BY L.A. Kennedy
It is a common joke, or at least one I’ve heard may times, writers can lock themselves away for days on end. I, for one, can do this for great stretches, without feeling the pressing of the walls. Lately, however, it is feeling rather claustrophobic, like I haven’t seen another human in months. That’s not really the case, but tell that to the little voice inside of me, yelling to go outside and touch every surface.
(When did I become such a face toucher? I can’t seem to keep my fingers out of my eyes and mouth. I’ve never noticed how itchy my face is, until I’m told not to touch. I thought my knee would make a good alternative to pushing the buttons in my elevator, rather than using my hands. It isn’t. Now my knees are chapped from all the washing.)
We have been advised to stay at home, self-distance, self-isolate. For some of us, this sounds like a dream come true, cutting off the outside world, saying ALL THE NOs to invites and events, alone or with only a few family members. But for others, this fills them with dread, anxiety, or cabin fever. It doesn’t matter how we may feel about this, this is the route to take. To do otherwise is to risk our lives, the lives of those we love, the lives of our elders, our community. Our choices will impact our neighbours and communities. So, I write this from inside my house, looking out the window, with clean hands.
Here are a few simple measures we can take to help us adapt – for those who have additional suggestions, please reach out and share them. With my community self-isolating, I feel it is important to reach out, now more than ever.
- Maintaining connection as much as possible is important: Use social media, video calling, texting, telephone calls, emails. Talk to your community, reach out when you’re feeling down.
- Boost your immune system: When people lack social connections, they are more likely to suffer from physical health problems.
- Structure your day
- Avoid conflict
- Time for a new routine, if you’re bored
- Try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
- Practice mindfulness and self-care
- Try a new hobby
- Marie Kondo your drawers/closet – FINALLY organize all those places you said you would
- Read those books you keep buying, for a rainy day, but never get around to reading
- Watch a movie, completely ignore the chaos around you and let yourself relax, even if it is only an hour or two. (You, in the back, turn off Contagion.)
- Date night, spend time with those you love
- If you write – WRITE, if you are an artist – CREATE, if you love music – LISTEN. Do what you love.
- Garden / yard work – get some fresh air
- Exercise / yoga / stretching – you may be stuck inside, but you’ll feel like you’ve run a mile!
- Get your DIY on!
- Finally, it is important to remember that if you feel self-isolation is having a very negative impact on your mental health, you should seek professional advice.
We may never meet. We may never know each other’s names… but we’re in this together. Be well, wherever you may be.