To say that we’re in a strange period in history is an understatement at this point. I’m writing this right at the beginning of April where both my state and the U.S. government have put things “on hold,” to put it lightly, until the end of the month. A lot of us are fortunate enough to be in a situation where we’re able to work from home, homeschool our children (my only child is my Yorkie so I can only imagine how difficult that can be), and make other major adjustments to our lives for a good chunk of time.
While we’re all practicing our social distancing, hunkering down in our houses, and watching way too much TV, it’s no secret that the adjustment has been tougher for some than others. As someone who works from home, I definitely saw all the “how to set up a home office” type of advice that began cropping up and wholeheartedly agree with a lot of the tips that have been shared by my fellow self-employed crowd (chiefly Jude Chao of Fifty Shades of Snail and her tips for newly appointed remote workers).
However, even as a self-proclaimed shut-in, I’ve definitely been feeling the effects of social distancing and self-isolation more than I thought I would. So I figured that I would share some of my stay-at-home tips on how to buckle in for the long haul.
It’s no secret that the adjustment has been tougher for some than others. Even as a self-proclaimed shut-in, I’ve definitely been feeling the effects of self-isolation more than I thought I would.
1. Be open to being open
Grocery stores are oddly a place of peace for me under normal circumstances, but I think they have become far from that for most of us these days. I try to remember that I’m still incredibly lucky to be able to go to a grocery store and afford what food I can find without worrying about any major dietary restrictions. But the hoarding situation is out of control, and it’s caused a serious shake-up in my normal rhythm of what I like to cook and eat during the week. My go-to dishes aren’t quite as reliable as they normally are; we’re all sort of just grabbing what we can get without a ton of room to be choosey.
Food is always a huge comfort for me, and having been raised in the restaurant industry, cooking has never been something that’s a chore or a source of constant stress. And with how things are, I would encourage everyone to have some lightheartedness in their approach to cooking at home, no matter how unorthodox it may seem. I wouldn’t normally take pork belly, sliced super thin Korean BBQ style, and use it for stir fry with whole grain rotini and frozen peas, but hey, it’s what we could find. And while I won’t be submitting to any cooking competitions, it’s been much easier to approach these situations with an attitude of “well, this is strange, let’s see how it tastes” rather than getting frustrated or stressed that things look so drastically different in the pan.
2. You don’t have to become the next Martha Stewart
As much as Instagram would have you believe it, not everyone is working out from home every single day of the week while picking new hobbies and blazing through stacks of books. That’s really not what’s happening for most of us. It’s hard when you’re at home and you feel like you have so much free time—it’s easy to come away feeling like you need to have something amazing to unveil when normalcy resumes to show how productive you’ve been with your time.
It’s great to set small goals and feel a sense of accomplishment in a time where it’s all too easy to feel listless as the hours and days start running into each other.
Yes, this can be a good period for self-improvement, especially if you’re in the blessed group of people who don’t have to work and can still maintain a stream of income. But you do not have to fill up all of your free moments with productivity. If you feel inclined to learn how to knit or pick up yoga, then more power to you. It’s great to set small goals and feel a sense of accomplishment in a time where it’s all too easy to feel listless as the hours and days start running into each other. I just want to stress that if you don’t come out the other end of this time mastering all these new skills to show off, that is also totally fine. Staying in, feeding yourself/your family, and continuing to maintain some normal habits like your skin care routine and laundry schedule is doing plenty.
3. Social distancing, not social isolation
I’m a self-proclaimed introvert, and I was making some jokes with my partner at the start of all this isolation that very little is going to change in my daily or weekly routine. And while that may be true to some extent, I’ve learned that I’m a bit more social than I realized. Even having to be so strategic about grocery store visits and times to help my mom with her Costco runs has really highlighted that even though I do stay home a lot, it’s the ability to go out whenever I feel that is important.
There was a lot of texting and FaceTiming at the onset of all these changes, but I think a lot of us have fallen into just hanging out at home, and that initial spark of connection has fizzled a bit. The fact of the matter is, we’re going to be in this place for a bit longer than most of us might want, and it will be much easier if you feel like you’re not completely alone, especially if you’re quarantined by yourself without any family or friends. If that’s you, don’t be afraid to reach out to your people, and if you know someone who’s going through a solo quarantine, get in touch and plan activities together. So many games can be played online, people are doing Skype and FaceTime sessions to chat over dinner like we normally would, and a number of plugins and tools are popping up to help us watch movies and TV shows together. Distancing does not mean isolation.
Of course, we should still stick to the basics of getting dressed for the day, taking stretch breaks, and making sure you’re drinking enough water, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative and make the situation as comfortable as we can. Stay healthy y’all—we will get through this by coming together. Just not too close, lol.
If you have any of your own stay-at-home tips, please share below!