When you start trying to engage your delivery driver in a chat about wine varieties and talking to your coffee maker, you know that isolation is getting to you. Whether you’re staying at home alone or with others, being stuck inside all day without your usual Friday drinks and staff room chat is probably sending you into a slow-winded tailspin of talking to yourself, claustrophobia and taking any excuse to get outside (oh look, the bin is a quarter full—better take it out to the dumpster).
But before you lose your tenuous grip on reality and start drinking at 11am, here’s a few strategies to keep you from feeling cooped up while you stay home in iso.
Make A Routine And Stick To It
Just because you’re not getting up to go to work each day doesn’t mean you should start staying up all night or finally getting to your emails at 3pm. Whatever your new routine may be, keep going to sleep and waking up at a reasonable time, get that morning workout in (these Youtube workouts might help), make sure you have breakfast, lunch and dinner and include some time for self care while you’re at it. Daily 5pm sheet mask to help us switch off our emails? Don’t mind if we do.
Dress For The Social Life You Want, Not The Social Life You Have
Ok, real talk—when did you last put on pants? How we dress can affect our mood, so if you’re feeling sluggish and down, maybe it’s time to take off the active wear, brush your teeth, wash your hair and put on your Sunday best, or at least something you’d leave the house in. Staying in your pyjamas all day may sound like a great idea, but you’ll find putting on clean (but still comfortable) clothes will do wonders for your levels of productivity.
Get Outside At Least Once A Day
Even if it’s just to your balcony, backyard or front steps. Go for a walk if you can—try less travelled streets or quiet times during the day if you’re worried about coming into contact with people. Can’t do any of that? Open a window, roll up the blinds and blast the fan—soak up all the vitamin D and fresh air any way you can.
Call Your Friends And Family
Houseparty, Facetime, Skype, Messenger, Zoom—there’s so many ways to connect with people in our modern world, and now is the time to use them. Schedule in a weekly virtual hangout or just pick up the phone and call someone—chances are, they’re going to answer. No, it’s not quite the same as hanging out at bar, but it’s something. You could even try ordering the same food delivered, or getting takeaway cocktails from your favourite bar, to really recreate that normal Friday night experience in iso.
Busy Your Hands And Your Mind
If the boredom is getting to you—do something about it. No, you don’t have to start a new side hustle or learn a language, even putting together a puzzle will do. You could take up a new hobby, finally finish that huge pile of books on your bedside table, find a crafty project to do or just get addicted to computer games—before you know it, you’ll have forgotten you haven’t left the house in days.
Help Someone Else
No matter how little you’re showering right now, one thing is for sure—there’s a heap of people out there feeling just as cooped up as you are, and plenty who are struggling even more. If you feel like you’re just adrift, give yourself a renewed sense of purpose by helping someone else, whether it’s getting groceries for your elderly neighbour, cooking dinner for a friend who’s been stood down from their job, or just taking it upon yourself to heroically save your local hospitality scene by ordering takeaway once a week.
Ask For Help Yourself
If you’re really struggling, there are places to turn to for help. Beyond Blue has set up a dedicated Coronavirus help line for anyone in need of support, from tips on how to manage your mental well being to strategies on keeping your head up if you’ve lost your job. Lifeline’s crisis line is also operating 24/7, and we bet your friends, family, co-workers and even neighbours would all be willing to lend an ear if you just need to talk to someone that isn’t the postie.
Remind Yourself That This Is Only Temporary
This isn’t permanent—it will end eventually. Thanks to people staying home, we’ve already managed to suppress the spread, and most states are beginning to relax a handful of restrictions. While we’re not sure what the world is going to look like a few weeks, months or years from now, we do know that hanging out in your lounge room 24/7 is only a temporary situation, so think of that the next time you strike up a convo with your fridge.
If you’re feeling too switched on, here’s how to take a break from technology and give yourself a self-care day.
Image credit: Mike Von