Life hasn't been easy lately. We're stuck inside, cannot socialize, have a looming fear of contracting a virus for which there is no cure, and we have no idea when this madness will end.
Most days, I am totally fine with staying indoors with my husband and 7-month old daughter since that means we are healthy and safe. We have food, water, plenty of TP, laughter, health, and most importantly, each other. However, there are days where I feel trapped and unable to see the light at the end of this tunnel, so I have to refocus on what can make my days "count", especially when they all seem to blur together.
Luckily(?) I have had some experience with being stuck indoors for extended periods of time during my Crohn's flares, so I have compiled a list of ways to feel normal and thrive during an otherwise abnormal and unstructured time.
1. Keep your days as similar to your normal schedule as much as possible.
Get up at the same time that you would for work Monday-Friday. Take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. Do everything you would normally do during the work day. If you normally eat breakfast at 7am and then have a snack at 10am and lunch at 12:30pm, do that. Don't use the excuse of WFH to lounge around and eat whenever you feel like it, or see food. Keep your normal schedule (as much as possible) and you will feel more like your normal self. This will also be beneficial when you transition back to work so that you do not have to start a new schedule and habit.
2. Take advantage of this time to start something new.
This is a new time for all of us, so why not try something new that can enhance your life? Use this time to create healthy habits such as doing a quick in-home workout before your morning shower or taking the time to meditate for 5 minutes before starting your day. Or, register for free online courses to try a new skill or brush up on a subject you've been too busy to practice--like speaking a foreign language or playing an instrument. Why not make this time like your cocoon from which you can emerge a new, better version of yourself because you do not have temptations to distract you from achieving something great?
3. Set small daily goals.
The days have been blurring together. Somedays, it is 8pm and I think "where did the time go, and what the heck did I do all day?" This can leave you feeling empty and somewhat useless, so set small daily goals that will allow you to go to bed at night feeling accomplished. Perhaps you can set a goal of checking in on three friends, or practicing the yoga pose you want to master for a half hour. Maybe your goal is to workout for 60 minutes in between Zoom meetings. And, don't forget about setting business goals if that is available to you. Just because you are not physically in the office does not mean that you are less productive.
4. Celebrate little wins.
This one can go a long way in a time where everything seems to be negative. Notice small wins around you--the fact that you were able to get a same-day Amazon Fresh delivery, your kids didn't fight all day, you tried a new recipe and it turned out great, the sun came out! Find things that are worth being grateful for and what has gone right in the day, as opposed to what is going wrong.
5. Practice self-care.
I know this has become a buzz word lately, but stay with me on this one. After my shower last night, I decided to do a mini facial with one of my store-bought face masks. It was a small gesture, but something that made me feel pretty and pampered. In a time where getting our hair and nails done is not possible, we can begin to feel drab and unkempt. I, personally, don't feel like my typical self, and know we have a ways to go until we can have access to our beauty team, so why not bring the beauty into your own home and create a spa-like experience for yourself? Go on YouTube and try new ways of styling your hair, or follow a makeup tutorial to try a new look. Find ways to be your own glam squad and even if it is just to go to the living room, make yourself feel pretty from the inside out. And, put on real clothes once in a while. It will make you feel like a real human (although yoga pants are acceptable 80% of the time!).
6. Eat well.
The same is true for your diet. Putting good food into your body will not only boost your immune system which is critical at this time, but it will make you feel better mentally, too. I know that eating comfort food is all too tempting right now (I helped myself to a bowl of pasta last night out of anxiety after watching the news. Note to self: don't watch the news.) but eating fruits, vegetables, and lean protein will help keep you feeling energized rather than sluggish. And, in addition to not feeling lousy physically, you will not feel lousy emotionally since the guilt of indulging in cookies and chips will not be there. Since grocery shopping has become limited, prioritize high-quality foods over junk food when filling your virtual cart, and use this time to fill your diet with healthy foods that will create healthy habits for when all of this is over and we all return to normal--because Summer is coming.