It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives of social distancing with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. That being said, I believe there are plenty of silver linings that come with every change if you keep a playful mindset, and I had a lot of fun reflecting on the ways I’ve been able to positively adapt to the present situation that I would love to share.
Welcome to Drew’s five tips to combat negative thinking during social distancing.
1. Use grocery shortages to create your own Iron Chef challenge
With the newly increased demand for basic groceries---eggs, mac and cheese, frozen pizza--- you might find your go-to’s in low supply, along with many other common ingredients. When I set out for Target to find chicken for a chicken tikka masala recipe, I ended up having to make do with beef pinwheel steaks that look like the meat form of cinnamon rolls.
I’m still going to push through and make a Tikka Masala but it’ll be the beef pinwheel steak version. Personally, I can’t wait to find out what other creative recipes I discover by combining the assorted ingredients I have at home and what’s left at my nearest grocery stores.
While it might be an instrument of necessity, consider trying the same and following your creativity (and grocery store offerings) where it leads.
2. Find a new thrill for biking (when necessary & safe)
Immediately upon leaving college, I felt myself missing the seamless ability to walk everywhere I needed to be. As someone who feels cooped up in cars and overstimulated on public transportation, I’ve missed being able to feel the fresh air and enjoy the natural world around me on my commutes.
Historically, I haven’t been one to travel much by bike, but I started to reconsider given how much safer it is from a public health perspective in these times. I recently had to make a farther than usual grocery run and I found riding my roommate’s bike to be a great experience.
I was able to shave down my predicted bus commute time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes while getting a workout. Biking there felt both exhilarating and grounding at the same time. In my commute, I gained a new appreciation and knowledge for the streets and neighborhoods near me. I felt excited taking in all the new smells of each block I rode by, taking in the scent of fresh donuts to fried chicken. I now feel that I will be buying my own bike to commute in the future once my roommate stops being so generous.
3. Embrace your comfiest clothes
Do you have a Halloween onesie lying around? Have you always wanted to try wearing leggings as a male? Looking for an excuse to grow a quarantine mustache or grow your leg hair or armpit hair out for the first time?
If the answer to any one of those is “Yes, but I’m worried about social approval,” then this is the perfect chance to experiment while we’re all social distancing! I’ve recently embraced the comforts of yoga pants and I don’t think I will ever go back.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to fully explore and find your new self outside of what you normally wear.
4. Check-in with loved ones
If you’re like me and you feel infrequent realizations that you miss a colleague you haven’t talked to in years, now is a good time to check-in. There are few easier conversations with another person, old friend or stranger, than when sharing commonalities.
We’re all going through major changes in how we conduct our work and personal lives. We all have common experiences here to bond over.
Call those people up or Facetime. Check-in. Get their perspectives and their personal experiences during this change. Rebuild and form new bridges.
5. Get into a consistent, personalized sleep schedule
I’m an early bird - I can comfortably fall asleep at 9 pm and wake up at 6 am. My mind works at peak energy, focus, and cheerfulness in the morning. I can tackle the chores and projects I want to accomplish on my bucket lists during this time. I also use this time to reflect and plan with a calmed focus and energy I normally don’t have.
Typically I find myself switching between 9 pm bedtime and midnight or later bedtime when I want to see people. It can be difficult to find a routine when switching back and forth between bedtimes and wake times---especially in this time when people are adjusting to their new work schedules.
I have found that using the app Houseparty has helped me start and end interactions earlier in the day with my friends after work allowing me to stick to my sleep schedule.
It felt great challenging myself to think of these silver linings as we embrace a great amount of change right now, and I hope this read was just as helpful for you in lifting your spirits.
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