1. Shower and Shave. Every day. You didn’t know it but you were showering for other people and you gained the unrealized benefit of feeling like you’re “On Your Game.” For the next three to six months, shower for the benefit of yourself. Set your alarm, as always, and maintain your routine as much as possible. It will normalize you and make you comfortable with this new normal. In fact, wear color and stay away from blacks and grays (which are normally my go-to garb). Don’t behave like a workday is a Saturday. You’ll be less productive and feel like you have less control. For more helpful videos, click here.
2. Spend Some Money. Contributing to the economy is an essential way of helping not only your fellow man but also your country. Think of small businesses and purchase from them whenever you can. It is kind. It is contributory. It is patriotic.
3. Exercise and Eat Properly. No-brainer, but still must be said. I hate that I even have to include this.
4. Turn Off the Television. It’s unhelpful. Remember, broadcasters are churning up fear in order to fill their 24-hour news day to sell ad space. That’s their job. Your job is to remain strong and calm with solid information. Reading from reliable sources is a much better pick. I set up a few notifications in case I get too buried in work to keep myself updated.
5. Keep a Schedule. Having a plan, in any situation, is usually what separates those who succeed from those who fail. I’m telling you, in very strong words, having a plan will maintain your perspective. Keep your head down and plow forward. Create and follow your plan. And not just daily. Create a weekly and monthly plan. Now that you have all this extra time at home, have it include “Around the House” to-dos. Tweak it regularly and adapt to every circumstance. You have to wake up and adjust to your new normal.
6. Work an 8-hour Day. If you’re working from home, don’t do laundry and empty the dishwasher while you work. Tell your kids they have to behave like big people right now, that we are all in this together and will be fine, but that it is their job (unless they’re really tiny) to learn how to keep themselves content. Lay out all the equipment they need: paper, coloring books, tablets, acrylics and brushes. If you can’t fill 8 hours, use the balance of time for personal learning or escape reading. An 8-hour-at-home-day is now your new normal. I know you can adapt because you’re smart enough to still be reading this.
7. Don’t Wait for Direction From Authorities. A Republican democracy is great, but the downside is that it is sooo slooooow to act. Make your own decisions, and make them early. Isolate, and isolate effectively and in a healthy way. At the end of the day, you are responsible for you. Don’t leave your life decisions in the hands of anyone else but you. I went virtual on March 13. I feel somewhat prepared and I exercised my own free will. I hope you do too.
8. Telepeople. Yes, I just made up that word. It’s a verb. But when you’re largely alone, or even stuck with only one person’s company, you need to reach out every day, virtually, to other people. Skype and FaceTime are better. I know most people prefer phone calls but step it up a little. Make VisualVirtual your new reality. And yes, I just made up that word as well.
9. Expect More From Yourself. There are people out there who will think stronger and others who will be crushed by their own thoughts. Pick which person you’d like to be before it picks you. You may not have a whole lot of control right now, but you do have more than you think. Think, people. Worry gets nothing done and it will not keep you and your loved ones safe.
10. Acts of Kindness. Personally, I think this is a Darwinian wake-up call for many who focus so much on themselves they don’t even fully grasp the meaning of acts of kindness. Reboot, folks. Drop off medication for a senior. Get their pooch a huge bag of dog food. Think of any person you know who is likely paralyzed by this and give them a reassuring call. The time of “All About Me” is now over. Thank God. It was a heavy lift to think I was THAT special.
11. Be Grateful. Sure, this is a drag. And we may get sick. We may, tragically, lose a person we love from the deepest parts of our hearts. But this is not a wipe-out scenario. Not if you use your head. Remember all that you have, remember all of the beauty in life and feel gratitude. Just look around you. This is not a war over which you have zero control. Yes, it is a natural disaster but you can still hedge your bets if you act right now.
12. Push Fear Away. Replace it with reasonable and well thought out answers. You’ll feel more in control, less panicky and you’ll up your odds of seeing your way and that of your family through this. Stay positive.
13. Laugh and Enjoy Life. Not surprising that I find myself wrapping this article up on 13. I like to challenge superstition because it is not rational! That said, if you work 8 hours, and you hopefully sleep close to 8 hours, you still have a full 8 hours left. Make love regularly if you can. Enjoy your kids and make a lot of videos because kids are really funny! Take walks that are safe. Become a better listener. Go on a photographic discovery hike. Hop on your bike. Shoot hoops with the kids. Tell really bad jokes and talk with each other about all our past gaffes and how funny they were! Laugh, people. You need it. I need it. Everyone needs it. Laughter is a great antidote for fear and panic.
To wrap this up, so far, I have virtual appointments with people for about seven hours, Tuesday through Friday, of this week. Done that. I am showered, make-up on and hair done, for my own emotional health. Only one of seven appointments is scheduled for FaceTime. I’m no hypocrite. I will do exactly what I also suggest you do. Reach out to me. I’m slashing my fees because so many people are lonely and scared. Couples and marriages are still collapsing, and people are still breaching trust. Some things are immune to viruses.
Chin up. Reach out. Be brave and strong. You’re never all alone. In fact, we are all–in your neighborhood as well as the entire globe–in this together. Get busy!
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