A Beginner's Guide to Surviving a Quarantine: INTRODUCTION
Today is Wednesday, April 1st and this is not a joke. Here in Gainesville, FL we have been in our own version of "lock down," since the middle of March with each day becoming more and more grim. A couple days ago the state of Florida mandated all schools and non-essential businesses to cease operations until the end of April. There are many folks out of work. All students learning form home. Many individuals continuing to work from home. And all people finding a new normal in their lives as they get cozy in their home environments.
I have been fortunate to have a portable job and continue to see clients via Teletherapy either at home or in my office. Though I too miss social connection, miss continued engagement in my community and local activities, and I miss the normalcy of life I used to know. In an effort to reach more people and provide some fun in addition to increasing coping and well being in others I have decided to create this guide. It is a work in progress and the more we live our own version of a quarantined life the more it will take a life of its own.
This guide is not meant to be therapeutic advice. If you do not have a mental health professional you should find one (I myself am continuing to take clients as are other fabulous therapists in Gainesville and the country at large). This is also not meant to make light of the very serious situation we are in, some worse than others. Folks who know me know that I approach life from a realistic, sometimes pessimistic stance, yet, not I'm also a believer in a "not taking life too seriously" mindset. I work from a positive psychology approach with my clients which means I work with people on movement toward where they want to be over their self-identified barriers to happiness. We all experience trials and tribulations in life but its rare we can remove external forces. What we can do is keep moving and DOING.
So this guide is all about action and movement. Even if the action is stillness and the movement is internal. It's about intentionality. It's about taking from this experience what we can and what is meaningful and working like crazy not to be taken down by it.
Here is an overview of Stage 1: Preparation, The Beginner's Guide to Surviving a Quarantine
Acceptance: First we must acknowledge what has happened and embrace what is. Because none of us can change it.
Get Snacks: We all have made our initial good choices around essential supplies. But what about snacks? Toilet paper might be helpful but chips and candy are the things that make life really wonderful! I say nurture your soul! It's a quarantine, we gotta have something good!
Do Some Nesting: You are now living and working from one environment (and some are also teaching and learning). Make sure your place is cozy and has opportunities for separation of work and life
Get to Know Your Housemates: Look around...these are your quarantine buddies. You are now in a system and each of you has your own strengths and weaknesses. You will not survive this together if you do not work together. So get to know one another. Set some rules and expectations as well as boundaries. And be kind. You never know what the future may hold and you do not want to be voted off while quarantined.
I hope you will join me over the coming weeks. You can find videos and (mostly) daily tidbits on Instagram and Facebook. You will find longer posts here (linking to Facebook). You are welcome to email me through my website at affirmativecounselingpsych.com if you are looking for a mental health professional or a referral to one.
We are all in this together. I say why not have a little bit of fun on the journey!