Let’s face it: we are living in some pretty strange times right now. The world is on lockdown. Schools are closed, flights are grounded, public spaces are shut down, the economy is shaky, and there’s no toilet paper anywhere. But the silver lining of isolation is that there's now plenty of time to reconnect with what’s important. Using this time to disconnect and regroup can be bearable, if not enjoyable.
Yes, things are hard right now. Yes, it’s scary to suddenly lose structure and be separated from our entire support network. But try not to panic. We are all going through this together. Not just in this country, but across the globe. Don't forget why we're doing this—it's for the greater good. One day this will all be behind us because of what we're doing now.
Put your phone down. Better yet, unplug from all devices and switch off every screen. While social media might feel like a lifeline in times like these, algorithms keep us trapped in a bubble of bad news that can send us down an endless anxiety spiral. How many times have you caught yourself scrolling aimlessly for hours lately? It’s important to stay informed, but it’s equally important to set limits. If you need help curbing your screen addiction, try installing a time management app.
When everything else is closed, there’s one thing that will always remain open: nature. Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine is amazing for both mental and physical health. Make a point of going outside at least once a day if you're able, even if you just sip a cup of coffee on your back step. If nothing else, you’ll get your daily dose of virus-fighting Vitamin D.
You know those movies, documentaries, and TV shows have been sitting in your Netflix queue for months? Years even? Now’s the perfect time to use the escapism you have right at your fingertips to transport yourself to another world for a few hours. If you want a break from screens, go on a reading binge instead and get lost in a book. Your excuse for not having enough time to read no longer holds up.
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While none of us will be going to the gym anytime soon, that doesn’t mean we have to stop moving. Aerobic exercise is one of the best mental health boosters out there, busting stress and relieving symptoms of depression. Staying in shape can also keep our bodies primed to fight illness. Keeping fit at home doesn’t mean you have to blow your savings on expensive gym equipment that will probably end up as a clothes hanger when this is over anyway. You can follow countless exercise videos online, from yoga to dance to martial arts. A half-hour of physical activity per day is all it takes to reap major benefits.
Loneliness is an unavoidable side effect of social distancing as we pull ourselves away from human contact. Luckily, we have quite a few ways available to stay in touch with loved ones while cooped up at home. Video chats, virtual dinner parties, and even snail mail are meaningful ways to connect when we’re feeling disconnected.
Ever feel like your brain has 70 tabs open at once? Well, it’s time to close them. Your wide-open schedule means you finally have a chance to clear your mind. The Dutch have a word for the art of simply doing nothing: Niksen. Chances are, you were a member of the “cult of busyness” before all this kicked off. Now that many events and activities have been canceled and nobody’s busy anymore, it’s glaringly obvious how unhealthy “being busy for the sake of being busy” is. Relish in this opportunity to relax and savor the slower pace of life we all have now.
Bringing the Danish concept of hygge into your house might make you enjoy being stuck at home for weeks on end. Hygge was invented centuries ago as a survival tactic for the very long, very dark Scandinavian winters. It might also explain why Nordic people are among the happiest in the world. Basically, it’s all about creating a cozy environment to shelter in. Candles, string lights, soft textiles, good reads, and hot drinks form the backbone of hygge.
Put down your phone with all its built-in distractions and dust off your DSLR camera for a change. Get creative with macros, slow exposures, and time-lapses. Instead of simply sharing your photos online, order some old school prints and load them in a photo album or scrapbook as a tangible way to look back on these historic times forever. You don’t even need a camera. If you’re artistically inclined, start filling up that empty sketchbook that’s been sitting in your drawer. Or start a journal.
Maintaining a positive attitude is probably one of the best things we can do to help one another right now. Steer clear of negativity and don’t engage with it. Keep sharing funny jokes, videos, and memes. Making people smile has a knock-on effect. It will create a ripple of joy that can make a huge difference to people’s days.
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