Being required to stay at home is a dream come true for some. If you’re anything like me, you thrive in quiet spaces and can spend days on end without human interaction. I only have a few close friends, and even before the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked remotely. That said, at some point, even the most introverted among us can start to miss visits from family and happy hour specials with friends. So, how can you stay centered while social distancing, and keep yourself from feeling like the walls are closing in on you?
While I can’t control what’s happening outside the safety of these walls, I can control my immediate surroundings.
For me, one of the most effective strategies is letting light in. I open as many window blinds as possible to liven up the space and keep my house from feeling like a ghost town. While I can’t control what’s happening outside the safety of these walls, I can control my immediate surroundings. It’s a way of taking my power back and reminding myself that I can positively influence my mood. It’s so helpful to see the sunshine peeking through, and the green on the trees reminds me that there is life in abundance, no matter how grim things seem.
Because the news can be frightening, I’ve also been taking occasional breaks from the digital world. The internet is a source of laughter for me, but it fuels my fears, too. After a while, reading the news and scrolling through social media started to make me feel like the situation on the ground was insurmountable. So, I deleted the Instagram app from my phone for a few days, and began limiting the number of times I check the news to strike a healthier balance.
I’m also journaling daily. It’s a simple way of airing my thoughts and putting those nagging worries down on paper, instead of ruminating on them and working myself into a frenzy. After journaling, I take a few moments to close my eyes and meditate. Not only does this help me stay present, but the entire process helps me become more aware of how stress is affecting my mood and behavior and brings me clarity.
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Finally, to calm my nerves when I feel trapped, I declutter. When my environment is cluttered, it’s almost as if it adds to the racket going on in my head. So, I throw out things I don’t need, creating space for positive thoughts and feelings. In a literal sense, it also makes my space feel airy and easier to navigate.
If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that, while being at home for so long can be a scary prospect, it’s also an opportunity to slow down and be present. It’s something we seldom find the time to do in our fast-paced world. Instead of allowing it to eat away at you, find solitude by rediscovering the simple pleasures that make you feel alive. It could be dancing to unreasonably loud music while you make breakfast. Perhaps it’s taking a longer nap than usual. What’s most important is that you find an activity that brings you peace and do it often.