Hey everyone! It really has been way too long since I have posted, and I am sorry about that. Things have been all kinds of crazy around here, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic started. I can’t get into too many details about that just yet, but I will share as soon as I can. Since we are social distancing, I definitely have a lot of time on my hands that I didn’t have before.
I am sure there are a lot of posts going around on how to make the best of the situation that is social distancing. This post will be no different. However, I feel like my tips/experiences might be a little bit different than most. This is because we are living in a multi-gen house.
What is Social Distancing?
Before we get into how to cope with social distancing, let’s talk about what social distancing even means. Please keep in mind that I am not a physician or any kind of specialist relating to pandemics. I am just sharing what I have learned from the experts. COVID-19 is a a novel virus that originated in China and has spread across the globe over the last few months. A novel virus is a virus that has not been seen before. This strain may have been seen in animals, but has never been seen in humans until now. As of right now, many people are either asymptomatic or suffer mild symptoms. However, there are some people, especially those with compromised immune systems that can have very severe symptoms and require ventilators or may even die from the virus or complications from the virus.
Federal and local agencies have recommended social distancing to help keep the virus from spreading. This means that people need to avoid large groups and confined spaces. Many people have either been told to work from home or are furloughed until further notice. It is also a good idea to not stand in close proximity with other people. It is also recommended to not visit people who may be at higher risk for the virus because many people do not know if they are carriers or not.
People who are at the highest risk of severe symptoms are the elderly, people with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer patients, people with autoimmune conditions, etc.), and pregnant women. We are encouraged to practice social distancing to reduce the spread and flatten the curve (or avoid a drastic spike in cases in a short period of time).
With this social distancing, we have a lot of extra time on our hands. This is where the list below comes in handy.
11 Practices During Social Distancing
Create A Quiet Space for Everyone
I figured I’d get through this tip first and foremost since it is really important in my house. My family has been very blessed during this time of social distancing. Our incomes have not been affected at all right now. Both my husband and my dad are working from home until everything settles back down again. However, that makes things a little tough for everyone in the house.
We live in a very nice sized house. But it is hard when both of the men are on the phone conducting business. My mom has her own office downstairs to take care of everything she needs to take care of . Then, my hubby and I both have office spaces upstairs. My dad does not have his own office at home. So, while we are social distancing, he is working at our dining room table. This table is about in the center of our house. It is in just the right place for the sound to carry amazingly well throughout the entire house.
Even though we have the space for everyone to set up a computer, this house is somewhat challenged when it comes to creating quiet places. Our dining room is also right next to my and hubby’s bedroom. So it can get loud very early in the mornings sometimes. I had a migraine the other day and wasn’t able to sleep through it very well because everyone else was in the house and conducting business.
Do not take boundaries for granted when everyone is home a lot more. If you are in a situation like us with two different households under one roof, or are with roommates, it might be a good idea to sit everyone down and discuss what each person needs during this time. Maybe setting quiet hours for everyone to respect would help avoid some tension.
Households can section off an area of the house that is meant to be a quiet space all the time. This should be done so someone can recharge for a little bit throughout the day. I think this is necessary in a lot of households. I love my family so very much. But, then I am also actively looking into ways to soundproof my office and bedroom spaces. With everyone home, there is a lot more noise than normal in the house.
Get Through Your Binge List
Social Distancing is the time for you to watch all the shows you have put on your “to watch” list on whatever streaming services you have. But I do recommend that you do so responsibly. I am not advocating for sitting in front of the TV for the entire day. However, what I do recommend is that you try something new rather than watch Friends re-runs for the 100th time. I know, it’s hard, I love Friends too! At the moment, Netflix’s “Tiger King” is very popular. I have watched the whole docuseries already. I would love to chat with anyone willing about their thoughts on the whole thing.
