How to stay sane while social distancing

While the title of this post seems almost flippant, it is important to note that for most of us, our lives have been completely turned upside down. Grand plans have been put on hold, big events cancelled, routines out the window.

Such is the impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on our lives, our new normal is entirely different to what we had before. And while we know that all of this is necessary, it is completely understandable that all we might feel a bit odd. So, just as I’m getting used to my ‘new normal’, here is what I’ll be doing to help me cope.

  • Set a weekly schedule

Admittedly, this was my husband’s suggestion and not one for being held to routine, I originally dismissed it before realising it was a really bloody good idea. Without the structure of a commute or my morning gym visit, hours are long and days run into each other. Instead of getting lulled into the security of ‘get up, go to work, go to bed’, we’ve planned a week full of fun things to look forward to. We’ll be looking forward to Saturday night ‘at the movies’ (spoilers! It’s our television and some popcorn from our Ocado delivery) and ‘Chill Mondays’ (bath and book for me, PS4 for him) For you, this might include a evening of reading in a comfy space or a couple of hours creating something (a poem, a painting, a woolly scarf?)

  • Catch up with your work pals every day

If you’ve never worked from home before, it can come as quite a shock. While I’ve worked from home one day a week for the last couple of years, I’m still used to being in the office most of the time. Downsides of WFH permanently include not being able to shout over to your colleague when you want them to answer a quick question and having no-one to share the coffee round with. Having a catch-up via your video calling software of choice not only helps to keep in contact, it also helps to beat loneliness. Even if they’re on the other end of a screen.

  • Book into an online yoga class

Since the yoga studio I occasionally attend has closed its doors, I’ve booked myself into my first online yoga class, streamed via Zoom. While I’m sure it’ll have great health benefits (for my brain and my dodgy back), I’m also content in the knowledge that I’ll be keeping local yoga teachers afloat. Plus, I’ve just bought a new yoga mat!

  • Have a drink with friends (virtually)

Last Friday, one of my clever friends suggested having drinks and a catch-up over video call at 7pm and I hope it is something we can repeat. It was a great chance to see each other and have a chat about the current madness. Plus, we got to see our friend’s little boy before bedtime and I even managed to get Lily the cat in on the act. An ideal antidote to a stressful week!

  • Talk to your pet (if you have one)

I’m lucky enough to own the noisiest cat in the world who is always up for a chat. In these strange times, there is something very therapeutic about stroking a cat or watching them continuing their odd behaviour. For Lily, this includes bringing in worms, continuing to wake us up at 5am every day and spending her day jumping on my laptop keyboard.

  • Set yourself a running club goal

Another genius plan from one of my friends is that we set up a joint running goal on one of our apps. I’d signed myself up to run my first 10k in May and as the event has been cancelled, I really want to stay motivated. Hopefully, arranging a virtual goal through Nike Running Club or Strava will keep me clocking up the miles – and will no doubt maintain good mental health too!

  • Stop scrolling and switch off the news

Admittedly, this is one I still need to get on board with. While I make the daily press conference part of my routine, I’m aware I need to limit the amount of news my brain consumes. I recently saw a post that said to limit your news intake to twice a day, which seems sensible. Wish me luck!

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