The current pandemic has taken over every aspect of our lives. Many talk about the “new normal” which we are all still trying to figure out including learning how to leave behind the habits that are no longer acceptable like physical interactions and simply being outside. It’s all a lot to deal with, but here are some things to keep in mind to keep you centered and calm.
1. Don’t feel pressured to do anything
This pandemic has created a stressful situation for everyone literally in the whole world. As a result, many of us were sent home from college or will no longer be going to a physical school or workplace for the first time in our lives. This has created the perception that we have to be doing something or working towards something with all of our free time. Spending your time doing things you enjoy like watching a series on Netflix, playing a game or reading a book have been demonized for not being “productive” or not being a good use of time. First of all, there’s plenty of time since we don’t know when it will be safe to resume normal life. Secondly, your time belongs to you and however you think is the best way to spend your time is up to you. What is widely considered as “being productive” is not the only thing that matters right now or even in general. Another way to think about it is that taking care of yourself is being productive, so put your energy into the activities that are beneficial to you and bring you joy. As long as these activities keep you safely distant from large groups of people, then it shouldn’t really matter what we do while under quarantine.
2. You are only distancing yourself physically
The term social distancing has popped up in our vocabulary since the pandemic began. We have all been encouraged to practice social distancing as a way to slow down the spread of coronavirus and also flatten the curve, referring to the slowing down of the infection rate. It is definitely an action that everyone should be doing, however, the term itself is kind of misleading. Social distancing is being portrayed as the action of staying a minimum of 6 feet away from people and avoiding large groups of people. There is more emphasis on the physical distance from other people rather than the social distance, which is an important distinction to make. While you won’t be able to physically see and touch your friends or other loved ones, you can definitely keep in contact with them. We now rely on technology more than ever, especially for contact with the outside world. Keeping in touch with people via text, phone call or video chat can help you feel connected to loved ones and maybe feel a little less like you are alone. Whether you check in once in a while or on a regular basis, don’t let the physical distance of a pandemic keep you away from being social with the people you care about.
3. You are not trapped inside your home
While under quarantine, the point is to be kept away from people outside of your household to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is a pretty logical solution and makes sense since you can’t be exposed to the virus if you are not exposed to people in general. The safest way to make sure this happens is to stay indoors where you know you won’t be surrounded by people. Despite this, you are not limited to only staying within your home during this pandemic. Obviously, if you absolutely need to go shopping for food and necessities, then it’s okay as long as you stay safe. That’s really what matters most, as long as we all stay safe while going outside then there isn’t any reason to stay indoors at all times. If the weather is nice, go outside for a walk, run, or sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.
4. It’s okay to still have time to yourself
Being quarantined with your family can definitely be a good thing. It can help make you feel a little bit less lonely by having physical people to actually talk to and interact with. At the same time, you may not be used to being in their presence for such a long time. Apart from winter break or summer vacation, you may not be used to being all together for a prolonged period of time. It’s something everyone is still trying to figure out. Certain dynamics might even change. This is normal, so allow you and your family to adjust to this new situation. If you find yourself needing a break for a certain amount of time, it’s okay to do so. You don’t need to spend every moment with them. Head over to a quiet space and take some time to focus on yourself.
5. It’s okay to give yourself a break
The old normal that we have all been living prior to the pandemic has been defined by structure. We all have to wake up at a certain time, eat or at least try to and get ready for school or by a way of figuring out the quickest commute possible. We pretty much do this every day, every week, every month et cetera. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are working in a field you are passionate about or working towards it. Even if you love the work you are doing, it’s still possible to get burned out. Now that we are all forced to stay home, things appear to be a little less strict and rightfully so. If you are being forced to adjust to working from home for the first time, be patient with yourself as you figure out your new schedule. Feel free to add some flexibility to relieve some pressure. Turn off your alarm, dress more casually and most importantly get enough sleep.
6. It won’t last forever
There’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the current pandemic. Statistics and updates make it hard to keep track of what is true and no longer relevant. If it seems chaotic, it’s because it is. One thing we do know is that this will not last forever. Right now, we are all taking the necessary actions to reduce the spread of coronavirus by avoiding restaurants, concerts, beaches, and traveling less often. If we continue to cooperate by staying home, we can hopefully reduce the number of people getting sick. We are sacrificing a lot, but one day in the future we will realize it will be worth it. When it’s safe to go out to eat with your family or see an artist live in concert, we will know it was worth it. We don’t know when that day is, but we will be able to do it all over again.