Here are ten ways to use a lock-down to reconnect with yourself, your past and your loved ones.
My roommate and I took a long walk last evening. We’re in Austin, Texas, where the bluebonnets are starting to raise and nod their heads, the redbirds are flashes of brightness through the new green of trees, and the setting sun bathes everything in soft light. It was calm and beautiful.
Then we came home and made dinner. During dinner we watched TV, which is something I never allowed in my home when my son was growing up, but which was the norm in my childhood home.
That evening I said to Cee, my roommate, “I could get used to this lifestyle. It’s how I grew up. Walking and biking around town, then eating dinner at home, reading or watching T.V., instead of what I often do now, rushing out after work to catch Happy Hours.”
There was NOTHING to do in my tiny Texas town.
Of course, there was no rushing out to Happy Hours when and where I was growing up. There was no rushing out to do anything in my tiny Texas town, except for football games or church. There was no live music, no bars, no movie theater, one restaurant, and one community center where we held dances as teenagers.
There was little else besides that to do, except play outside, walk or bike, eat dinner at home, pursue hobbies we could do at home, and watch T.V.
Now, if they had cancelled football in small Texas towns back then, riots probably would have ensued, but otherwise, this pandemic lock down isn’t much different.
This is what I’m doing that you may want to try.
Make the Best Use of Your Home Office
1. I’m seeing clients via computer instead of face-to-face. Not having to battle rush hour traffic and road rage helps us all work calmer and better. No commute means more time for ourselves. When working from home, make your environment as comforting and comfortable as you can.Surround yourseld with things you love. Have things on view that reflect your professional self. Use music and art to make it more relaxing
2. I’m walking every evening, and plan to add a morning walk. It gets me out and helps me become healthier. Walking is good for us all. It lowers blood pressure, and you can easily practice social distancing.
3. Adopt a pet. But only if you're absolutely sure you can care for it. And that you will want to care for one longterm. Having a living being to care for helps us stay positive and present.
Do Whatever You Can to be Creative
4. My screenwriters’ group, Austin Writers Workshop, initially disbanded in March, which gave me three extra hours on Monday night to work on writing I had left unfinished. Work on anything you’ve left unfinished that you can do from home.If you're a painter, paint more. If you have always wanted to learn to crochet, do it now. There's never been a better time to learn new things online.
5. I’m reading more. Not just online, but also actual handheld books. If you’re a reader, you get what a big deal this is. If you aren’t, isolation is a good time to start. Order hardcovers or paperbacks to be delivered,
6. I’m getting my life and practice more organized. Except for the super humans among us, we can all use more organization. Check out websites for organizing. Or just go through all your old unpacked boxes, recycle, throw away, or file.
Connect With People
7. I’m more consistently checking in with friends and loved ones.
When we can’t hug, kiss, or even shake hands, and preferably not breathe each other’s air in a closed space, it’s more important than ever to let people know they are loved. One of my buddies texted “I Love You” to me today, and it helped more than he knows. Old fashioned phone calls are good, too. With the plus of today’s visual technology, so we can see each others’ faces.
Build Your Immune System
8. I’m monitoring and doing everything I can to support my health: Nutrition, exercise, drinking lots of water, and meditation for instance. We can all do everything we can to build and maintain our immunity and health.
Use New Ways to Socialize
9. My friends and I have discovered we don’t need to gather at bars to communicate and socialize. Do we miss it? Oh yeah. So get creative. In Austin, we are fortunate that the weather is still warm into Fall and Winter. We meet outdoors at each other's homes. One small group of us meets outdoors of our favorite restaurant, bringing our own lawn chairs which we space more than six feet apart, and order take-out. Similar to the days when people gathered on front porches, only further apart. Social distancing makes you creative. Isolation makes you even more creative. Maybe have dinner “together,” with you at your dinner table and they at theirs, or do a virtual “happy hour,” through video conferencing.
Consider How We are All Connected
10. There is time to think deeply about how we are all connected. This is the most powerful and old-fashioned of all.
Small towns in the past made connections easier to see. Though most inhabitants didn’t consider themselves world citizens, they did recognize that the community was interdependent. They rallied around those who were sick. They supported the bereaved. They shopped locally in order to help support each others’ families. They celebrated milestones. I suspect this was true in villages and small towns all over the world as well.
Now, with immediate communication with anybody and everybody throughout the world, and with a pandemic that requires cooperation, we see more and more clearly our connection.
Humanity is one race, all interconnected, and all responsible for the health and life of each other. On a bigger scale we can comfort the sick and bereaved, shop the planet, and help all of us to survive economically, emotionally and physically. Reach out. Look within. Contribute where and what you can. Go back to simpler times and activities. None of us are really alone.
Feel free to practice any and all of these in the comfort of your own home or outdoors.