If you feel stuck at home during COVID-19 and feel like the walls are closing in, here are a few things that you can do for you:
Connect with loved ones
Dare I say it, as the anti-phonecall Queen I am, but actually calling your loved ones makes a huge difference. We’re being challenging to make use of all methods of non-physical contact and finally use those unlimited minutes on our mobile contracts – note to self.
In the few times I’ve been outside, it’s been weird seeing other people but I imagine it’s worse for those who are used to being surrounded by their friends and family. I’m a bit of a homebody, so I’m already an expert in sending long voice notes to my friends and contributing to lively WhatsApp groups.
What’s also been working for me is video calls via Skype and Zoom, with different groups of friends, on a Saturday night with a cup of tea and my dressing gown. It’s so nice to see their faces, have a bit of a chat and a cackle, and check-in with everybody.
Admittedly, I’m still working during this time so I’ve been on meetings on Zoom almost daily, meeting members of staff because I’m new in the role. Again, I think it’s wonderful that we have this technology so we can still contact people and for that contact to afford us a bit of flexibility while we’re on lockdown.
Connect with self
In the first couple of weeks of lockdown, I found it difficult to sleep. My head was full of thoughts and worries and conversations I wouldn’t get to have. There was other stuff going on in my life but talking about it briefly, if at all, wasn’t helping. So, I wrote in my journal.
Journal writing doesn’t have to be structured or follow a theme or answer a question. Sometimes writing a stream of consciousness is exactly what you need to feel like you’re offloading.
I wrote every night and sometimes during the day, stopping only when I had nothing left to say. I wrote down all the random thoughts and very valid worries. I wrote down my mental processing of the world and what I want to see on the other end of this pandemic. I wrote about my relief at leaving a job and gratitude to be starting another. I wrote meal plans and a shopping list. I wrote a weekly budget, ideas to keep the kids entertained and tasks for me to complete when I was ready to be creative again.
Get it all out. Before bed or first thing in the morning. Don’t stop at the bottom of the page and don’t set yourself a timer. Don’t restrict the flow of the words as they fill up the pages and don’t police the content either. This is your space, your time, your right to connect with yourself.
Feed the mind
Podcasts continue to hold a special space in my heart, really. While I’m not driving my children to school or to work at the moment, there are still moments in my day when I have time to myself. As I’m also not watching the news right now, I’m taking the time to catch up on my favourite podcasts.
You don’t have to actively sit still and listen, podcasts can be listened to while you wash up, cook dinner and fold laundry. In my opinion, it makes these mundane activities seem much more interesting!
As an overthinker, it isn’t enough that I watch films and series on Netflix every night. My brain likes to dig deep and so instead of finding all the holes in my life, I prefer to stimulate it with a podcast.
In terms of topics, I like ghost stories, business advice, interviews with writers and episodes that cover personal development. My taste is a mixed bag and that’s a pretty good thing to have because I have something for every mood.
I used to have a podcast and while I’m not convinced about reviving it, you’re welcome to listen to the old episodes here.
Feed the soul
When the world feels like it is falling apart, sometimes feeding your soul is what you need to survive.
I’m not suggesting that the world is falling apart but it is changing and we are collectively having a brand new experience. It will feel scary and it will throw us off, especially while we learn to adapt to that change.
Creative activities can be incredibly therapeutic, from painting to drawing to baking to making to knitting to writing to singing to anything else you can think of. If, like me, you’re already in tune with your creativity, you’ll know where to invest your time right now. If this is new to you, you have an opportunity to try something new and perhaps discover a new talent or interest.
Creating just for the sake of it is magical. There doesn’t always have to be an outcome other than you feel better. Creativity doesn’t have to lead to a website or a book or a workshop, it doesn’t have to mean you must share it or talk about it or do a course in it. Consider it a way of soothing your soul and so as long as you have done that, you’ve taken care of yourself.
You could be someone who has decided that now is the time to renovate your kitchen. You may choose to landscape your garden, redecorate your bedroom or maybe even launch a business. You may decide to write a book or do online courses, maybe even start baking chicken pie to pass the time. Filling your time with activities is not at all a bad thing, sometimes it’s all we know how to cope. Sometimes slowing down isn’t an option.
But it’s worth highlighting, particularly while we’re in worldwide lockdown, you do not have to put pressure on yourself to perform at beyond full capacity.
It’s okay to be still, to stay in bed, to stay in your pajamas, to do nothing but rest and eat and look after your kids.
It’s okay to focus on just getting through the day, of downloading DisneyPlus so your kids are occupied.
It’s okay to give yourself a few weeks off from blogging while you process the changing world around you.
It’s okay to delete social media apps to give yourself space from consuming all the worry and anxiety from your newsfeed.
Do what feels good for you.
You’re not stuck inside, you’re at home keeping safe
I’m not interested in guilting anyone, myself included, into throwing themselves into constant activities all for the sake of feeling or being seen as productive.
Wearing yourself out and down won’t make you feel better, won’t make this experience any easier, which is why I implore you to take care of you, when and where you can.
A simple shift in perspective can help you process the changes, which is why I lean away from saying “stuck at home” because that is not the truth.
We’re simply staying at home to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.