Updated: Oct 1
On a recent trip to California, the Coronavirus was just heating up. Government officials were asking people to please stay home and avoid going out to public places. Then there was the push to get people to order in and rely on delivery services.
Next, the term social distancing was popping up everywhere. On social media, people were demanding, begging, and shaming people to stay home.
By the time I left California and returned home, schools across the country were closed for the year. Non-essential businesses were beginning to close. This meant if you did not work for a company that could offer work-from-home capabilities, you were pretty much screwed.
The thought of staying indoors for days at a time is a frightening prospect. Believe it or not many of us do it every day.
Keep reading for tips on how to keep your sanity during social distancing and safer at home orders.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is a response to the Covid-19, also known as the Coronavirus. Although people are being urged to stay home, there are times when we must leave the house.
When you are out in public, you’re supposed to stay away from large crowds and at least six feet from other individuals.
As we saw during Spring Break in Florida, social distancing among younger people was an epic fail. Local governments were forced to step in and close popular beaches such as Miami’s South Beach. This forced many spring breakers to return home since colleges and universities had also closed.
What Does Freelancer’s Know About Keeping Distance?
Often when people think of freelancing jobs, they think of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Or food delivery services and dog walkers.
There is a long list of freelance opportunities that keep people in their homes and connected to their computers. These include:
In addition to freelancers, there is a growing population of people that work from home full time.
By default, we are the masters of social distancing. If we take too much time away from work, we don’t eat. Our clients want a timely turnaround, and we’re held to the deadlines we set.
Not leaving the house for days happens a lot. When working on large projects, losing track of the days of the week happens.
Working from home calls for people to be intentional about getting off of social media and engaging with society. It’s striking up random conversations with strangers in line at the grocery store or agreeing to have drinks with friends.
Keeping it Real About How Much Time You’re in the House?
It’s true, a lot of creatives rarely leave the house. Two years ago, I needed to purchase a new battery for my car. The AAA service person who showed up shared that AAA sells batteries and will come out and install it for me.
Reading the online reviews left me concerned. The majority of the negative reviews stated their lifetime warranty was voided because of low mileage on their vehicles. It turns out not driving your car for extended periods can shorten your battery’s lifespan.
Discussing my situation with the customer service representative had me realizing how little I leave the house regularly. There are trips to the grocery store, randomly venturing to the mall, or going out to eat with friends…my bestie relocated to Texas last year. #Tears
In reality, I' am a homebody. I spend my days producing written content and working on my manuscripts. There are days I’m up until three or four in the morning working. Sleeping the day away is not an option, so I have to force myself to get up by nine.
Did I say there are times when freelancers lose track of days? Yes, it’s true.
How to Command Your Days?
Social distancing by choice is different than social distancing by force. In today’s climate of Covid-19, people are being laid off from their jobs. Parents are panicking because they have to choose between work and staying home to watch their kids. Schools have shut down without any warning or preparation.
Sadly, some situations will be exacerbated by this pandemic. If it lasts too long, expect to see a rise in domestic violence, child abuse, alcohol and drug use, even upticks in violent crimes against strangers.
If people can’t afford their basic needs things will reach a breaking point. This is why focusing on our mental wellbeing is so important.
Turn Off the TV
During trying times, the media can be the biggest hindrance to your sanity. Avoid watching news programming that is repeating the same information over and over again. In Florida, there is a website sponsored by the Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection. It updates twice a day. Also, I find one reliable news source to stay abreast of what is happening worldwide.
Avoid Seeking Information About the Coronavirus
Be intentional about not going in search of information. Of course, you want to be aware. If you are checking news sources or going on social media to find information throughout the day, you’re doing too much.
Also, avoid engaging in lengthy conversations that are centered around the outbreak. You may not realize it, but the more you talk about it the more likely you will face levels of depression.
Plan Your Day the Night Before
Plan your day the night before so that you will be more focused and have something to look forward to doing. Parents with kids will need to help them with online schooling, which may be foreign to many.
As someone whose daughter participated in virtual school during her middle school years, the biggest challenge is keeping the kids motivated and on task. It can be frustrating. You’ll need to have patience and a good night’s rest.
Get Up as If You Have a Somewhere to Go
Don’t fall into the trap of sleeping in. Do continue to get-up at your regular time. Sleeping longer than normal is a sign you may be falling into depression.
Set your alarm, wake-up, shower and get dressed. Do not stay in your pajamas all day or let your overall appearance decline. Looking good as a part of feeling good.
