March 24, 2020 · 12:00 am
As we get into the second week of our self-isolation and social distancing practices, I thought I’d ask a few of my author friends for tips on how they are coping. After all, most writers already are experts at self isolating. We spend the better part of our days alone, in our writing caves.
I sent out the call to my writing peeps, and, as always, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, I got so many responses, I decided to do a two-parter for this post, today, and this Thursday, so stay tuned and checked back on Thursday!
Here are a few ways we are all attempting to get through this trying time!
First, me. If you know me you know I love to cook and bake. Well, my husband has been having a real eating feast for the past 13 days from my baking attempts. I’ve made a series of muffins that are almost gone on a daily basis! Click on the video link to see my latest endeavor:
I’ve also started posting my MORNING MOTIVATIONS again every day on my Instagram account as a way to stay positive and give encouragement. Here’s a recent one:
~ More time to read—yay!
~ Keeping up with friends via Facebook and text and messenger so we don’t feel isolated
~ Our Sunday School class is having our lesson by conference call (since not everyone can Skype).
~ Our church has online services
~ Binge watching a TV series on Amazon Prime
~ Continuing to write my stories
~ My husband plays with his ham radio or watches documentaries and Ted talks
I love to make soup. Cutting up vegetables is quite cathartic to me. Adding and building flavors leading to fragrant and hearty comfort food which is also healthy for us.
Take precautions and pack it up in individual containers to share it with friends or family. Call ahead and leave it on their porch.
Another WRP sistah and fabulous writer, Kristal Dawn Harris sent me this lovely, and thought provoking note to share, since she is in a high risk category, health-wise:
“Like so many of you, I’m stuck at home adhering to safety protocols for the Coronavirus pandemic. I am in the high-risk group because of a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. I only go out for food, make sure I keep my distance, and wash my hands, as well as my clothes, and anything I buy, upon returning home. As an author, I am used to spending long periods alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t succumb to boredom, miss people, or need a break from writing.
There are many projects I have been wanting to do around the house, such as painting the bedroom, and now I have the time. I also get outside, in my own yard, when the weather cooperates. I’ve ordered seeds to plant a garden, so I should be able to do that soon. I exercise, listen to music, watch movies, read, and I’m thinking of cleaning out the garage (my husband will be so happy…lol). I am always searching for interesting articles online about places I’ve never been and weird topics, and sometimes I post them to my social media accounts.
With Skype, I can talk to and see my children and other family members when all else fails. There are so many ways to fill your time, so don’t let the quarantine ruin your life or your mind! Humans are curious creatures by nature and there are plenty of ways to satisfy that side of yourself!”
Writer, friend and talented author Jennifer Wilck
shared this with me:
“This self-isolation is anxiety-producing and kills my concentration. I’m an introvert by nature (a friendly one, though) and while my own personal habits don’t need to change much, having the other three members of my family home in my space definitely requires some adjustment. Some of the ways I cope are:
1) Each morning I remind myself that “this too will pass” and I tell myself how lucky we are.
2) I make sure to get exercise—the elliptical machine in the basement and walking around the neighborhood. I ask the rest of my family to join me on my walks, or I walk with a friend (keeping our 6-foot distance, of course) so that the blood gets pumping, the endorphins flow, and I have someone to talk to. And we try to discuss things other than the state of the world.
3) I try to keep to a schedule, so I feel productive. I follow a to-do list and cross things off as I do them. I make plans for later in the week, and give myself down time as well.
4) I cook or bake or try to find new uses for leftovers.
5) I clean—both for preventing Covid and for spring cleaning.
6) I read or watch TV or both.
7) I check in with my family and friends to make sure everyone is okay. It makes me feel better to think of others.
Hope you’re coping as well. And remember, this will eventually end.”
I’ve had trouble with my back and sciatica, and I’ve found that regular exercise, especially stretching, is vital. So when my gym and my Pilates studio closed ( because of the virus), I started to worry. Fortunately, my yoga teacher found a way to offer live virtual online classes at the same times as our in-house sessions were scheduled to happen. I was sent a link and tuned in at the appointed time. It was fantastic! I felt connected to my instructor and so enjoyed hearing her familiar voice. I not only was able to stretch and strengthen, but felt a bit of normalcy in times that are anything but.
A quick Internet search will show you lots of online classes and exercises, many of them free. I found this one from Orange Theory that I’m going to give a try. So the moral of my story is that we don’t have to give up completely on exercise during this difficult time. Your body and your mind will thank you.
One of my dearest writing friends, the ubertalented Donna Simonetta had to postpone her planned vacation last week and is having a staycation instead. Here’s how she’s been coping:
As a writer, I work from home. So, with my husband working from home too, I’m having LESS alone time than normal during this time of self-isolation. Haha! .One happy thing happening in our world is that Spring has sprung here in Maryland, and we’re enjoying all the flowering plants and trees in our yard and neighborhood. We take a little stroll around our yard every day to look at our daffodils and camellias.
Writer Jean Grant’s take on self isolation mimics mine:
“It’s almost like ( as writers) we were made for this, right? I already deal with a lot of isolation and loneliness…now add in my husband and two kids, and home-school schedule — oof!
I’ve been listening to music and audiobooks, reading, and getting on walks. Staying physically active is important to mental health. I normally walk and exercise 4-5x a week. I love Denise Austin’s videos – she is a positive lady and still super fit at 62. She’s even offering live feeds and free videos during this time. I take walks in my neighborhood (with family or alone) and on local (quiet) trails, and I’ve started some spring garden work (though more snow is coming Monday). I’ve been baking, too. Cleaning/purging/sorting. Indulging in happy movies. Creating a schedule for my children has helped us, as they thrive on routine. Drinking my usual amount of coffee. ;-)”
One more for today: Writer Wendy Kendall, also a Wild Rose Press sistah, has this to offer to help you get through these trying days:
All kinds of music is helping me cope. Especially new kinds I never tried before, but also my favorites and familiars and tunes id forgotten. Music is a whole other way to tell a story, whether with lyrics or not. It lifts the spirit and touches the soul. Whether I’m listening while doing something else, or I’m focused only on the song, I am relieved and I am not alone.
Peggy here: All of these are thought provoking ideas, no?? I love them and can see how each is so helpful.
Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for more great tips from all my friends!! Remember: together, we can all get through this – even if we are isolating!! Hee hee
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