Having trouble coping with this new normal? Here are 12 creative ways to stay sane during social distancing.
As much as it pains me to comes to terms with it, it seems like social distancing and staying home is a new way of life for us all. What came in like a tsunami of dramatic and shocking changes now seems to be sitting around like the flood that never recedes. My best guess is we have at least another month or two of this new lifestyle... if not more. I'm sure I'm not the only one having a hard time coming to terms with that.
I have to admit the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking about everyone staying home was all the new projects that could get done.
"Look at all this free time!" I thought. "I should write a post about all the things we can do with all our free time!"
After the first week though I started feeling guilty that I hadn't written a novel or learned a new language. I definitely hadn't touched the mess in my unfinished basement or written that brilliant post. I was lucky to get one tiny kitchen cabinet reorganized. In my defense, I have twin toddlers that take every second of my free time with crazy shenanigans.
Even if you don't have two toddlers though, this post is not chock full of things overwhelming things to do that you end up feeling bad for NOT accomplishing. After a few weeks of social distancing and staying at home I've started to realize that we don't all need MORE to do, we just all need to find a way to give ourselves some serious grace and figure out how to find some joy in our new lives. If reorganizing doesn't bring you joy... that's ok. So many of my friends and family are struggling with this and adding a massive to-do list might honestly do more harm than good.
The world is hard and uncertain right now for everyone... even if you manage to stay healthy. Hopefully, this post can help you find that joy and more importantly sanity in the new normal.
12 Creative Ways to Stay Sane During Social Distancing
Find a New Daily Routine
Most people thrive on some sort of schedule or routine. Figure out your new normal and work through your routine. Focus on starting your morning in a positive way with healthy food. Plan to do something virtually social and active every day. If you can get outside at all... do it. Getting outside daily is currently saving my sanity.
Whether you are working from home, taking care of kids or have lots of free time loosely time block your day and stick to it. Take a short amount of time to cry and mourn what you lost in your old routine and then embrace the new. There is no point in dwelling on what we can't have right now.
Don't Over Plan
Finding a new routine is important but this is not the time to over plan. I enjoy filling my calendar with meals, dinner dates and things to do. There is nothing I love more than planning a new vacation and putting it in the calendar months in advance.
As much as we can embrace a new routine, now is not the time to get our hopes up for things in the coming days or weeks. Everything is changing so much that it's better to take things one day at a time so we don't end up with even more disappointment.
Schedule a Virtual Wine or Coffee Date
Do you normally meet a friend for wine or coffee? Set up a virtual date! My high school girlfriends and I have a standing video chat date on Wednesday nights now. It's a great way to have something to look forward to and not break the social distancing guidelines but still be social.
Check-in with Friends
It's easy to get wrapped up in life at home that you forget everyone is going through similar challenges. Check-in with friends and family to make sure they are ok. It will make you feel better, in the end, to know we are all coping with this new normal.
I'm not going to throw a bunch of new hobbies at you, but I will challenge you to try yoga. I think yoga has so much value in any situation but right now it can be something that can ground and calm you. It can also help keep your body healthy and flexible if you happen to be sitting around more during this. If you invest the time it in, it can be good for your body, mind, and soul.
Many local yoga studios are offering virtual classes, but you can also find videos streaming online. I've always enjoyed Rodney Yee yoga videos which are inexpensive on Amazon.
I have to admit the Hubs and I watch tv most nights but sometimes it gets old and makes my mind feel numb. Playing board games with the family is a great way to get off the couch and do something different without a lot of fuss.
HERE are some great options on Amazon which are still shipping quickly.
Outdoor Lawn Games
My neighbors have older kids and have been out in their yard in the evening playing lawn games and even whiffle ball. I thought it was a genius idea to get everyone up, outside and moving. With the weather warming up, this is a perfect way to pass some time. There are lots of great options HERE.
Watch the Movie or Series You've Always Wanted to See
This is your permission to binge-watch the entire Star Wars or Lord of Rings series. What about that one tv show everyone talks about but you never found time to watch? Dive in! I'm not sure when there will ever be a better time to commit to watching something that will take days. Just do yourself a favor and set a time limit on the amount of tv you consume in a day. Like kids, it can make us a bit crazy to just watch a screen all day.
