Keeping/finding your sanity during lockdown
This is different from what I normally post on this site, but my wife and I had a couple of years where life threw everything at us, and we spent about 1.5 years living in close proximity almost 24x7. We felt that our experience may be valuable to other people at this point in time.
So youíve nailed the recommendations for optmising your hygene from the World Health Organisation and any other government bodies relevant to you. If you havenít started lockdown or quarantine where you are yet, you probably will soon. (If youíre not sure if you will, it would still be worth doing the preparation just in case.)
In any case this artcile is for some unofficial tips for maintaining your sanity, and maximising the chances that you will still be close to your loved ones/co-occupants at the end of it.
This article will evolve as our experience does. So it may be worth checking back from time to time.
Nothing in this article should contradict official advice in your area. But if it does, the official advice must take precedence.
Before lockdown begins
If lockdown/quarantine hasnít begun for you yet. Do this now. We were lucky that we had two days warning. In reality, the government then started the lockdown a day early, so we had one day warning. But it helped, and we made the most of it.
Enjoy stuff you wonít be able to do once lockdown has started.
Get out and do the things you wonít be able to do once lockdown/quarantine begins. Eg biking, hiking, swimming, sneezing, walking, running, For us, this was a bike ride in the mountains.
Slowly build up supplies.
At this point, itís probably too late to stock pile anything. So just slowly accumulate long lasting supplies, and keep your fresh produce up-to-date. Make sure that you stocking up on something doesnít mean someone else canít have any.
If there is anything you want that will be hard to get once there are only critical supplies available, now is the time to get on with it. But keep in mind that deliveries (particularly international) could well be affected by any lockdown that is about to happen that you donít know about yet.
After lockdown has begun
Find ways you can exercise in your house. If you have a roof or back yard available to you, use it. A hall-way, or large room like a lounge could be an excellent space to move around.
Exercise regularly. The exercises that are viable to you in your house are unlikely to be as effective as ones you can do ourside your house.
Iím finding exercising a smaller amount, but multiple times a day is really helpful. It gives the body a chance to move the blood around more often, which is important considering our movements during other parts of the day will generally be less effective than normal.
Itís also worth varying what exervises you do.
Get fresh air.
When the weather allows, opening the windows, going to the roof/balcony to get some fresh air makes a big difference.
Independantly of this, we try to open all windows in the house at least once a day to clear the air. It doesnít need to be long; just long enough to change the air.
Eating healthier food makes a massive difference to your mental state, and itís often not obvious until you look back some days after a change. But it does make a massive difference to your ability to cope with the situation.
You might need to adjust the quantity of food you consume a little as well. But please donít take this to extremes, and do get advice from a professional for any doubts you have.
Not being too tired, or over-slept drastically impacts your mood.
Donít obssess over the news, but keep informed.
Iíd actually take this a step further. Keep up with enough news to know what you need to be doing/not doing and whatís coming up, and stop at that. Spending 20 minutes hearing about the death told city-by-city really isnít going to help you.
Keep in contact with your friends and family.
Some people will be finding this harder than others. AND! Thereís nothing like helping someone else for making yourself feel better.
Different people cope with stress differently. If it helps you; great. If it offends you; let it be. They probably werenít trying to offend you.
Enjoy the moments you can. But try not to be obnoxious.
You will have bad moments.
Donít worry. It doesnít mean you or anyone else is failing. Take some moments. Get some space. And come back to the picture when youíre ready.
Enjoy the things that go on.
There are lots of cool things happening in our area:
- Every night at 20:00, everyone goes to their balconies to applaud the health workers and all the other essential workers who are putting themselves on the line to help us get through this.
- Sometimes we play laser pointer tag on the carpark below with our neighbours.
- Sometimes people in different buildings play different instruments to play a song together.
- Sometimes people come to their balconies, and just chat between the buildings for a while.
You have two options. * Get frustrated at all that dang noise! * Embrace it and enjoy it.
I strongly recommend the latter. It unites everyone, giving us a feeling of belonging, and being in it together. It brings smiles and laughter, and a reminder of how much tallent surrounds you. These moments may only last for a few minutes at a time, but they change the scenery and keep things interesting.
Make the most of what you have.
When the lockdown ends, Iím going on a mega bike ride in the mountains. But for now, I canít do that under the local rules. So Iím not giving that much thought, and instead Iím concentrating on what I can do.
We have a roof and a garage where we can go to do exercise (being careful what, and how we touch things, and what we do about it afterwards). We have everything we need to watch shows together, or to work on our indoor hobbies.
To describe this as an opportunity is probably a bit deluded, but itís certainly a trigger to focus on things you might not normally prioritise as highly.
Remind your partner how awesome they are.
Stop the nit-picking.
I canít find a way to word this. Hopefully the heading is enough to get the message across.
Be nice to your co-habitants and your neighbours.
What ever you do, itís eventually going to be mutual. Being considerate will go a long way to everyoneís comfort.
Your co-habitants arenít trying to annoy you.
Well mÖ NO! ;)
Assume no. And definitely donít do it back.
Contribute when you can.
If you have a skill that would make someone elseís life better, and you can do it without breaking the rules that you are supposed to be following, do it.
A few people doing this, goes a long way. Additionally, it strengthens the community.
Embrace and give space.
Sometimes we just need space. Some people more so than others. And when weíre all stuck in a small space together, this will happen more than normal. Respect it, and donít be afraid to ask for it.
Hopefully at the end of all of this, everyone will be much closer.
ďPart of being cool is being calm and understanding when the other person isnít. You donít know what they are going through.Ē
Just because someone is finding it harder, or easier than you, does not invalidate yours or their experience.
Things will get better. Follow the guidelines. They will probably change as we learn more. So follow the new guidelines when they happen, and things will get better.
It could be worse. Letís focus on whatís good. We have food, water, warmth, each other etc.
All the people who are on the front lines.
- Medical staff.
- Supermarket workers.
- Critical systems (Rubbish, electricity, internet, news).
- People making the tough decisions.
- Spanish culture. (The morale and sense of comradery is amazing.)
- Anyone Iíve missed on the list.
My amazing wife
You are the best person I could ever hope to get stuck with.
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