Fearing the Isolation Blues?
Depending on where in the world you are, you’re either starting or in the middle of social distancing. You may not be used to staying at home from work, much less if you’re the extrovert type. As a professional introvert, staying at home is the least of my problems.
Let me share a few tips to help you kick the isolation blues to the curb while staying inside.
Create habits & keep a schedule
It’s so easy to fall into vacation mode when you’re home. You start going to bed late, sleeping in, binging on Netflix. You get the gist.
When I went through depression, I always made sure to make my bed, take a shower, and get dressed. I’ve kept this up since then.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast, and don’t skip it. Look for smoothie recipes that boost the immune system. As stressful as these times can be, don’t make junk food part of your daily nutrition. If coffee makes you anxious, switch to chai or green tea.
Having a schedule is essential. Make sure you wake up, have your meals, and sleep at the same time most days. This will help you get back to your usual rhythm once this contingency is over.
Get 15 minutes of sunlight each day.
Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes in the sun each day. This will boost your immune system, improve your mood and sleep, help your bone health, and lower your blood pressure. Plus, you’ll get a breath of fresh air!
Don’t forget to move your body. It doesn’t matter if you step on a treadmill, do Yoga, or CrossFit. You have to keep moving. Same as sunshine, exercise will help boost your immune system, improve your mental health and your sleep, among many other benefits. Look for trainers or teachers offering classes remotely. If you can, go on a run outside while keeping a safe distance, of course.
Start a meditation practice.
One of the pillars of meditation is awareness. A simple way to meditate is by focusing on your breath. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. If you get distracted by thoughts, go back to your breath. Start with 5 minutes and notice how you feel afterward. You can deepen your meditation practice on Creative Life. They’re currently streaming mental and physical wellness classes for free.
Crafting and coloring are also an excellent way to stay present. You have more time on your hands now, why not start an embroidery project or learn how to knit.
Go on social media and news detox.
Though social media is a great way to connect with other people while being confined at home, it can also heighten anxiety. It’s very tempting to follow the 24/7 news cycle, but that only will stress you out even more. Try to limit your time on both and use technology wisely. Connect with loved ones through video chat, have a Zoom coffee break with your coworkers or your Yoga class, or have a family meal on Facetime. Let’s make social distancing less lonely.
Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.
It’s okay to feel stressed, anxious, angry, sad, scared about current events. This is something we haven’t experienced in our lifetimes before. Some of us are spending social distancing alone, away from loved ones. This can bring your mood down. Try to observe your emotions. Do they serve you? Can you transmute them to more positives ones?
My teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, has a little series on YouTube about relating to emotions by abandoning, transforming, and seeing their nature that may help you.
If the isolation blues get you, look for something that makes you laugh. Find stories that inspire you. Out of all the darkness happening now, there are little beacons of light to keep your hopes up.
Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Reach out. Talk to someone. It’s essential to keep your spirit up during this time. Higher emotional vibes boost your immune system as well.
End your day with gratitude.
Yes, being confined is terrible, having to cancel the long-awaited family reunion sucks, and the prospect of losing your job or business is stressful. Can you do something about it now? If so, then get moving. If not, why worry about something you can’t control this very second. Focus on the now: do you have a roof over your head? A warm bed? Clean clothes? A pet who loves you? A family who cares for you? The world may look insane right now, but there’s always something positive amidst the chaos.
One thing that helped me during dark times was gratitude. I put a jar next to my door. Each time I walked by, I would grab a piece of paper and write down something I was grateful for: the meal I had, a smile I received from a stranger, the butterflies and birds I saw during the day. After a week, the jar was full. Being thankful for little moments will get you through the darkness.
Know that after the rain the sun will shine again, maybe we’ll even see a double rainbow.
We’re all in this together.
Stay at home! Stay safe!
One last thing, Handmade businesses, like so many other businesses, are also struggling right now. In my case, the exchange rate has driven up operation costs that allow me to run mine around 20% as of this writing, and they might go up depending on how long this contingency lasts. I’m sure many creators are facing similar challenges while doing their best to stay afloat. If you can make a small purchase to support them, please do. If it’s not possible, engage, leave a comment, or a few words of support. Share their social media posts to help them get seen by more people. This can make a huge difference in their lives.