i’ve not even done any exercise yet – that is definitely one to change when I get the energy back. On top of the general slow living, hopefully we will also be back in our flat soon (assuming contractors are able to finish jobs given the shut down), so if anything it’ll also allow us to settle in and enjoy the space a bit more when we do get in.
On top of my own health, I’m also really aware of other people in my life who are at risk due to health and age, but also friends who are really struggling mentally due to being truly isolated alone (especially those living abroad on their own). It made me think about the importance of staying healthy, but also sane during this time … and I had a few ideas I thought I’d share to help us actually make the most of the time living a little more slowly.
Overall, whist I know that ultimately there is a lot of bad to come of this situation and many individuals work and companies ability to continue will be challenged, what I do hope is that it allows us all the chance to re-set a little.
The rat race has been forced to stop whilst we’re in self isolation, and so where we can make a positive from this we should. Here are five tips to staying sane, staying healthy and making the most of this time off the hamster wheel, to create positive changes in your life.
CREATE A ROUTINE
A big learning for me almost immediately was the need to still maintain a routine. Yes I sleep an extra 30 minutes every morning, because I now can, but I am still getting up, getting dressed, doing my makeup as I would normally for work (it really didn’t work for me not doing this, and I felt it made my skin get bad too) and having my morning brew before heading to my ‘office’ (the lounge coffee table). I’m also now actually taking a lunch break – a new routine I hope will stick when we go back to work in the office, and i’ve been very strict on closing my laptop after work and transitioning to the evening.
Whatever your day entails, and especially if you’re not working right now, a routine can help with stability, a sense of security and consistency and help you make the most of your day within your new confines.
START NEW HOBBIES
Some of the biggest shifts i’ve seen already is a change in our culture around work / life balance, a respect for the need to prioritise family & health, a forced change in pace to how we normally live, more time spent connecting with family and friends, and without a commute more time to spend doing all the things we enjoy but don’t get time for … reading, painting, doodling, journalling, watching movies etc.
Whilst I need to get better at making time for this and actually start my book pile, I’m already starting to feel that I have more mental space for these types of activities.
My urge to you all is to use this time to start new hobbies, practice mindful living and generally embrace that little bit of extra time we now have to feed your inner child / have a bit of me time. That’s assuming you’re not juggling children’s home schooling, work, and everything else – I appreciate you guys probably don’t have more time, if anything less, BUT there’s still an opportunity to get creative and spend time away from ‘work’ and get in touch with your inner child again.
Not only will it be beneficial to your happiness to spend a little time doing what you truly love, it’s also good for easing anxiety and keeping your mind positive.
AT HOME EXERCISE
I’m totally ‘pot calling kettle black’ here as I am yet to get a good routine in place – but now is definitely the time to embed healthy habits including regular exercise. For me this should be daily or bi daily yoga (I will start soon), but it could be Joe Wicks morning work outs, walks in the garden, i’ve personally even considered taking up running given how quiet and beautiful it is outside (i’m a team sports kinda gal, never enjoyed a run as they’re so boring to me haha).
Anyway, as part of your new normal & your new home routine, this perfect opportunity to prioritise your health and fitness, so why not put those healthy habits firmly in place now. It’s also, not to mention, incredibly good for your mental health to keep active during this time.
CAPITALISE ON ‘ME TIME’
Again, I know for some this won’t be easy, but with less time commuting, more time together as families, and so much time at home, this is the perfect moment to capitalise on ‘me time’. More sleep, a long bath, meditation to keep you calm and positive.
We all know how much we need this for our happiness, mental health and general wellbeing.
TIME TO CONNECT
One of the loveliest things we’re seeing globally is so much care and love for others. Whilst we can’t go out and about to see each other while we’re in self isolation, staying connected with video calls, whatsapp, house party apps, virtual drinks, even a simple phone call is incredibly important.
When we get busy things like this slip to the wayside for long days in the office, but right now being connected has never been more important and if anything, feasible – everyone is embracing video calls and more regular check ins with loves ones … even neighbours or the elderly you’ve not met.
Take this time to catch up with all those people you might have neglected over the years due to those demanding days & work commitments.
And when it all goes back to normal …. take these things with you. Use this time to create your new normal. Generally speaking, whilst there are terrible things happening, there has never been a better moment to re-set your life if you felt you needed to. I did, and for me this time is providing me the time to restore, get off the hamster wheel and actually prioritise living well, speaking with my friends and family more, spending time resting and making moments for ‘me’.