The current new normal is social isolation. People at home with their families, pets or alone. For many it can be challenging to handle. Time seems to be a blur, forgetting what day or time it is. Finding things to keep you busy or trying to work remotely can be challenging. Living in sweats, yoga pants or jammies all day can really bring you down. In this post I am going to give you some simple tips that have a huge impact.
Let me start by saying that I live alone with two cats and have worked from home for years. I have even done it without having a cell phone by using skype, zoom, facebook and whatsapp. I am an introvert/extrovert which means I prefer to be alone but also need time with other humans in small groups now and again. I socialize on a daily basis but it looks different than going to happy hour, dinner or out to events. I have work deadlines, meetings, trainings and more just like those who go to an office.
- Create a schedule and stick to it. That begins with a regular bedtime and wakeup time. (I use an alarm even though I am home). Create a daily work schedule with breaks if you are working from home. If you are not working during this time, you need a schedule as well. First plan your meals and put them in your schedule. If you want to take an online class, clean out a closet, home school, do a puzzle, journal, do spiritual work or watch a movie, it all goes in your schedule. This keeps you aware of what day and time it is. It also allows you to feel that you accomplished something at the end of the day which will really help with loneliness or depression.
- Plan social encounters online, over the phone or video. For example I have a group of friends that meet every Saturday night to check in and play games. I have a support group on Saturday mornings I run for my private membership group. I am in two masterminds and we meet weekly. (Mastermind is a group working together on a similar project supporting each other. I have one for marketing, one for tech and one for coaching so I continue to grow and learn new things.) I facetime with friends, text and call. You can use video conferencing to gather groups live together, there are many companies that offer it. I have something social in my calendar every day except for Sunday which is a me day! One thing I did years ago when I was healing from a horrible accident and going through a really rough time was to create a phone tree. I had 7 friends call me at 6pm on a set day, one would call Monday, etc. I asked them to call and tell me about their day. This gave them space to vent and share while connecting me and I got companionship. I did this so I did not focus on how bad I had it and it was the bright spot in my day.
- Be of service. When you are of service, it is hard to feel depressed. Anytime my business was not doing well or I was feeling isolated or sad, I would help others. This lifted my spirit and made me feel connected. Right now so many non-profits need help. Donate financially if you can or donate your time. I have always had this on my weekly schedule. Currently I am cooking on hot meal a day for my neighbors that are elderly and do not cook. I have done all kinds of things over the years being of service. What you give really comes back and it elevates your mood. Make cards for make a wish kids that can not get their wishes now, for elderly in assisted living or teachers or medical personal. It all makes a difference and you will not only feel better but feel more connected.
- Schedule your meal and snack times. Over eating is a huge issue when you are stressed and stuck at home. I make snack boxes full of veggies and dip that I can grab at snack time. I plan my meals ahead of time and do all the prep so meal time is easy. I set alarms to remind me it is breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time so I keep a regular schedule. If I feel like grazing before bed, I make herbal tea and give myself ¼ cup of pistachios in shells to crack and eat. (They help with sleep and take longer to eat by cracking them.) Watch what you eat. If you are eating crap, you will feel like crap. Every Friday night I make myself a special dinner if I achieved all my goals on my schedule for the week. Not a cheat meal but something I can look forward to like garlic shrimp, a small steak or an appetizer dinner to go with a movie. (Stuffed mushrooms, veggies and dip, fresh salsa and chips…)
- Give yourself Grace. You might not get everything done on your daily schedule, you might just binge Netflix or bite your loved ones head off. Just regroup, make amends and try to do better. Beating yourself up only adds despair and depression. Did you put chips and ice cream in that grocery delivery and eat it all while hiding in the bathroom? Ok, you did it. Let it go and next time stick to your list. You have to be gentle with yourself and make sure to watch that internal chatter, it can get negative. Acknowledge it, change the dialogue and give yourself grace.
If you need more support, I am gifting a free coaching session. Not a sales call but a real session as long as there is room in my calendar, just one per person. If you got value and want more, contact me to work with me. I will not be reaching out to you because right now, none of us need to be sold to. I am here to help. This is temporary and if you feel accomplished when you crawl into bed at night it is much easier. Reach out and connect with others. Get support and remember to breathe. We are in this together all over the world. Stay home if you can and stay safe.