These are times of uncertainty that can cause us to feel anxious and isolated. The COVID-19 task force has suggested and highly encouraged us to “social distance” to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Understandably, this can cause some people to feel isolated, lonely, and anxious.
Social distancing means that we are asked not to do all the things we would normally do in our everyday lives. We are being encouraged to stay away from our friends, neighbors and extended families. We shouldn’t go to the places that often bring us comfort and entertainment. Very simply, we are being asked to be at home and be with the ones we love. In many ways, we are being asked to step back into simpler times.
We must realize it is not just about us, it is about the safety of others. But there are many things we can do to make this current crisis into a more positive experience.
Reach out to those who are the most vulnerable. Being there for others who need us the most is essential right now. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to the virus and at higher risk. If you know of people in this category and live close to them check in on them to see if they have the medications, food and the support they need.
Get outdoors! Get dressed, get up and get moving. There is nothing like good clean fresh air and healthy exercise to help ease our anxiety. Wherever you are, in whatever climate you are in – experience it and appreciate it. The blue skies, the fresh snow, the birds, the crispness or warmth of the air. Be aware of your senses and your surroundings. Take some deep breaths and enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors.
Disconnect from the news and social media. Set aside time each day to disengage with your electronics. Practice being present with yourself and your family. The media can be addicting and self-defeating. Continue to be informed by trusted sources and try not get caught up in the fear and drama of the unknown.
Keep routines and schedules. Even in isolation, it’s important to maintain a daily routine. Going to bed at a reasonable hour, getting up at your normal time, showering and getting dressed.
Call friends, coworkers or family. We now have the time to have those conversations we are normally too busy to have. Catch up with people you care about. Encourage children to FaceTime with grandparents and their friends allowing them to stay connected.
Make the most out of being at home. Cook some delicious homemade meals, play games, read a book, do some projects you have been putting off. Organize, get your taxes prepared early, get on your yoga mat, watch a documentary, watch a TV series, catch up on some movies, journal your feelings, OR, just relax! What is it you have always wanted to do and never had the time for? Do that!
No one knows how long this will last and all we can do is make the best of our circumstances. I believe it’s important to practice gratitude for the blessings we do have in our lives: our homes, our safety, good food, our health, our communities, families and each other. Let this be a time to practice compassion for ourselves and for others, a time to be an example of positivity and a time of opportunity to be the best we can be. We have many blessings, let us recognize them and be grateful!
Finally, I will leave you with a note my mentor, Robert Holden, posted on Instagram this last week:
Start spreading the love virus. With your eyes, your mouth, your heart. Be infectious with your wisdom, your grace, and your acts of kindness.
Be safe, and be well.
P.S. In a few days the world will celebrate the International Day of Happiness! Let’s take the opportunity to focus on joy in our world where we can!