“Every test successfully met is rewarded by some growth in intuitive knowledge, strengthening of character, or initiation into a higher consciousness.”
― Paul Brunton
In the past week, Australia and the rest of the world have slowly started to shut down socially. Everywhere you get your news they are asking people to practice social distancing—in other words, avoiding close contact with others. People are being advised to limit their socialising to small groups of no more than 10 people to help prevent the spread of Covid19 (coronavirus).
As a result, the usual social gathering spots—offices, bars, restaurants, and movie theatres—are off-limits. Assuming they’re still open for business in your area, most people will be practically confined to their homes. Without the face-to-face social contact that helps keep us feeling connected and positive.
Problem is, it’s a human need to stay active mentally and physically and maintain some social connections. These help us feel happy, busy, and healthy. You can understand this better from psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. With this in mind, we decided to come up with some fun things to do whilst social distancing.
Don’t Binge On The News
If you’ve been glued to your screens for the latest COVID-19 updates, this is for you. Taking a break from the stream of negative reports can help reduce stress and anxiety. It also gives your brain room to for positive thoughts and ideas.
Turning off alerts and notifications on your phone is also smart. Try limit your exposure to the news to a few minutes at a time. Just tune in so you’re aware of developments nationally and in your area but don’t get caught up in what-ifs. I personally would advise to turn the TV off. It’s so repetitive and anxiety-inducing, and especially terrible if you have kids at home. Also resist the urge to check the latest headlines before bed, you’ll likely get a better night’s sleep.
Social distancing doesn’t mean bumming around on the couch all day. Thanks to YouTube, Pinterest, and other sites, you can get a thorough workout from home. Just 30 minutes of any kind of heart-pumping workout can significantly reduce stress. It’ll also make you feel busy and accomplished.
If a fitness routine isn’t your style, come up with your own creative way to work up a sweat. It can be anything from running around with kids to dancing around the house to music. There’s some great playlists on Spotify and Apple Music to get you grooving. If you are able to get outside, being in nature can further reduce your stress level; it can also spark your creative side.
Tick Off Your To-Do List
Sitting in front of the TV for days and binging on Netflix will probably make you stir-crazy. A better way to stay active and focused? Get on that to-do list you’ve been putting off forever and get to work. I believe that specific purpose brings specific results so having a list will keep you motivated.
A lot of us have probably said for years, ‘I’ll do that when I have time.’ Well, good news, now you have time. When we procrastinate on projects, that causes chaos which then causes stress. So as you start to tackle those projects, it can help reduce stress as well as help you feel like you’re accomplishing something. Even though we may not be doing anything productive about coronavirus in particular, tackling even little projects can feel good. So trim your lawns, weed out your garden, clean out your garage and organise your closet.
Up-skill Yourself or Learn a New Hobby
Speaking of to-do lists, you probably have a bucket list of things you’ve wanted to do or learn, but you never had the time. Not only will picking up a new skill help pass time and give your brain a workout, but doing new things is its own stress buster. I have taken this time to start working on my second book to follow up World War You and I am enjoying the time I get to put in brainstorming and writing.
There is plenty of research that shows when we learn something new, and do something that allows us to grow, it can be very powerful. Whether you want to learn a language, learn how to cook, or even learn how to put on fake eyelashes, or nails now is the time to do it. Many online classes and seminars are free and can be done from the comfort of your couch. There are so many options, the hardest part will be deciding which skills to take on.
Create The Right Environment For Work
Don’t get me wrong, spending a day in your Pjs is the dream. But spending weeks in your Pjs? You really might go crazy. To make things feel as normal as possible and keep your sense of purpose try get up and get dressed like you usually would for work. You don’t have to get into your finest outfits, but shower, change your clothes, and act as if you’re going to interact with other people. This helps give a sense of normalcy in a time where things are definitely not normal.
Speaking of Pjs, it’s easy to make “work from home” synonymous with “work from bed”. But even if your home is the size of a shoebox, it’ll be good for your mental health to carve out some kind of dedicated office. Even just dedicating a part of your room as your temporary work space that’s separate from your sleep space will make a huge difference. Many mates I know are turning their kitchen counters and tables into work spaces.
Check Up On Others
The impact of social distancing can be even harder on those who are struggling with mental health issues and loneliness. Taking the time to reach out to others, especially those who are more vulnerable because of age or health, might help alleviate a little bit of the discomfort and stress of self-isolation—yours and theirs. It’s also an engaging way to get in some socialising.
A lot of people are really stressing out, and we know from way back that when we help others, we help ourselves. This doesn’t have to be anything major, it could be something as simple as ‘Hey, this is a stressful time, I’m thinking of you.‘
There are a million different ways to communicate with your loved ones, but creating that face-to-face time over video chat with friends and family is so important. Set up a FaceTime date to eat dinner together virtually. Let your kids have virtual play dates over Skype. I think people should be thinking about everything they can do to stay connected remotely where possible.
It’s also a good time to connect with old friends or family members you care for but aren’t in regular contact with. Take the time to reach out to an old friend, and let them know you’re thinking of them. Use your social media platforms to encourage and uplift others. Short videos just sharing how you are doing will go a long way.
Lastly, all those that are in self-isolation or quarantine we are rooting for you, stay positive and hang in there. It is a tough time but we believe together we will overcome this. To those on the front line, the doctors, nurses, microbiologists and volunteers we salute you for the hard work and hours you are putting in.
Share with us your social distancing tips in the comments section. We will get through this.