By now it’s clear: We’re going to remain isolated (at least somewhat) through the holiday season. With full and partial lockdowns persisting and most public activities still restricted (even the new James Bond film got pushed back again!), we’re probably looking at a few more months at home.
Isolation may be the “new normal,” but to most of us it will never actually feel normal (or comfortable). And it may be particularly trying during the holidays, when we're used to spending more time with friends and family. If you could use a little bit of a boost though, or some help with self-care during the strange holiday season to come, read on for a few helpful tips!
Take Up Reading
In our general stay-at-home tips, we talk about picking up that book you’ve been meaning to read. But you know what? Why not make it a whole reading list? Even if you’re not a huge reader, you probably like one kind of book or another. So do a little bit of research (there are great sites that can help you find similar books to what you’ve liked in the past) and get a COVID reading list together. A book can be company of a certain kind — and if you get some friends or family members to read along with you, there’s a legitimate social component to the idea. See how many books on your list you can knock out before the New Year!
Simulate a Work Day
For a lot of people, the struggle with isolation these days has a lot to do with work. If you’re used to going to the office, seeing colleagues, etc., there’s a lot missing from your life these days! You can’t replicate that colleague time, but you can simulate a work day in a way that might feel comfortably familiar. A guide to managing work-from-home stress had some excellent tips in this regard, such as “faking” a commute (taking a walk before and after work), designating a work area, and taking regular breaks. Basically, if you make it feel a bit like you’ve had a normal day of work, you may not dwell on your isolation as much. Plus, if you simulate work for a little while before taking official time off for the holidays, you may feel more like you're taking a specific break.
Join a Workout Program
Of course we don’t mean you should go to a gym or a class of any kind — unless you know of a program doing training outside at safe distances. But even at home, you can join a workout program that will connect you to a coach, and possibly others looking to get in shape during their lockdowns. Whether through an app, an online service, or a high-end fitness machine (like a Peloton or Mirror), there are plenty of options for semi-social workouts. And this idea is a bit of a one-two punch! First, you’ll enjoy the connections. But you’ll also get a general mood boost from doing a little bit of exercise (and keep those extra holiday pounds at bay!).
Reach Out to Friends
One of the big stories of the pandemic has been people reconnecting over video chat. There are constant stories of old friends, college buddies, and even distant family getting together via Zoom and other services and catching up regularly. Yes, there’s the occasional video chat fatigue, but it’s more the general idea we’re speaking to. Whether it’s over video, on the phone, via text or email, or even by way of written letters, there has never been a better time to reconnect with friends, or remote family for that matter. And nothing will give you a little dose of holiday spirit quite like this.
Watch Shows & Films in a Group
In addition to simply talking to friends, you can also watch content with them! Since most of us are squeezing in a few extra shows and films anyway these days, it’s a great time to take advantage of some of the ways to watch content in a group. If you’re not familiar, there are basically online services that enable friends to start and stop streaming programs together at a distance — sometimes with a chat window on the side. It’s not quite going out for a movie and a drink, but it’s a nice little bit of camaraderie when you need it. And if you can all agree on a classic seasonal film, all the better!
Last but not least, get outside! It may not be a social activity, but connecting in some way with the outside world can work wonders for your state of mind. A walk, a run, or even some time bundling up and reading a book outside can be all you need. You’ll feel refreshed, and even if you won’t have been with anyone, you’ll benefit from getting out of the house a bit.
Written by Tiffany House for verilux.com