5 Easy Steps to Surviving Social Distancing
I'm not here to get into the state of the world right now, because I think everyone's in agreement that things are scary and uncertain and generally messed up. Really, my only goal with this besides providing myself some peace of mind is to help others feel less alone. There's a lot of different info constantly circulating, so it's important to be keeping up to date with reliable sources rather than the geniuses on Twitter.
For me, this has been key to keeping a calm head and staying informed without spiraling. That being said, I'm (clearly) neither a health nor psychiatry expert. The list below is all opinion based solely on what I've found works for me and combatting my anxiety. If I can help others in the process, then all the better.
So. How to survive all this uncertainty and isolation?
1. Move Your Body
I've seen a lot of people saying this, but it bears repeating. Your physical body has such a huge impact on what goes on upstairs. I'm not necessarily telling you to workout, either- stretching/yoga, dancing to loud music, or even a quick walk around the block are all great options. If you are a looking for workouts to supplement your regular gym time, a ton of personal trainers have been offering discounted or pay-what-you-can programs. I encourage you to channel your inner kid; get up, shake yourself around, maybe sweat a little. Any way that you can keep your body feeling good is a step towards keeping your mind a bit more sane.
2. Practice Having Faith
This is another broad one, but I promise I'm not trying to push religion. During a time like this it can be easy to see all the world as this bad, dark place or to believe that things will never get better. Having some kind of faith to turn to (be it religion, spirituality, or just a really motivating podcast) can keep you from feeling like everything's closing in. One thing that works for me is meditation because it allows me to tune out all the chaos for a while. When everything starts to feel out of control, it helps to trust that a greater power is somehow working in your favor. So take a breath. Find something in the present moment to believe in. Allow yourself to reconnect with that higher source, whatever it may be for you.
3. Find an Outlet
Exhibit A: this blog. I've chosen to use this time to come back to writing and find a source of relief from all the craziness. You can do the same by trying to find the opportunity in this crisis. Learn a new skill; start a fresh project; return to a hobby that you enjoy but haven't made time for in a while. Creativity is not only cathartic, but it makes distracting yourself fun. Those who feel capable of doing so can also use this time to be productive: work on your business, update your resume, finally donate those clothes taking up space in your closet. Embrace the uncertainty and emotionality in the world right now. Consider what you've been feeling lately and how to best let it out. Find ways to make this time at home feel well spent.
4. Keep Your Friends Close...
COVID might be keeping us from our loved ones, but one thing that softens the blow is all the different ways we can communicate across distance. It's easy to withdraw during a time when most of the world is quite literally retreating, but be wary of neglecting those you care about. It's important to talk about how we're responding to the events in the world because it helps remind us we're not alone. It's also okay (and necessary) to step outside of the chaos for a while. Sometimes you've got to set the fear aside and just enjoy each other's (digital) company. It's times like these when we have to remind ourselves that not everything in the world sucks; spending time with the ones you love is a pretty good way to do that.
5. ...But Yourself Closer
Bad pun, moving on. If you're distancing with family, roommates, or significant others don't be afraid to ask for space. Spending so much time in close quarters with people can cause rifts, no matter how much you love them. Find ways to do your own thing separate from the rest of your household. Allow yourself time for stillness, privacy, and clearing your head. If I manage to do it while sharing a studio with my boyfriend then I promise you can, too.
These are bizarre, scary times. The world is feeling a lot of emotions and whatever it is you're feeling, it's alright to take it in stride. Just know that for all the horrible things beyond our control, there will always be beautiful things right in front of us. Lately I've been making a point to focus on the latter more often. I hope those reading this will, too.