Welcome, friends, to the surreal world of social distancing and isolation! Cabin fever can get real. And just like we’re taking strong actions as a society to combat COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we can take steps to take care of ourselves in this new norm of social distancing.
In this post, we’ll explore some ways to combat the specific pressures of social distancing and give you a few ideas for how to stay sane in isolation – and even help you make the best of it.
We’re here for you, Squatch Nation.
Please feel free to comment on this post with any thoughts or any additional ideas you have for staying sane in these times! The more ideas, the merrier. We’re gonna get through this guys, and we’ll come out stronger on the other side.
1. Socialize from a (Social) Distance
Connection. Many say that is one of the core purposes of human life. But when we can’t hang out in groups, share meals, go to social events together or even see people outside our households, how can we maintain connection?
Phone & Video Calls
Call your friends and family, and when possible, do it over video chat. And when you do connect, open up! Talk about how you feel – no matter how tough you are, being alone isn’t easy. But also talk about the good things that have emerged through it all. And then listen, and be an ear for someone else.
Creative Social Gatherings
There are a ton of ways that you can hangout with your buddies virtually; People are running virtual D+D (Dungeons+Dragons) campaigns over video chat, hosting ‘bar nights’ by making cocktails in their kitchen over video call, and making meals together over video chat. You can even still Netflix and chill with Netflix Party, which lets you have a movie party with friends without being in the same room.
People in Italy have hosted sing-alongs on their balconies, while Spain hosted a ‘Bingo Night’ in a city courtyard, where people participated from open windows. While writing this, I had a conversation through the window with my neighbors from across the street. They were having a meal on their patio and said to me, “So great to see you, hope to see you tomorrow!” Every interaction is meaningful.
Get creative, guys, and stay in touch.
Working From Home
Like many other companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dr. Squatch office has closed temporarily, so we’re all trying to get used to working from home. We’re trying to find new ways to connect with each other and stay social throughout the day, so we made a #watercooler Slack channel to help everyone stay in touch. We share anything from recipes, to interesting articles, to podcast and music recs, to memes (obviously).
Recently everyone’s taken to sharing pictures of their dogs distracting them from their work:
Help Those in Need
This is affecting everyone—and it’s hitting some way harder than others. The good news, though, is that people are rallying. Many communities are offering mutual aid to those who need assistance, from groceries to relief funds to donating items- like computers, books and even Netflix passwords. There’s a good chance that there’s a mutual aid network being established in your area – and chances are they could use your help.
Helping others will make you feel good and give you a purpose, which is essential in trying times.
2. Draw Personal Boundaries
Even though your days are probably anything but normal for now, try to make a new normal for yourself.
Whether you’re working from home or not working but still at home, your headspace will be improved if you have structure. Plan times throughout the day for specific activities—be it a creative outlet (more on that next), connecting with friends, working out, meditating or cooking.
This structure can also help with preventing an information and fear overload. Set aside certain times of the day to go online, to read articles, to engage in social media and stay informed—and limit those activities to those times. In our house, we’ve made a ‘no phones after dinner’ rule, which makes the evenings a time to relax rather than a time to stress.
Part of creating structure for your day is keeping up with your regular routine.
It might be fun at first, but staying in bed in your boxers and not washing for days is not a good way to cope.
The three pillars of personal health—sleep, diet, and exercise—should still be your foundational priorities now, just as they have always been. So please, guys—do not forget to eat healthy, work out, and get a solid 8 hours of sleep. Everything suffers if those three get neglected.
3. A Productive Challenge
Now is a great time to start a new project. This will also offer some purpose and structure to your days, will keep your mind away from dwelling on the future, and provide feelings of growth (and give you a fun challenge) during this forced global pause.
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Write a song and dust off that old guitar that’s been hiding in the closet for years. Not a song writer? Just sing along to your favorite tunes at the top of your lungs. No one said it has to be good music (you’re the only one hearing it!)
- Start drawing or painting- you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy making art.
- Write a story or start journaling. This will be an interesting time to look back on in a few years.
- Actually start that home improvement project that you’ve been meaning to do.
- Learn to cook a new recipe
Learn Something New
If you’re not feeling creative, learn something new! The Great Courses has lessons on pretty much anything, and they’re on special sale right now. You can also plug in an educational podcast (I like Hardcore History). Or learn how to fix that janky light bulb in your bathroom by watching a YouTube tutorial.
Keep your brain working, and learn something cool along the way.
4. Change of Scenery (in Your House)
Rearrange Your Space
Dedicate certain parts of the room to certain activities—be it work, working out, pleasure, or meditating—and when things start to feel cramped, change it up!
Move that couch to the other side of the room, and put the bed in the opposite corner. It sounds silly, but the room will feel different and new, and it will help with the cabin fever.
Change the Lighting
This is an old trick from childhood camping that we would do in a tent to create the right mood for scary stories—but you can do this in your house. If you shine a flashlight through a colored plastic or glass bottle (a Nalgene or wine bottle will do), it will splay colored light on the wall and totally change the feeling in the room. If there’s water inside, even better! Do this deliberately, when you want to change the feel, or when you’re changing from one activity to another.
Open the windows and get the staleness out and change the way your surrounding smell. If done in combination with rearranging and changing the lighting, it can feel like you’ve gone to a whole new place. The cabin fever will simmer.
Here are some other ways to freshen up the air:
- Burn a scented candle
- Bake something delicious
- Take a whiff of your favorite outdoors-scented soap to transport you to nature