As I read and watch stories unfold about lifestyles and daily life imploding for most people around the globe, I’m reminded of something my daughter said over the holidays when she was visiting, about how nothing in my life was traditional or “usual” (her words). I work from home, haven’t been in a real relationship in 15 years, drive a golf buggy instead of a car, and have become something of a hermit.
If you follow my blog you’ll know that lately, I am better about getting out and meeting up with friends again like I used to be (up until 2013). Yet over the past several years, I have had ‘moments’ living in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur where I didn’t leave my condo for up to — and I am not joking, this is 100% true — 2 months! So when I say I can offer tips on how to stay sane and survive periods of isolation, it’s a topic on which I have a ton of experience.
Covid-19 Isolation Can Be Hard
Most people live active lifestyles, especially parents with younger children who are always on the go. That makes an MCO or ‘stay home’ order pretty tough to be excited about (again, especially for parents who are now stuck at home).
For gaming addicts, full-time writers, and me … it’s just Tuesday 😉 But I can see that most people are finding it a VERY BIG CHALLENGE to get excited about staying indoors and self-isolating or quarantining. I’m stating that purely on the amount of social media posts and youtube videos I’ve seem from people sharing their #lockdowngoals and ways they are finding to occupy their time.
Tip #1 – Video Chat More, Message Less
I cannot stress to you how important staying face-to-face via screen-to-screen is going to be to your mental health!!!!! As a society, we’ve gained huge lifestyle and convenience advancements due to messaging and our phones. Yet we also lost a lot when real human interaction went out the door. So BE SURE to schedule a few video chats each day with people who really brighten your day!
This is a great time to catch up with people who you’ve missed over the years, too! My friend Di tried to video chat me last night for the first time in years, it was a lovely surprise. I was sadly sleeping because of our time difference but … we’ll connect in the coming days and her call really put a smile on my face. Much more than a message would have for sure.
Tip #2 – Do Something You Love Every Day
There are so many great ideas floating around the world right now for how to maximise this time and gain some benefit from it. And that’s great! But that’s not the same thing as setting aside some #metime and taking a few minutes or an hour or two every day just for you. My friend Ramesh in Kuala Lumpur was out buying everything to setup his home gym while other people were out panic shopping for rice and toilet roll. Every morning he’s been posting inspiring Instagram Stories from his workout … and it’s easy to see that he loves it.
For single parents, this may be a tougher ask. You might have to wait until everyone falls asleep and maybe it’s just a bubble bath and a glass of wine before you zonk out. But do try to find something … a new book you’ve wanted to start, a new language you’ve wanted to master the numbers and key phrases for, or perhaps starting a journal. Whatever it is, do it daily, just for you.
Tip #3 – Make Your Bed & Stay Tidy
I don’t know the psychology behind it but waking up to clean dishes and a tidy home can add a small layer of positivity to the day. The same goes for making the bed. Is it because we’re checking something off of a mental ‘to-do’ list before the day even starts? Maybe!
I can tell you from experience and at times months of self-imposed isolation, that when my tiny world around me is tidy and welcoming, it does make a positive difference in my mood and my overall energy. A dumpy, cluttered home has the opposite, negative effect.
As for me … I’ll be honest and share that I haven’t figured out the #metime thing I want to indulge in yet. Probably because my life hasn’t changed literally AT ALL yet so I don’t feel the need to cheer myself up haha But when I do, I’ll post it on Instagram Story and let you know 😉
Why This Is Easier For Me, I Think
I’m single and an expat. My daughter is 24 and we haven’t lived in the same city since 2013 in Bangalore, India when she moved away to university. Also, since then — between us — we’ve resided in 10 different countries! That’s pretty wild now that I sit here counting it out on my fingers. It’s also not normal, is it?
My gut says that all of the above has helped to prepare me for being far away from family during a time of crisis because that’s what’s normal for me (and luckily for my daughter as well, which is a small blessing right now).
The #1 Worst Part of Covid-19 For Me
Knock on wood … so far none of my friends or family has fallen ill with Covid-19 and I hope it stays that way. The worst part of this pandemic for me have been the travel bans. You see, yesterday at 2pm I was supposed to be meeting my daughter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It would have been only the second time in three years I’ve seen her so you can imagine how I’d been counting the days! She was flying up from Tanzania and me from Indonesia but both of our flights, of course, were cancelled. We’ll reschedule once it’s safe again but … I miss her. I’m sad that I can’t see her this week.