Selfcare isn’t selfish (updated)

It’s Monday morning again and I’m just getting my day started. It’s almost noon – a busy time for WordPress readers, so I thought I would take a few minutes and jot down some thoughts that are in my busy and noisy head today.

I’m struggling a lot with this lockdown. And considering I just crawled out of bed at 11:15 am despite getting more than enough sleep, I’m worried that I’m heading back into my old habits and will sink back into that depression that was there at the beginning of all of this.

Though I don’t think depression is quite the right word now. It’s being cut off from family and friends – but more specifically, my dad whom I haven’t been able to see in over a month. The guilt I feel for it is overwhelming. He does not understand why people can’t visit him. We call him – but he rarely answers the phone anymore.

With the new restrictions. as a single person with no family of my own, I’m allowed to see two other people who live alone. Or a couple who live alone. The rules are kind of ambiguous and there is a lot left up to interpretation.

That means, dad would be okay to visit if I could get into see him. But with the lockdown, I can’t. They can’t even leave their rooms. It’s worse than prison. At least prisoners get outdoor time every day if wanted.

All of my friends and family – are married. Those that are single, are widowers who do not drive in the winter months. Church, my one social gathering, has been cut back to every second week. And with the hate thrown at churches for being allowed to remain open, even me, as the organist, is reluctant to even go to services. There’s no coffee after. No social gatherings. No hugs allowed. No singing. All the reasons I love going – to see family and friends – have been stripped away from us all.

My sister had invited me over for dinner this weekend which I was really excited about. She was part of my cohort. Now there are no cohorts allowed – which really screws the single people over. Like me. Who willingly chooses to live alone but is now being punished for the lifestyle choice. Because it seems many of those in my life have chosen the marriage or life partnership route. Yes, we schedule family zoom chats. Yes, I call my friends often. And yes, we even are getting along in the family group chat. But it’s not the same.

I miss people. I miss seeing faces. I miss hugs. I really, really, miss hugs.

And so, these are thoughts that plague my mind this Monday morning. It’s sunny and warm outside so I may venture out later for some fresh air. Not far though because this knee doesn’t allow it. I need the exercise though. And the natural vitamin D.

To help get out of this slump, I figure I would change breakfast up a bit. It’s a fasting day so I can only eat in the 8 hour window. I have a piece of toast with peanut butter and two soft boiled eggs with my coffee. It’s a treat my mum used to make for us on the weekends while we watched cartoons. I remember dipping the bread into the yolk and it was so delicious and comforting.

For those of you stuck in isolation and feeling a little left out of family activities, I feel you. My thoughts are with you too. Here are some added thoughts to help you get through these difficult times. Especially if you are stuck at home, alone or not working.

Stick to a regular schedule

This is hard when you don’t have to go anywhere. Trust me, I know. But sticking to a regular schedule can really help with getting through the week. Set a time to be up in the morning, set a time for lunch, and a time for dinner. If you stick to a regular sleep schedule, you’ll be in even better shape for when you do have to return to the real world.

Take mental health breaks

If you’re working from home or studying online, make sure to take health and wellness breaks. What you do during your own personal time is your business. Go for a short jaunt around the block. Grab a cup of coffee and sit in your kitchen or out on your balcony. If it’s not -35 like it is here now. Hop on your bike or treadmill. Do some yoga stretches. Call a friend. Do something that you enjoy doing. Even just for 15-20 minutes.

I’m really bad for this. I’ll get lost in working and before I know it’s two in the morning. This is my plan going forward. I’ll be back at work soon and I need to turn things around.

Keep in touch with friends

Stop texting. Stop right now. Pick up the phone and call your friends. It’s more than likely that there is someone in your life who is feeling just as cut off from the world as you are. Have a Friday night zoom night with your gal pals. Invite your friends to watch your favorite shows together like a Facebook watch party. Or hangout online in chat rooms. Play your favorite games. Just find something to pass the time in the evening. Hearing a voice on the phone can really boost up your mental health.

Find a creative outlet

This is always my go to suggestion when it comes to dealing with anxiety and mental health issues. But it’s true. Finding a creative outlet to pour all of your negative feelings into really helps. Start a blog. Or personal journal that you can write in every day. Learn new skills. Join sites like Coursera where you can audit courses for free. Learn a new language. Or brush up on your second language skills. Learn to cook. Draw. Paint.

You can learn just about anything for free online. Youtube is a great resource for learning new skills. It’s where I learned to cook, how to use Canva, digital software, and even marketing and SEO for this very blog.

Learn something new

If you’re out of work, now is a great time to learn new skills for your resume. Check out local job ads to see what courses you need for a promotion in your career. Head on over to sites like Coursera, LinkedIn and Skillshare for affordable courses that suit your career plans. While you may not get an official certificate, picking up new skills shows employers you are a self starter and are willing to learn.

This post has been popular, with lots of hits, and reads, so I just wanted to revise it and share how I’ve been coping with the isolation. Check out some more posts below on how to deal with anxiety and the loneliness of isolation. I’m also going through older posts and reworking some of the formatting and SEO. Don’t be alarmed if you see a familiar post pop up – it’s part of my plan to grow this blog. Thanks for reading!

You are not alone my friends.

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