Please, please, please stay away from contraptions like the desk table which allows you to work, watch TV, and eat from the comfort of your bed or couch. Working from home requires proper ergonomics to work smarter and healthier.
Cook Your Meals Instead of Carryout
There is a push to support the restaurant industry. Your favorite eateries are most likely offering free delivery. It is okay to support businesses in our communities once or twice a week if the budget allows.
Be realistic about your budget and your diet. Takeout is often more expensive than cooking, and it probably comes with more calories.
Look at it this way, cooking gives you something to do. It is also something the family can do together. Sitting down as a family to eat meals is the perfect time to see how everyone is doing mentally.
If there is a high school senior in the house, pay close attention. Some will have their prom and graduation ceremony canceled because of this pandemic.
Do Morning Meditation
During social distancing make time for morning meditation. It can be a short prayer, calling into a prayer line, listening to a motivational speaker, or doing yoga. Make sure your mind and attitude are right, before engaging with other family members.
Also, practice family meditation or prayer later in the day.
Get Out of the House
Social distancing and safer at home directives do not mean you can’t get out of the house. There are provisions for going to the store to buy groceries and other necessities. If you can still go to work, count it a blessing.
The goal is to not be near others and not to shut yourself off from the world. Plus, our bodies need natural sources of Vitamin D, which comes from the sun.
You can still take a walk, ride your bike, go rollerblading, work in your garden, allow the kids to play outside and more. Just remember to stay at least six feet away from others and avoid crowded spaces.
Limit Your Time on Social Media
Social media is a time killer and leads to wasted and unproductive time. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. It can be a great stress reliever so do it in moderation and only to check-in with family and friends.
Consider setting specific times to log-on, and use a timer to control how much time you’re logged in. There will be a lot of information popping up on Covid-19, and you want to avoid being lured in.
Listen to Music
Music soothes the soul. Several DJs have hosted dance parties on IG that have lasted for hours. Last night I tuned in to a Quarantine and Praise concert hosted by a church in Huntsville, Alabama.
I believe listening to your favorite playlist on a streaming service is best. This way you’re not distracted by social media trappings.
Read a Book
I love to read. Getting lost in a good book can take your mind off your problems. As a writer, I don’t read as much as I used to. Last month I read the book, The Darkest Child, by the late author Delores Phillips. It was so refreshing, and I finished it in the three settings.
If you can’t get to the bookstore or library, Kindle books are only a tap away on your mobile devices.
Journaling during social distancing and living through a pandemic is a great way to release your feelings. You are also encouraged to introduce your children to writing.
Who knows, you may decide to turn your writings into a personal blog that can help others survive Coronavirus or future social distancing orders.
Research Available Resources
With time on your hand, you will want to look for resources. This includes filing for unemployment or checking to see what organizations are helping families in need. You can also see what companies are hiring and apply for temporary employment.
Write a Business Plan
Corvid-19 pandemic has a lot of people thinking about the future. Is there something you always dreamed about doing but were too afraid to give it a shot? Being a freelancer and creative, I have a lot of flexibility. So far, what I do has not been impacted by the spread of the Coronavirus.
My journey began after I had been laid-off during the recession of 2008. I have been able to harness my love of writing, plus, 30 years of business experience working for non-profits, a government agency, and corporate America.
Even it is a faraway dream, take some time to sit down and write a business plan.
Don’t Stress Over What You Can’t Control
The Coronavirus is real. Its emergence has brought about a worldwide change in the way we live. Social distancing is real. The economic fall-out is real. We can’t even begin to imagine the recovery process at this point.
Staying healthy and protecting our families is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
One thing I have learned in life is that I have little control over most things that happen. However, I have full control over how I choose to deal with them. I am a firm believer that if you’re going to pray don’t worry, and if you’re going to worry don’t bother praying.
I pray that everyone reading this article will find comfort and peace through these trying times. Remember, trouble doesn’t last always. When everything else fails, pray and settle down with a good book.
Let me know how you’re holding up and what you are doing to stay uplifted and positive during these trying times. Scroll down for the comments section.
Peace and Blessings,
Tracy L. Darity, is the author of He Me Loves Me He Loves Me Not!, Love…Like Snow in Florida On a Hot Summer Day, and The Red Bear Society. Her much-anticipated non-fiction work When Sunday Comes Will I Still Believe God will be released in the spring of 2020.