Exercising has been on the back burner for me throughout this time. But, taking time in the day to get moving will help you feel better and stay healthy throughout social distancing. Gyms have been closed for social distancing. But, there are all kinds of avenues to go through to get some physical activity done each day. You and a loved one can walk the neighborhood. I’m sure most dogs would love to go for walkies with their people. If you have exercise equipment at home, take 20-30 min and do a session (while watching some of your shows 😉). Some streaming services offer aerobics, yoga, and other workouts that can be done in your living room. Being stuck at home all day can really affect a person and their emotions. So it is important to get those endorphins flowing often.
Play Some Music
It doesn’t matter whether you have an ancient iPod, you use your phone and/or Bluetooth speakers or headphones. It doesn’t matter if you stream through Spotify or iHeart Radio or use your own music library. Listening to music can make everything better. There are all kinds of studies that show that music can boost people’s moods. I can confirm that listening to music (especially some guilty pleasure songs) makes me feel so much better.
Make sure you aren’t bothering anyone else when you do so (especially with family who may be working from home) and just blast some music for a little bit while you are getting other things done around the house. If you are in close quarters, use headphones and turn the volume up just enough that you cannot hear anything else that is going on for a bit (it would be even better if you had noise cancelling headphones).
I have listened to a lot more music lately and it has helped boost my mood and reduce my stress quite a bit. I even listened to some old-school songs I used to love (who am I kidding, I still love). I’m rather surprised at the songs I still know all the words too. I was so proud, I even Tweeted about it. That alone made me feel really good.
If you notice that you are getting anxious by the news or just tired of being home so much, just turn on some of your favorites songs (especially the ones you are too embarrassed to say you love) and just zone out for a bit. If you have work that needs to be done, you can set an alarm to make sure you get back to work in a reasonable time. Trust me, it helps. 😊
Read Those Books!
Just like the “To Watch” list on your streaming services, I am sure there are several books on your bookshelf that you are planning on reading. I have many books that I want to start reading but couldn’t seem to find the right time to just sit and read them. But, now that we are social distancing and I cannot go out very much, I am ready to get to reading. Now, I haven’t cracked open a book yet. I can’t seem to choose which one to start with. But, in the next day or two, I will select and start reading. Once I actually sit down to read, I can read an average sized novel in just a couple of days. Is anyone else like that? So, I might be able to get through a few books during our stint of social distancing.
Read the Bible
Reading the Bible should be a part of every Christian’s day. I have been very bad about reading and I have the same problem with sitting and reading the Bible as I do to just sit and read a novel. I just can’t commit to sit and read for a while. Most of that has to do with the fact that I struggle with focusing on just one thing at a time right now. For example, while I am writing this post, I have Netflix playing behind me. When I sit and watch TV, I am usually checking my phone to see what is going on in the world. I cannot just focus on one thing. Sitting and reading the Bible takes a lot of concentration, so it is hard for me to do it because I struggle with fully investing in it.
I have not extensively read the Bible since I was in college for my undergraduate. Honestly, I wouldn’t have even studied it then if it weren’t for the fact that it was required that I take Bible Study courses for my degree. I’m ashamed to say that too. I did love what I learned at that time though.
So, during social distancing, I am trying to do a Bible Study. I have a goal of reading the entire Bible from cover to cover. But, I am unsure if I want to really start at Genesis and read through Revelation or pick themes to read about and check books off as I finish them. Choosing themes seems less intimidating at the moment. So, I might start there. I also have a C.S. Lewis Bible that includes his commentary on the Bible and places them with the verses and books he is referencing. It might be fun to refresh on his work as well.
I feel like taking time to read from the Bible will help get closer to God throughout this whole ordeal. It may also help reduce anxiety and bring more peace to anyone who takes the time to read His word.
Improve Skills or Find a New Hobby
Since there is a lot of extra time on many people’s hands, now is the time to start that hobby you have been wanting to try. Or, now is the time to improve on some skills. You might enjoy playing an instrument, but don’t have enough time to practice under normal circumstances. Well, dust off that instrument and get to playing! I hope to use this time to try new recipes that include baking and cooking techniques I haven’t tried yet.
