Community//

Begin to Embrace Solitary Time

Some simple steps to remind you that your health and happiness still matter. If you find the time, don't waste it on pondering the uncertainty of tomorrow; spend it on bettering yourself.

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplas
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplas

Instead of nervously waiting for this time of social distancing to pass to get back to your old routine, take advantage of the solitary time to improve yourself and catch up on those tasks you always push to the bottom of the list. Before COVID-19 and social distancing rules, you probably were out frequently and may have complained of not getting enough time to sleep or cook — and you instead relied on coffee and quick bites, maybe even unhealthy fast food. You probably didn’t stop to smell the roses and claimed to not have time to learn that new skill. Make the most of these quiet days to help curb any potential spread of the virus but also, to attend to yourself and your wellbeing. 

Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night 

We may think we have adequate rest because we are mostly staying at home and not running an overly active schedule each day. But merely working from home doesn’t give us all the rest we need. Make sure to get those necessary hours of sleep even if you’ll be commuting from your bed to your couch all week. Most adults need regular, good quality sleep, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Seven to eight hours is sufficient for most adults. If you let this slide, you may not be as productive the following day, which could affect your overall outlook. You may find yourself in a constant slump, day after day, wishing all of this to end instead of making the best out of it. 

If you’re anxious, quality sleep may benefit by helping you make peace with the situation, whether it’s mandated social distancing or a forced outdoor errand you must run even when you feel unsafe. A 2018 study at UC Berkeley established a neural link between anxiety and sleep, in which slight nightly reductions in sleep can lead to daily increases in anxiety.  

Make time for meaningful catchups 

Phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom, it’s all there. Just utilize it. Remember, when we were out and about all day, texting friends may have been sufficient communication. But everything has changed. If you’re feeling the pull of isolation and the days seem to stretch infinitely longer, share your struggles or thoughts with your inner circle. Chances are, they have some concerns of their own too. 

Make the most of a virtual hangout. “Go to lunch” with a friend as you both enjoy your meals in front of the screen. Movie nights are possible too by streaming a movie with others simultaneously and sharing chat windows, according to multiple articles.  

Cook healthy dishes…or not. Cook your favorite dishes 

Home cooked meals do carry their benefits. You know almost precisely how much of each ingredient you’re consuming, and can count your calories. Following healthy recipes and watching what you eat can make you feel like you’re more in control of your diet and body. 

The most important part is being happy during your time alone. If healthy food isn’t cutting it for you, turn to your favorites. Whether it’s a favorite dish from your childhood, something exotic you had at a restaurant or even some comfort food, search the web and figure out how you can replicate it in your kitchen. 

Do those things you never otherwise have time for 

Whether it’s organizing your photo albums, doing a spring cleanup in your closet or garden, reading a book a friend recommended months ago or giving yourself a hair mask, time is on your side. 

Take a stroll outside 

Maybe you used to cram an hour of gym time into your daily routine. If you have more time these days, consider taking a scenic walk outside to absorb natural Vitamin D, if you can and if there are few people. 

Learn a new skill 

Take your baking skills to the next level, whether it’s from scratch or a simple mix from the box. You can even host a virtual bake-off with friends. Pick up knitting. Refine your makeup or skincare routine via YouTube videos. Enroll in an online course and earn a certificate that will get you that promotion. Learn a new language. Experiment with making your own hand sanitizer using alcohol, aloe vera gel and an optional essential oil. 

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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