The past few weeks right across the world we appear to be living in what my sister, so rightly calls 'a surreal dream,' or perhaps 'a surreal nightmare,' would be a good description of our current existence. It's certainly a stressful time and a time that we have not seen before in our generation. Social distancing and isolation, mean that more and more of us will be spending time indoors. As someone who has lived with a chronic illness this is not a situation that I am unfamiliar with, however, as the weeks go by I will still have to get used to not being able to pop into town to run a few errands, visit the library and meet with friends. Or get my hair cut of course! These are but small prices to pay, very small sacrifices in the scheme of things, in order to protect myself and others. So as we become more indoor home bods, I wanted to share a few things that I have learnt and am still learning, in order to cope whilst staying indoors and apply them to our current situation.
1) Stay updated. This is a rapidly changing situation that we find ourselves in. There is a lot of false information circulating. Therefore it is best to read the official guidelines everyday, keep yourself up to date. I spend the first few minutes of my day reading the BBC News at www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers which links to official government guidelines as to the status of the current situation. If you aren't in the UK then please keep up to date by reading your relevant government's official guidelines. Try not to read too much of the media madness outside of this though, as it can increase stress and anxiety.
2) Try to keep to a routine. If you are working from home and not used to doing so, then a routine will help you get into the groove of doing so by waking up at the same time, eating regular meals (get lunch etc). My sister has created a home working timetable for my young nieces whilst they are at home to build some structure into their new routine.
3) Seek sanctuary. Make your home and living space a source of comfort. You'll be spending a lot of time in it, so why not make it somewhere that you want to stay in, rather than want to escape from. This doesn't mean spending lots of money, it could be a case of just of keeping it as clean, tidy and organised as possible.
4) If possible and if allowed, then get a breath of fresh air and exercise by going out into your garden or shared grounds if you live in a flat whilst practising social distancing (keeping 1.5 -2 metres away from others).
5) Plan ahead. We're living in times of uncertainty but if we need stuff then internet order and delivery is the way forward if at all possible. Scheduling in food shopping, ordering medication etc is important and essential in case any of us do get sick and in order to not go out and infect or catch the virus.
6) Be community minded. Neighbours in our street have been asking after each other and checking that everyone is ok, or asking if they need anything (from a safe distance, obviously). If there are elderly or vulnerable residents then it's just a matter of checking up and seeing that they're OK, or if they need any help by talking over a fence or from each other's front or back gardens (whilst keeping to social distancing guidelines).
7) Stay in touch virtually with friends and family. Use Skype, FaceTime, email, social media and phone to stay in touch with family and friends. This is especially important if you live alone. Am sure that families will be creating virtual playdates with kids too.
8a) Target your to be read pile. Lots of us have a few books that we have been meaning to read for a while. Why not use this extra time to begin journeys to faraway lands, experience adventures and look at the world through someone else's eyes. Travel is pretty much difficult if not impossible at the moment, so travelling through reading is a way that we can achieve this safely and enjoyably at the moment.
8b) Watch that TV series you've been meaning to watch. This is similar to the point above. Perhaps there is a film that you've been meaning to watch for ages or a new or acclaimed TV series that everyone keeps raving about. This would be a good chance to actually watch these.
9) Write, create, or take up an online distance learning course such as those from www.futurelearn.com/ Use this extra time as an opportunity to learn something that you've always wanted to learn, to knit that jumper you've always been meaning to knit, to get back or start drawing, or in my case to finish that novel that you've begun. My writer friends and I have agreed to look on this time as a long writer's retreat and will be sharing stuff online. For some excellent creative ideas then check out the blog of my friend Juliet at thecuriouscreativeclub.co.uk/
10) Look at beautiful pictures and photos (whether online or from books). I've been taking solace from planning our back garden project and also looking at photos of beautiful gardens and reading about growing cut flowers. We have spent the weekend doing gardening. Our dining room is currently a propagation zone and we've sown lots of seeds, annuals such as sunflowers, snapdragons, cosmos and sweet peas. We will be moving onto planning our veg garden in April. For more about our garden progress then please check out my previous posts and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cultural_lc/. My friend Anna is also starting a veg garden and has made some gorgeous raised beds. To see her progress check out her progress at www.instagram.com/make_life_simpler/.
There are obviously lots more tips and advice but I just wanted to keep it simple for the moment. Hope that these help you during this strange time. If you have any other tips then please join in the conversation https://twitter.com/Cultural_LC or leave a comment. Stay safe everyone. :)