Hi, internet. How surreal is this? From bats to probably pangolins to China, Taiwan, Iran, Italy, to the NHL, NCAA and NBA, to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, the “time of uncertainty” is now here in Boston. Let’s check in. On a scale of “The Walking Dead” apocalypse realness to it’s a beautiful (and normal) day in the neighborhood, where are things for you?
To #flattenthecurve, we are encouraged to #staythefhome. This need for “social distancing,” while altruistic, is still an impediment to our personal freedoms, however temporary it may be. People are also calling it “isolation,” which is worse. The fear of potential impending loneliness that people are reporting isn’t super scary for me—I’m prone to feeling lonely and cooped up in my apartment in general. Here are things I do to keep myself from getting cranky, sad and bored. Maybe some of these will help you, too.
Good vibes mostly only
It’s obviously not all rainbows and butterflies, but set a limit to your commiserating. Give yourself 10 minutes a day to kvetch; that’s it. All the griping isn’t going to change your situation; it’s annoying and it gets boring. Embrace it and then let it go. If you have a roommate who’s complaining, tell them to knock it off; it’ll only put you both in a bad mood. Don’t let their stress transfer to you—you’re stronger than that.
Excuses are also canceled
You know the things you want to do when you get home from work but are too tired to do? Yeah, you can do those now. Wash your sheets. Deep condition. Bake cookies. Let that clay mask un-clog your pores while you’re answering emails (no one has to know).
Get off the couch
There are some amazing workout gems on YouTube, including Yoga With Adriene (she has something for everyone), Jane Fonda’s aerobics videos from the ’80s (bless the angels who uploaded them), 10-minute full-body equipment-free routines and more. Stretch. Go for a run. Take a walk. Have a solo ’90s dance party. Whatever. Literally schedule an appointment for it in your work calendar.
Your environment impacts your headspace. External clutter means internal clutter. Make your bed. Put your clothes away. Sweeping can even be transformational. Sometimes staying in the same spot makes you even crankier, so take a walk. The good news is we’re not banned from the streets. There are no zombies trying to eat us. We can still go outside. Just, you know, give people a wide berth.
Get out of your head. Throw on a podcast (like ours) or an audiobook. Play music without having to wear your headphones. Put “The Office” on in the background while you’re doing mundane and routine work tasks. You’re still doing work but with friendly voices surrounding you.
The internet is supposed to connect us. Take advantage of that. Learn something on Reddit. Go on free virtual tours of museums all over the world. Enjoy bearcam or other incredible live cameras in various animal sanctuaries. Watch obscure YouTube videos. Read your way through your book queue. Find a new hobby or online quizzes that teach you things (not personality ones!).
People need people
Schedule phone and FaceTime dates with the people in your corner. Text your friends. Text your teammates. Get into petty arguments on Twitter. Start a Facebook thread about your latest Netflix binge. We’re all in this together, so most people are probably going to be online more often than not.
Garden gnome life
The best thing about staying home is comfy pants…but wearing sweats while giving your hair a break from heat styling can sometimes make you feel like a schlub. So stick to your skincare routine. DIY some body scrub (coconut oil + brown sugar). Do your nails. Try your new makeup palette when you’re getting ready for the day. If you hate it, either don’t do it again or make it better the next day. Get good at it. Unless you have a video call that day, no one has to see your learning curve.
Eye on the prize
Remember, we’re the generation that embraces staying in and secretly hopes for plans to be canceled. We can do this! If none of my suggestions work, make a list of all the things you can’t wait to do when this pandemic is over. Make plans to do them. Be relieved if they’re canceled. Get after them when you can.