Finish That Chore List
I am sure most households have a Honey-Do list or a list of things they want to get done around the house. Now is a great time to do so. If you have bookshelves laying around that still need to be assembled or a leaky pipe that needs to be fixed, you finally have time to get it done. You can also spend some time outside and weed the yard or even get your garden started (if you already have all the supplies to do so).
I am trying to be optimistic about the situation we are all in. Your spouses may not appreciate the fact that I have pointed out this opportunity.
Even though we are practicing social distancing, that does not mean that we have to isolate ourselves from others. If you are feeling down, be sure to reach out and call someone you love and just take the time to talk about thoughts and feelings you might be having. Don’t let this time get you down. Keep in touch with friends and loved ones. We are all in this together, so do not think you are bothering anyone by sending a text or making a phone call.
If you know of a friend or family member who may be struggling in this time, reach out to them to check on them. A person might not come out and share negative feelings very easily, so be sure to let everyone you contact know that you care about them. That shared sentiment could be all the difference for someone.
If you are living with others during this time, be sure to take this opportunity to reconnect with them. Take time out of your day to simply check in on them and see how they are feeling. Have conversations about things you might not have had time to do otherwise. Now might not be the time to get into heated debates or shouting matches, but it would be good to reconnect with someone you love very much and check in on their mental health.
Do Some Online Shopping
If your budget is not affected in this time, take the time to conduct some retail therapy. Most of the physical stores are closed now because of social distancing, but they are still open online, and many warehouses are still open. There are a lot of stores that are offering really great sales right now. As long as you don’t mind delayed shipping, you might be able to buy something you’ve had your eye on for a while for an amazing price. Any kinds of online shopping can help people keep their jobs and will help the economy as well, even if it is a drop in the bucket, every little bit helps.
I just want to add that I am so grateful for the people who are working in package delivery and in those warehouses to fulfill everyone’s online orders. Being able to shop online helps keep our households running while also keeping us home and away from crowds.
Some of my favorite brands to shop are: AHAVA, DERMAE, and The Honest Company. They are great for skin care. E.l.f. Cosmetics and Milk Makeup have great makeup lines. Since we are all home so much, it would be a lot of fun to invest in some LEGO to let everyone get their creative juices flowing.
Since social distancing is giving everyone a lot more time than normal, it is a great opportunity to set some time aside periodically for you to practice some self-care. You can check out my post (here) on things that you can do for self-care and reduce stress. Anything (responsible) that helps you feel better and recharges you, is self-care. Since salons are closed now, we are all struggling with grown out roots, bushy brows and overgrown nails. Most things are fixable and, what with quarantine and everything, very few would see any beauty fails you may have. But, I do recommend that any beauty changes you make are things that you are able to do. For example, instead of waxing your own brows, pluck the stray hairs. And please, DO NOT cut your own bangs. Hair will grow back, but bangs take a long time to grow out.
I know my stylist would be VERY angry with me if I used box hair color, so, I will not try to cover my grays on my own. But in the meantime, I will try some hair treatments that I’ve been eyeing for a while.
Taking some time for yourself is very important, especially if you are living with other people. Reducing your stress will help reduce the stress of the house as well.
I just wanted to take the time to thank anyone and everyone who are still working during this time. Next, I am so thankful for all the medical professionals who are treating those infected with COVID-19 as well as scientists that are working on treatments, cures, and preventative measures to help keep more people from being affected. I am also thankful for the people working in the warehouses filling online orders and those delivering the packages.
I am also thankful for all the grocery stores (especially HEB) and the people working in the stores to keep us fed, and the truck drivers who make sure our shelves are still stocked. I’m also thankful for those working in the restaurants. Each and every one of you are working so hard to keep us safe, healthy, and offer us all a sense of normalcy.
I am also so grateful for our first responders and our military who are all working very hard to keep our country and our local communities as safe as possible in this trying time.
I am so grateful for you all.
This might be a tough time for many of us. But we are all in this together. I hope and pray we are able to get this virus under control and we can return to normal (or as close to it as possible) very soon. But, in the meantime, we have a lot of ways to use our time at home.
Everyone, please stay safe.
What are you all doing to help get you through this time?
What shows and movies are you watching right now?