Routine - Maintain a fairly regular schedule. Go to bed and get up on time (whatever “on time” means for you). Eat regular meals, not just snacks.
Hygiene Shower regularly. Get up, get dressed. Staying in your pajamas is a luxury only when it’s rare. Wash your face, brush your hair. Casual is fine, but maintain a standard of looking “presentable,” even if you’re not seeing anyone.
Work Space -If you are working from home, set aside a place to be your work space. Let others know that when you’re there, you’re at work. Let yourself know that when you walk away from it, you’re leaving work.
Goals -Set goals to achieve. Consider making three lists: Grand Plans, Sizable Tasks, Simple Things. Depending on your energy level, choose. Some days you might work towards a major accomplishment, others you might feel totally useless – but you can at least empty the dishwasher, and that’s something.
Schedule - Especially if you have kids at home, having the day planned out helps. You might even set alarms on your phone to signal when to move from one activity to the next. Take advantage of the Palovian response the schools have trained into your children when they hear the bell. The familiarity of such a system will be reassuring to them, and it’s better than sticking with each activity until the fighting starts.
Move - Get up and move, even just to stretch, at least every hour. If you have a place to do it, go out for fresh air and sunshine every day. Go for a walk, or find an online video workout. Stretch. Breathe deeply.
Connect- Look at people whenever you can. Forget “elbow bumps” (unless your arms are freakishly long, you can’t stay six feet apart and do one) – greet everyone you see with eye contact, and a knowing smile. Phone friends, use FaceTime or Zoom, write letters or emails, especially to those you haven’t contacted in a while. Check in on those you know live alone. Do little favors for each other.
Communicate-Tell others what you want and need. When stressed, our thoughts are so pressing, we assume they must be obvious to everyone else, and so often interpret others’ failure to do what we want as lack of caring, rather than lack of mind-reading. So if you need to take a break, if you need support, if you want something done, say so. Check in with each other frequently, ask how they’re feeling. Consider setting up clear indicators, like “If I’m wearing a hat, please only talk to me if you absolutely have to.”
Moderate Media—Choose a reliable source for information, and check it once daily for a limited time. And if you’re stressed, skip a day. Similarly, check in with yourself before choosing what else to watch or listen to. What feels like cleansing satire one day might be too painful another. It’s always okay to say, “I’m really not up for this right now.” In our modern world, it will still be there for you to see later, if/when you feel like it.
Sympathize-Let yourself and those around you express how they feel. This whole situation is really hard, really upsetting. Whatever pain it causes is real, and counts. Stop playing Misery Poker. In a world where a child is sad to miss a birthday party, a teen is worried about derailed college plans, an adult is stressed about losing their house, and an elder is afraid they might die, everyone deserves validation and comfort