Limit Your News Time
As a former TV news journalist, I can be a bit a TV news junkie. When this whole situation started blowing up I found myself glued to the news most waking hours. I had a craving to know if anything new had happened. As the days passed I realized this was so unhealthy for me and was giving me severe anxiety. It was messing with my sleep and was not the best way to stay sane.
Now more than ever it is so important to know what is going on in your community and the world BUT be reasonable and set some time limits. I settled on watching some cable news in the morning to make sure nothing developed overnight. I'm also taping the local 6 PM news and the national 6:30 news. I'll watch the highlights of that sometime in the evening to get caught up for the day and learn any new developments. The news is important and valuable right now, but it's better in small doses. Figure out what works for you!
You don't have to attempt to reorganize your house but find small ways to declutter daily. Clutter can cause stress, especially if you are stuck home all day to see it. If you look at something and cringe, find time to deal with it. You don't have to tackle to whole house but if you can get at least a few spaces clutter-free you will feel so much better.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Life is hard right now and I'm not trying to minimize that. One thing that helps me though is finding things to be grateful for. Get a small journal and each evening write a few things down you are grateful for. It's a small task but can help you flip your way of thinking. On nights when you struggle adding anything at all you can look back and remember things on the list from the weeks before.
If You Need Help, Get It.
This is a challenging time for everyone. This crisis is impacting everyone differently and some more than others. It's ok to be doing all of this and still not feeling great. If you are really struggling and actually feeling like you can't handle these changes consider getting professional guidance. Many people are offering online and virtual mental health counseling. This is a crazy time and there is no shame in getting some help. It's ok to not be ok.
Need more help dealing with these changes? Also read...
- My Healthy Stockpile Grocery List
- 5 Steps to Be Productive Working from Home
- 10 Easy & Effective Home Workouts
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How are you coping with the changes? Anything you'd add to my list?
Andrea on Vacation says
I need someone to play board games with! My bf isn't interested after a long day of work (he's essential and working more now than ever before!). Houseparty, the app, has some games I can play with friend which is fun but I miss board games!
Lisa Ballantyne says
All are great ideas! I have found myself indulging in binge-watching on Hulu and Netflix. I'm amazed that with so much time on my hands, I can actually get through an entire season or two of certain series in a single day or over the space of a couple days!
Angela Cardamone @marathonsandmotivation.com says
These are all great ideas! This has been a tough month and I know we have at least another month of it!!
I especially love your title for this post. Haha! This list is so wonderful and I wholeheartedly agree with limiting your news time. I was just talking about this with a friend. She struggles with anxiety and has left the news on almost all day. I think this unique situation can have even those who don't struggle with anxiety a bit anxious. Great ideas here!
Kaleigh @ Lively Table says
All of these ideas are great! I always have yoga on my list. I agree that it is so calming.
Jon Maldia says
Yoga is definitely always on our list in our household. We'd probably do some coffee dates with family and friends though.
Nicole Drinkwater says
These are wonderful tips. Limiting news time has been key for me. I check in in the morning and then leave it until the next day.
Libby Haire says
Doing Distance Learning here in North Central Florida. Have no TV but keep up with the news via WUFT out of Gainesville.
It's lonely but I'm hopeful something will allow us to return to regular schedule this summer. My School will, of course, be over. At that time I will have to restructure the days.
Family and friends stay in contact with phone and text and email.
Enjoy seeing you and the boys!
Deborah Brooks says
I have adapted to a new daily schedule. I am such a schedule person that I crave the consistency of one. Great tips!
Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy says
Virtual dates and outside time have been so helpful for us!
Ruth Malick says
Thanks for the suggestion of a virtual coffee with friends. I have really been missing this so I think I’ll try to schedule one on zoom.
Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real says
I decluttered during the first week and a half of quarantine and it felts amazing! My family did a big zoom call last weekend and it was nice for my grandparents to see everyone since my grandma was struggling a bit