So bear with me here - this is my first blog for projectY. Actually, it’s my first blog ever. This topic, mental health, feels really important with everything that’s going on. After working in the open and friendly space at projectY, transitioning to working from home has been a really hard change. And I’m not so good at change at the best of times!

With all the stress of social distancing, I was looking for ideas to help me get through this while staying sane, and I found some great ideas. Now, isolation will still be a struggle, especially because we don’t know when things will go back to "normal". But being flexible and going with the flow really makes it easier to get through every day, especially when I’m really craving social interaction.

Here are the tips that I found especially helpful:

1. Virtual get-togethers aren’t perfect, but they definitely help keep us connected.
  • These can be for work or for fun. I attend a weekly staff meeting each week and it’s so great to see my coworkers. It’s not exactly the same as working together at projectY, but it does the trick much better than email and phone calls.
  • In my downtime, some girlfriends and I like to watch movies together on Netflix party. We can even play online games together! It’s definitely something that I look forward to, since it’s a great time to let go and laugh.
  • My family has started doing Zoom and Google calls to keep in touch as well. This is particularly important for me because we’ve missed so many special days that we normally spend together. Getting my grandparents comfortable with being online was especially important. 
2. Reading has been key for me.
  • I’ve mainly been reading articles for work, but I have found many on maintaining mental health while social distancing. It was a relief to know that it’s pretty normal to be struggling right now. There’s a lot of advice out there about coping with isolation, but the best part is that there’s so much variety that everybody will find something that works for them.
  • I’ve also decided that it was time to catch up on those books that have sat on my shelf for a while, usually because I just didn’t have time. Reading is such a fun hobby, and the best way to travel somewhere else without leaving the house.
3. It’s springtime, so we can still go outside and enjoy the weather.
  • Even though it can be really hard, seeing the silver lining is so important. Finding little things to be grateful for has been lifesaving. It’s easy to get caught up in the avalanche of awful news, but taking a few moments to reflect on the positive is a great way to stay centered. 
  • Getting out in the sunshine has been so great for me, my daughters, and my dogs. Just walking around the block and feeling the sun and breeze helps wake me up, and I’m more motivated to take on the day. Being stuck inside together for too long can get on everybody’s nerves, so getting out gives you some space as well. I’ve been taking my daughters and dogs to the park by our house to run and use up some energy.
4. Doing something silly just to be silly.
  • I joined a couple of Facebook groups when this all started, and it’s a great way to stay sane. The first one is Social Distancing Spirit Weeks. Every day, this group lists a different task so that members can share with each other. Some past activities included a scavenger hunt, recreating a picture from the past, formal Friday, and so much more. Each week is different, and it’s been fun to see how people participate.
  • The other group I enjoy is Bin Isolation Outing. It started in Australia, and people get dressed up to take out the trash. We’re talking wedding clothes, party outfits, and lots of creative ensembles. Some of the posts are so hilarious, it just reminds me that we’re all in this together, and we can make even the most mundane tasks into something fun. 
If there’s something fun or helpful you’ve tried since the stay at home order started, let us know in the comments! Even though projectY is a virtual space for now, we can always learn from each other.

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