Since there’s nothing else to do right now, everyone’s social media feeds are filled with tips and videos on things you should be doing with your free time whilst social distancing. Whilst it can feel great to be productive (and if you’re up for it, go you) its important to remember that this is a totally unprecedented time. No one is feeling quite themselves. If all you do some days is get out of bed, you’re winning.
At risk of sounding like a total hypocrite, here’s some tips of my own for getting through the days.
You do not need to:
Repeat after me: “I don’t have to use my time in self isolation to lose weight.” There’s this horrible trend going round at the minute focussing on rigid home workouts, healthy eating and coming out of quarantine with a beach body. Okay, its great to be healthy, and getting your body moving can help you feel better. But putting restrictions on it? It’s rubbish. The stockpiling, the empty food shelves, the boredom are all harmful enough for people with eating disorders. And that’s without feeling guilt over how much they’re eating and whether they’re exercising enough.
It’s actually not healthy for anyone to have such a rigid mindest over their bodies. Let alone at a time like this. Remember: even if you’ve spent every day in bed for the last week, your body still needs food. It’s a stressful time. I for one will be eating all the chocolate I feel like to help me get through it.
Use the time to create the Next Big Thing
You absolutely do not need to come out of quarantine as the next Quentin Tarantino, J.K Rowling or Mozart. It can be great to try to learn a new skill, or spend some time doing the things you always wanted to but haven’t had time for (for me, that’s write a book, and so far I haven’t started). But there’s so much pressure at the minute to try and ‘use this time wisely’ that we’re often left feeling inadequate if we don’t. Let me stress again: if you’re getting up every day, you’re doing a good job. It’s totally fine if you want to spend your time in self isolation working on your EP or writing a novel, but if you’d rather spend your time playing the Sims in your pyjamas and eating nachos for breakfast, that’s cool too.
Be happy all the time
I get it. It’s a scary time. It has a serious ability to impact our mental health. But with so much talk about staying positive, sometimes it’s hard to remember that you’re allowed to feel scared. Even worse is the guilt you can feel from complaining about being stuck inside when ‘so many people are worse off.’ That might be true, but the way you’re feeling is still just as valid. If you’re struggling, reach out for support from your family and friends, your University or check out these helplines.
But you probably should
Try to keep a routine
This probably sounds a little contradictory to everything I’ve just said. But I don’t mean a 5 am run followed by a Kale smoothie and six hours straight working on your screenplay every day. Its things more like: try to go to sleep at a reasonable time; have a good breakfast; shower and get dressed. (These are just what works for me, you can subsitute it with whatever you’d usually do). But the point is, be sure to do something to keep your routine whilst social distancing, no matter how small.
Stay in touch
It’s so so important right now not to emotionally as well as physically isolate yourself. If you live alone this can be a really tough time, and even if you’re living with family or housemates it can still get lonely. Be sure to FaceTime, Skype, phone call, text, etc. your friends and family members as often as you like. For me, this is Facetiming my best friend and my Grandad at least once a day.
I guarantee they’ll be just as grateful for the contact. And if you don’t really want to reach out to friends or family members, you can chat to people at the helplines listed above or even volunteer to chat to lonely vulnerable people, like this scheme at Age UK. Even something as simple as checking into an Instagram Live concert or reading some of our blogs could do the trick – just be sure to stay connected.
Do some Uni work
I hate to point out the elephant in the room, but believe it or not: we are still all at Uni. I know. Hard to believe. Social distancing can make us feel like we’re in a vaccum. With some Unis starting to implement ‘no detriment’ policies it can be easy to feel like you’re let off the hook a bit, and being away from campus can make it easy to forget your studies altogether. But please try to stay on top of your work. You didn’t work hard all year for nothing, and it may actually help you pass the time.
You might also like:
- Mental health and coronavirus: learning to go easy on yourself.
- It’s a ‘syndrome’ and other myths – a guide for University mentors
- 3 Things you don’t need to do whilst social distancing, and 3 things you probably should
- Tackling your dissertation: Chapters
- All the things you should read whilst you’re social distancing