These feel like very strange times. People working from home, kids off school, pubs, restaurants and coffee shops closed… people being forced to self isolate… our very society, ways of being and norms being changed to help people to stay safe… for how long we don’t know… 12 weeks, 3-4 months … 6 months? It’s all so very odd – for everyone.
My friend’s 5 year old asked her when Santa was coming… that’s how off it is. It could be a bit scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m taking the time to focus on what I can control – what I do, who I speak to, and how I feel.
There was a point where I was angry and frustrated, angry that our way of life was being changed because of some stupid virus… our holidays cancelled, our ways of life changed or put on hold, with no real idea of how long this would take and what would be affected.
But anger and frustration doesn’t help anyone. So I decided to do a few things that I could control, things that would make me feel good, and hopefully help others to feel good too.
- Make sure I get movement and get outside every day (if I can) – walking, running, the gym, the bike – whatever works for you.
Gyms might be closed (and I’m lucky I have mine in my garage)… but you can still do an online workout indoors, or just go a walk. Many PTs and gyms are offering free online workouts. Half an hour to start off your day. If the weather isn’t good, wrap up or look at the forecast to see when a nicer time of the day might be. I’m still meeting Debbie for runs – the chats will be even more important for both of us now. If she gets it, I get it and vice versas, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. And we’ll stay away from any other people as much as we can.
- Phone someone every day – my Dad and step Mum, my uncle, my neighbour, my friend, my other Mum, older people I know to make sure they’re ok. And I’ve been texting and messaging friends, family and colleagues too – to check in, but also to keep a bit of perspective. It was my Uncle’s 84th birthday on Thursday, the same day as my friend’s daughter’s 3rd birthday…. each of them would have such a different idea of what’s going on.
Then there’s my work colleagues – we might be working from home, but we can use technology to have things like virtual coffee breaks, or regular catch ups over Zoom or the phone to engage like you would face to face in the office. Even if it’s just a quick 5-10 minutes at the start of the day. Put them in, help prevent the feelings of loneliness or sadness creeping in. Most of us like the social interaction, but technology nowadays means that social isolation doesn’t need to mean you cut all ties / contact.
- Keeping across the News, but not having it on all day – I’ve been listening to various things when I’ve been at home – music, the radio and I’ve also had the News on. But I’ve decided instead of having it wall to wall news, I’ll pick and choose when I see it. Reporting Scotland at lunchtime and it and the six at night to get up to speed with what’s happening. Working where I work I’m across some of it anyway, but it’s best to take time out to do normal things as well as keep up with what’s going on. And I’m taking Facebook with a pinch of salt too.
- Taking care – from sleep, to what I eat and drink… I’m taking care of myself and those around me. Health is maybe more important to us now than it ever has been and it’s maybe a good time to have a focus on it.
- Self isolation projects – this was something my other Mum Liz suggested she was going to do. Now that we might have some more or different time on our hands – is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve put off, that you could put the effort into doing now? Something as simple as walking every day, or clearing out the spare room… or learning and practicing to make coffee art or the perfect café latte with the nice leaf on the top? That’s my one and I’ll post pictures on my personal Facebook to show my progress (or lack of progress) every day. Maybe your self isolation project could be you? How can you spend time on making you the best version of you? Lose that half a stone you always meant to, or get out walking more often. Keep things more simple, enjoy the little things in life.
Some key workers are still able to have their children go to school – see guidance here from the UK Government for schools and colleges, here from the Scottish Government, and here for guidance from the Scottish Government on COVID-19.
Then for those of you with kids – wondering what you’re going to do with them – below is a list of entertaining things you can do. I got this from a friend’s Facebook page (thanks Susan Cameron). But other things you might consider include:
- Having a schedule of when you and your kids do things (like a school day).
- Mix in learning with fun, chores, dinner time, time outside, you name it.
- Use technology to connect – you and your kids, with your family and friends and the kids friends.
- Get your kids ideas and buy in for what your days will look like.
- Try not to be stressed, try to see this time as a chance to be together and bond.
- If you’re anxious about anything, talk about it – to your other half, your friend, family or colleague – or even Breathing Space.
- Get information from trusted sources – the Gov website, the NHS website, the BBC (and be conscious of fake news). Also a new website www.readyscotland.org and www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus . For Scotland, the Nine on Twitter will have good information on it (see the screen shot below from their interview with Jason Leitch on Friday 20 March.)
For those parents who are contemplating home schooling with fear and trepidation here is a list of fun and entertaining challenges compiled by a teacher pal of Susan’s (thanks Elfstelle McKean 🥰)
‘Taskmaster’ Style Challenges
• Build the best living room fort.
• Create the most symmetrical meal.
• Throw a tea bag into a mug from the furthest distance.
• Perform a song using a random household object as an instrument. Bonus points for most random object!
• What’s the most creative thing you can do with a piece of fruit before you eat it?
• Make your knee look like a character from a book or film. Bonus points for most realistic!
• Make a vegetable look like a person. Bonus points for most realistic!
• Do a household chore in the most entertaining way.
• Pretend to be a pogo stick. Jump for the longest time.
• Take the most unusual selfie.
• Recreate/act out a scene from your favourite book or movie.
• Put something surprising under an upturned mug – you have twenty minutes to do this.
• Tear the best picture out of a piece of paper.
• Put on as many items of clothing as possible. Then write them all down in alphabetical order.
• Write down as many five letter words as you can think of. You have five minutes.
• Send one of your toys on an adventure. Bonus points for the most exciting adventure!
• Make the best hat.
• Shut your eyes and draw a self-portrait. Bonus points for most realistic.
• Use clothes from your wardrobe to recreate a piece of art you like or make a new piece of art.
• You cannot use words for the next 40 minutes. You may sign, gesticulate and point but no words.
I quite like the tea bag one for myself! 😉
My project will be to stay fit and healthy with exercise, and to try to make a good coffee with my new coffee maker. So now I’m going to see if I can make a better flat white at some point again today – wish me luck. 😉
My kite might also come out in windy days too.
What will your self isolation project/s / activities be?
And finally, Spring and nicer weather is just around the corner, so take comfort in that. And just now might be the time to enjoy the smaller / simpler things in life.
Be well everyone x