Whether you have been staying home with your family, roommate, partner, pet, or entirely independently, it is hard to not feel some level of isolation in response to the state-at-home orders brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Our daily lives have changed significantly during the last two months and though, sometimes, I feel like I have fully adjusted and accepted my “new normal,” other times it hits me like a ton of bricks (which, from what I hear, seems to be the case with most people).
Though many sources will tell you to “take advantage” of the time you are given by staying at home, this messaging is tone-deaf to the fact that though, yes, we have much more time on our hands then we did a few weeks ago, this is not summer camp.
This is not a vacation and this is not an easy time.
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Basic psychology tells us that if our safety needs and belongingness needs are not met, we can not operate on the level of self-actualization.
This includes trying new experiences, learning something new, and being creative, all critical if you’re in creative fields like marketing and design.
So, if you’ve had a long list of exciting, new things you wanted to do while staying home that you haven’t had the energy to touch just yet, this may be the reason why.
Though I may not be able to solve all our problems this infographic from HBR Ascend (and some quirky french fry friends) can help us chip away at that isolation and help us feel a bit more belongingness these days.
Healthy ways to deal with isolation
Acknowledge your feelings
You will be feeling a wide range of emotions, ups and downs, It’s important not to try and shoo away the negative emotions. Reflect on those feelings and give yourself space to feel whatever you are feeling.
Check-in with your colleagues
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We’re all in this together. Reach out to people around you (coworkers, friends, family, neighbors) to see how they’re doing. Physical isolation does not have to mean social isolation.
Meditate more often
If you are not “the meditating type,” try just focusing on your breaths for a few moments when things are feeling a bit out of control.
Don’t try to change anything, just track your breaths as they come and go. This will help ground you in the moment and not getting lost in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet or have already passed.
Though we may not have the luxury of working from our office or favorite coffee shop at the moment, create comforting spaces throughout your home that you can move around to throughout the day. A change in surroundings can give you a productivity boost.
Skype, ZOOM, or FaceTime are your best friends
Spend some face time whatever way you can. Even just some quiet work time over video chat can help boost your mood and give you a sense of community.
Create a non-work Slack or WhatsApp circle
Find a space to connect with people. Whether that’s friends, family, colleagues, or strangers with a found mutual interest, nothing feels better than building a connection, especially now.
So explore different Facebook Groups, Slack Communities, or even WhatsApps.
Share something you saw on your walk today, or what Netflix show you were binging. These are easy ways to start an open conversation.
Try out a new thing every few days
Ah, yes your list. Remember? The one you haven’t touched? Maybe that list was a little too ambitious for the moment. Maybe put writing your first novel on hold and start with something easy like trying a new dinner recipe or a new podcast.
Though we will all eagerly await the day we can hug our loved ones again, for now we will have to make due with other things.
For now, we will make plans for drinks over ZOOM and accept that we miss doing it in person.
For now, we will take each day as it comes and accept that not every day will be a productive one and not every day will be a difficult one. For now, we will keep on going, because it’s all only for now.