Updated: Jan 28
How to Deal with Self-Isolation, Keep Your Sanity, and Do Some Rediscovering.
If you are like me I have a long list of things that I would do if I only had the time. Well, guess what? I have the time now and I still do not want to clean out every closet, exercise more, weed every inch of my garden or clean my bathroom with a toothbrush. What I want to do is go to work and see my students, hug my mom and dad, kiss my grandbabies, and stand next to my neighbor and talk and not yell from across the street. Funny how I want back the things I used to take for granted and all the things I swore I wanted to do I look at with dread.
Do not get me wrong, I have done a major cleaning on my house and my grass has been cut. I walk the dog daily and cook dinner at home rather than going to pick something up but there are weeks ahead of us and my sanity is now in question.
I was so bored that I broke down and created a TikTok account. I think I scared my daughter by video-calling her and retelling jokes that I had heard on TikTok.
“ Mom you okay over there in Kentucky?” she asked. I assured her that I was fine just feeling the isolation pains and needed some laughs.
Many of us are in a very unfamiliar space right now. We are not sure what our future holds and we are worried about our loved ones, our finances, and our health. We are in the middle of something that we have not dealt with before and we are not sure how to handle it.
We miss our old ways of more carefree living. We want to just go outside and shake a hand or to sit down at a restaurant with our family. We want to be with others.
Take a minute to count how many times I used the word we in the last paragraph. I counted 8. That is a lot of we in one short paragraph. I did this on purpose to show you that you are not alone.
There are many of us out here feeling, longing, and wanting. You are not alone. We are in this together. While it is called isolation we do not have to be totally isolated. There are many things that we can do to help keep our sanity and sense of humor during this time. I hope that you will find the suggestions below helpful and that you will share them with others who you see struggling. That is what being human is all about connection and helping those we are connected with.
One definition of mindfulness reads as follows “Mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one develops through the practice of meditation and through other training”.
Another definition by our old friend Webster looks like this “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
Mindfulness is not about just sitting in the dark and breathing, it is about taking the time to give your mind a break from all the work it does all day. Taking the time to focus on the quiet, your own breath or using a guided meditation to soothe your mind and bring a sense of calm back to your being.
I have used these types of techniques with many of my clients. Clients of all ages from 3 to 70 and those that I have worked with have found it helps to ground them back to reality and allows them to let negative thoughts be released without guilt or judgment.
There are many You-Tube videos, Apps for both iPhone and Android phones. There are Facebook groups and programs to fit in with your faith and beliefs. Rediscover what it feels like to just be still, to learn to enjoy the quiet.
I know! I know! I do not like it either but you can not argue with science.
Psychology Today published the article How Your Mental Health Reaps the Benefits of Exercise in 2018. In this article, Dr.Sarah Gingell expresses the reasons why exercise is so important “Exercise is well known to stimulate the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable. The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk. Further, depending on the activity, people may benefit from calming exercises, be energized, and get outside or interact with others, all of which are known to improve mood and general health.”
Dr. Gingell goes on to say that exercise could rival the effect of many medications prescribed for a variety of mental health issues. It does not take hours a day to feel better.
Find something you enjoy, walking, exercise video, yoga, kick-boxing, cutting the grass, or dancing. Just get yourself moving. Rediscover how it feels to get moving and discover new ways to move.
Rediscover hobbies you have let go because of your busy life.
Grab that book you never got around to reading or download it and relax while you listen. Maybe pick up the paintbrush and teach your kids to paint. Build a birdhouse, learn about the birds that inhabit birdhouses, plant flowers that drown in birds and butterflies.go fishing, Get out the sidewalk chalk and make a masterpiece, blow bubbles, fly a kite, do a puzzle. Have fun! Be a kid at heart. Embarrass your teens with your dance moves. Maybe snuggle with your partner and watch old movies. Take a nap or two or three.
TURN IT OFF
That is right, TURN IT OFF!!! Turn off the phone, the television, your tablets, your laptops turn it all off.
We all want to keep updated on what is happening in our world. I am not saying to not take time to do that. Watch your favorite news program, or if you are like me the Big Bang Theory is on every night and I watch it every night. Not all media is bad. In fact, some of it brings joy and laughter, but we do not need it all the time.
Watching every news channel and every report is not helping us and it will draw us into a sedentary lifestyle and promote anxiety and worry. Take the first 10 minutes in the morning with no media. Get your coffee, pet your cat/dog, look outside, meditate, relax, before you turn on the phone or the television. Try doing the same at night before you go to bed, just 10 minutes with no media.
So many of us move so fast throughout our days that we have lost connection with our families and friends.
Take this time to rediscover your family, your friends, and yourself. Talk to your spouse/partner about life goals, ask about what they are feeling through this new normal. Learn what your teen's favorite singer is, do a TikTok video with them, teach your children about cooking, gardening, painting, finances. Your kids are watching you so show them how to deal with this new normal in a healthy and in a way that you as a family, come out better.
Rediscover your faith and what your faith means to you. Take this time to remember what was and is important and then reconnect, rediscover and renew.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it. If you find that you or someone you love is struggling through this national crisis, please know that Life in Motion is here for you. It is okay to ask for help and we are here when you need us.