2020 has knocked us off our feet. The globally devastating coronavirus pandemic has us all cooped up in our homes-little to nothing to do, with no end in sight.
Some have found solace in reconnecting with their families. People are spending quality time with their children, engaging in activities such as hide and seek, backyard picnics, and connecting on a deeper level with their spouses.
I have more time at home but without kids to play with and no spouse to talk to. It’s just me and my fridge. Living alone was tough pre-quarantine, but what about now? All of the social outlets have been taken away and replaced with “social distancing,” which now has become an everyday part of the global vernacular. It’s just you and your walls over there and me and my walls over here.
To answer and attempt to in part solve this dilemma, I have created a list of seven things that we can do that will help us singles not to fall into that black hole of depression as we miss the world around us. At the very least, it will help pass the time so we don’t feel as lonely, missing that human connection that we so desperately desire during this time.
The first step in reclaiming your sanity during this time of solitude is to limit the amount of television you watch, specifically news outlets. Each and every news story has some sort of reference to “Rona.” Even if it is a human interest story, there is a connection to the pandemic. So, do yourself a favor. TURN. IT. OFF. Don’t get me wrong, I watch enough to stay informed, then I turn it off or turn over to sitcoms, whose sole purpose is to make us laugh.
Scientists have researched and found that the more you focus on negativity, the more you will think negatively. But the good news is that the opposite is true. The more you focus on the positive, your brain will grow to be more positive and you will be happier. Who doesn’t want to be happier?!!!
It is a good idea to get out of bed every morning and maintain a routine. Get dressed, make your bed, and leave your bedroom until bedtime. In order to psyche myself out, I get up at a set time every morning, eat breakfast, and get dressed as if I am going to work. At first, I was dressing from head to toe in work attire. That lasted a couple of days, and then I switched over to the concept of the Zoomlet (business on top, sweats or PJ’s on the bottom). This allows me to be ready and available for meetings, lessons, and anything else I need to be presentable for, yet allows me to be comfortable at the same time. It’s kind of a little secret that feels like cheating the system.
In addition to preparing physically for a “normal” day, I set a schedule and a to-do list of goals to accomplish. This helps me to be more productive. I have my top three goals for the day and optional goals as well. For those of you like me who are trying to figure out a way to continue your journey toward better health, avoid doing your work in the kitchen and plan your meals. For me, food prep was working when my occupation took me away from my house, so I am trying to do the same working from home. When your mind is busy working, the time will fly past like you wouldn’t even believe!
I currently live in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a backyard and garage. Prior to Coronapocolypse, I mainly used the kitchen, master bedroom, and bathroom daily and my home office every couple of days. Since I have been quarantined, I have used almost every inch of space in my home. I sit on the couch in the living room to watch television. I work outside in the backyard on nice days. I use my home office for working and NTI (non-traditional instruction). Think about it. How many different environments did you see before coronavirus? Match it with your home environment. It will trick your brain into believing you are somewhere different.
Although this is one thing I dread and the thing that I do the least (unless you count the endless trips to the refrigerator and pantry), it is important that we get physical activity every day. Exercise increases endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This cocktail of neurotransmitters creates a domino effect of positive feelings in your mind, regulating your mood, relieving stress, and reducing pain. In addition to those benefits, I’ve even heard that activity improves your immune system. And right now, who doesn’t want that?
During this time, many gyms and trainers are offering free classes and subscriptions. I know Planet Fitness offers a free classes every night and Beach Body has a free trial period for an endless number of videos. In addition to these, Instagram celebrities and fitness experts are going live with complimentary activities as well. I did one of Debbie Allen’s live dance workshops and really thought I was doing something. I thought for sure I could keep up with a seventy year old, but when she started doing spins and twirls, I gave up on that notion. Anyway, she has offered salsa, tap, African, and even classes for kids. If you’re not up for classes, turn on some music and dance in your own place. Someone said to dance like no one is watching. Well, now’s your chance because, well, no one is watching. And if all else fails, go outside and take a walk. One day last week (or whenever it was-the days are all flowing together nowadays) I went for a walk around the neighborhood taking photos of random things. Before I knew it, I had walked for an entire hour!
Self-improvement is a large part of self-care. In order to feel our best, we must become our best. This means cultivating those interests that continually come to the surfaces of our minds. So, take this opportunity of time (that was seemingly nonexistent mere weeks ago) to do something new. For you. Have you always wanted to learn to sew, craft, scrapbook, paint, dance, photograph? This list could go one forever! YouTube University can help you learn anything. If you prefer a more traditional method, Creative Live is an online platform that has HUNDREDS of classes on anything your brain could imagine. What have you been putting off because of time? Start that project. Clean out that closet. Write the book. Life is short and time is plenty right now. Don’t waste either. And if you need to buy something to support your new “thing,” I challenge you to find a local business to support if possible.
Zoom has surfaced as the unofficial winner (if there could be a “winner” from this pandemic that we are in the midst of). This technology is allowing teachers to provide instruction from home, businesses to hold meetings, and giving everyday people at home the ability to connect in the wildest and most unique ways. Like many people, I had never heard of Zoom, but in the past two weeks, I have zoomed so much for work, to keep up with friends, and check in with family. Although Zoom and other technological platforms allow us to connect during this time of solitude, we can be creative and connect with others without wires and practice social distancing at the same time.
Drive by a friend’s house and have him or her come to the door or driveway. Go on a car picnic date. That means each person is in his/her respective automobile and chatting at least 6 feet away from one another. Call people that you said you would but never did. Check in with the elderly. Call a nursing home and speak with someone you don’t know. I’m sure they would be happy to hear from you. Send a virtual greeting card to someone you love. If he or she has been laid off or is out of work, send a gift card or money (if your finances are okay). There are many creative ways to be responsible and remain connected; we just have to think outside of the box. Whether it is a Zoom pajama party, game of battleship, or a drive by birthday party, we can do this.
Church has always been a part of my life, and since I was little I have been in church worshiping in one way or the other. More importantly than the gathering of the church for corporate worship, however, is the personal relationship we develop with God. If you haven’t gotten in the habit of daily devotionals, prayer, meditation, and bible study, now is a good time to start. It is easy to let the busyness of life push the cultivation of this relationship aside. But now, we have more time to devote to the almighty and do our part to help heal our land. I know for me, it has been more rewarding than ever to remain faithful in this way. Check out Proverbs 31 Ministries for some devotionals, and there are many online worship services and bible studies. Google it.
I wrote this post to help singles like myself to establish and maintain habits that add to the positivity of life, not subtract from it. We are all experiencing (even if just slightly) more anxiety than usual, but let’s be honest. Complaining, worrying, and focusing on the negative is counterproductive to our health and wellness. I challenge you to do something on this list every single day, during the quarantine and even after. I promise. It will change your life.
If you are struggling to the point where you don’t know what to do, connect with a professional that can help. Click here to be directed to a link with a number of professional services offered online that may be able to help.