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Coping with Self Isolation During the Covid-19 Pandemic


 

I can now barely remember the first time I heard the term coronavirus. It seems like it’s been forever since it was first mentioned. In reality, it’s only been a few months. In a time not so long ago it was an ongoing developing issue in another country, something we should be aware of but seemingly not an immediate threat. We would hear mention of it in the daily news and carried on about our day. It then traveled to a different country, another, and next thing we knew it was in ours. I think we are all more guilty than we’d like to be of downplaying bad situations when they are happening to other people, now that the bad situation is taking over our lives it has become impossible to downplay. Covid-19 is unlike anything we have ever known.

Getting to know the new normal has thus far been incredibly overwhelming. We are now being left with facing scenarios and outcomes that we did not expect nor were we prepared for. For example, similar to most of the country, in my home state of Tennessee we are on stay at home orders. This means simply that we are to stay home unless needing to carry out an essential activity or action (i.e. collecting groceries, picking up prescriptions, taking care of a family member, etc) Most businesses are closed. We have to find new, socially distanced ways of getting what we need and taking care of what is necessary. Ordering things online has become a way of life far past what it ever could have previously been and working from home is our new go to avenue to income.

What is it like learning to readjust to the realities of isolation? It’s a whole new world. Personally, I need to recharge my social batteries from time to time and can Netflix binge with the best of them, but I also crave human interaction. For many of those like me who are currently hunkered down at home with the closest daily interaction being your pets, getting accustomed to and accepting that this is our reality now can be a little overwhelming. Sometimes even more than a little. I’ve been learning as I go along, picking up tips and tricks along the way.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far

It’s ok not to be ok. This is a huge learning experience for all of us. No one really saw this coming and we are all adjusting in our own ways. It’s ok to make mistakes, to sit at home and somehow not realize half the day has passed and you have not accomplished anything productive. It’s going to happen (maybe more than once.) No one expects you to be perfect, not any day and especially not in times like these. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Wallow if you must, cry it out if you need to. Eat all of your quarantine snacks in one sitting. Do what you need to do, adjust. Try to do better tomorrow.

Establish a routine

I’ve learned (through almost a month of trial and error) that the best way to feel better is to try to stay on some semblance of a schedule. Maybe now you do not have to be at work early, you can’t get to the gym, and you don’t need to get up to make school lunches before dropping the kids at school on the way to the office. Everything is cancelled but there are still reasons not to sleep in until noon. Try waking up around the time that you normally would, or at minimum in time to get a reasonable start on the day. This is going to be key.  Set a schedule for yourself. Start your day. If you are able to work from home, commit to a certain time to start work and stick to it. Write it down somewhere you can see it if need be. Develop some kind of routine, even if it needs to be tweaked a little here and there to allow for an extra episode. Just do it, your body (and sanity) will thank you.

Get up and get moving

Yes, we’ve talked about getting out of bed, but also move other places. Your body needs exercise. This could take the form of a home workout or if possible, get out and get some fresh air. Take a break from work and have a stroll down your driveway, around your neighborhood, or maybe walk to the store when you go to get your essentials. Pick old hobbies back up or try something new that you have always wanted to try—rollerblading, hula hooping, maybe have a jump rope contest with your kids. Do yoga, make a cool new tiktok, or attend your regular Zumba class with a group meetup online. Anything that will get your heart and lungs pumping is just fine.

Set up a space that sets you up for success

Whether that is painting a fresh coat on the walls you never noticed had more potential or setting up a home office. We all have things that bother us. I know I automatically start my day off on a bad note if I do not make my bed and open my blinds. The feeling of a freshly made up room with sunlight streaming in first thing in the morning is my happy place. I can count the times I rushed out of my home without doing so probably on one hand. Without my happy place I am foul and disorganized, neither of which being characteristics I strive for. Need a desk with an outlet nearby and no distractions? Do you prefer to look out a window while you work on payroll? Rearrange a little. Everything right now is trial and error. Take this time to explore new setups for your home and see what works for you. There are no wrong answers, just new possibilities.

Find something to look forward to each day

And if possible, something to be thankful for as well. I’ve started playing highs and lows with myself. I allow some time to reflect on my day at the end of each; I praise myself for what I was able to accomplish and think back on what I maybe didn’t do so well and mentally add that to my list of improvements. Most of us won’t come out of this with a million-dollar idea developed at home or rock-hard abs; however, we can start learning to be a little kinder to ourselves. Give yourself honest evaluations. We just need to all make it back out on the other side— perhaps a little more patient, a little more kind.

 

Article by: Mindi Flippen


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