A Keeping It Real Post
Some mornings I wake up and wonder if I’m still asleep and dreaming. But this surreal world we’re living in right now is very real. At the moment, I’m healthy but in self-quarantine and strictly social distancing since I’m a back-up caregiver to a very ill family member. One half of the rest of my family is sick and in their own self-quarantine. Even the dog is off-limits to me.
Alas, this is all familiar territory. Who would’ve thought widowhood would prepare me for isolation? And, since I’m a pro, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about what you can expect.
What To Expect In Isolation
A lot of you are new to isolation. Those of you who live with other humans or pets have it pretty easy. This bit isn’t for you; it’s for all the singles with no pets who are suddenly at home alone, indefinitely. Whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, a few things will be the same.
The Bad News First
I don’t believe in sugar-coating it, but this is really the only bad part, so don’t be afraid. Hi. I’m a childless, petless, widow who lives alone. I’m here to assure you that everything is going to be okay. But first, to quote the late great Dan Bain, it’s gonna suck big giant moose wang. Once the novelty of working from home wears off, you’ll start to notice things you haven’t before. The most significant being how many times you touch people during the day.
Unless you’re a germaphobe or one of those people who hates to be touched, you don’t realize how important physical contact with other humans is to our well being. Extroverts, you lovely huggers, will get twitchy about it after the first day. Introverts may not notice it until a few days have passed, but you will. No handshakes. No pats on the shoulder. No hugs. For the record, I miss hugs the most and regret not getting a dog before the whole world went sideways. If fostering is an option for you, contact your local animal shelter for a temporary quarantine buddy, or a new lifelong friend.
But don’t worry. You’ll get used to it in a week or two. I want to think this will be over in fourteen days, but I’m not optimistic. (For the love of all that is holy stay inside and help flatten the curve!)
It’s Going To Be Okay
But that’s the worst of it. You know my philosophy that beauty is where we look for it. Find the silver lining in this whole experience. It’s there. I’ve witnessed so many acts of kindness in my community, it reminds me that most people are still basically good. (Hoarders, look away. I’m not talking about you, you selfish bastards.)
Here are a few additional suggestions to help you cope in the weeks ahead.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom are all great ways to stay connected with your social circles and not feel as lonely. While not the same as hugging your mom, you can at least see her face and hear her voice. A friend and I have virtual tea where we sit in our pjs on our respective couches, drink tea, and talk about everything and nothing. My sisters and I have a weekend coffee date to laugh at the insanity of it all, and remember we have each other’s backs. And have you heard about virtual happy hours? Cheers to whoever came up with that idea.
Teddy Bears and Huggy Pillows
Teddy bears and huggy pillows sound ridiculous for a grown woman, but if they work for kids, why can’t they work for us? Sometimes we just need a hug. And while your pillow can’t hug you back, it’s better than nothing.
If you’re still allowed to go out, take advantage of the sunshine and fresh air. It does wonders for your frame of mind. Just don’t forget to be respectful of everyone’s six-foot bubble.
Shelter In Place
If you can’t go outside, I’m a huge proponent of kitchen dance parties. Find your favorite tunes and shake your groove thang. You can’t help but laugh when you’re dancing like a maniac all by yourself. (Bonus: it counts as cardio!) I decided to up my quarantine cool factor with a disco ball, but that’s optional. (Required disclosure: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you purchase using the links included in this post.)
CAUTION: Do not fall into the trap of staying in bed all day or on the couch watching mindless TV or movies. You’re new to this whole isolation thing. Those of us that are pro-level know how to balance. You have to ease into it or it can become a fast-track to depression.
This Too Shall Pass
The great news? Unlike widowhood, this weird isolation period is temporary. You’re going to be okay and will emerge from the other side more resilient and self-reliant. And you’re going to value the little things a bazillion times more than you ever did before. Those handshakes, pats on the shoulder, and hugs will be something to be treasured and valued.
Oh, and never forget. While you may be isolated right now, you are never alone. If it starts to get to you, reach out. I’m not going anywhere.
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.