Being stuck in the house is no fun and can make some people go stir crazy. But sometimes that is the way it is and you must find a way to deal with it the best you can. So maybe you just had surgery, had an injury, are home on pregnancy leave (like me), are waiting for school or a job to begin, or are dealing with some other illness that has left you alone all day. If you’re like me with no car or cash, this can be especially frustrating. What can you do to keep yourself from completely losing your mind? How can you be productive and make the most of your time? Here are some guidelines and rules for keeping your cool:
1. Establish a set sleep schedule. It is easy to fall into the habit of staying up late and then just waking up when you feel like it when you have nowhere to be the next day. But beware of this trap! It is a recipe for insomnia and fatigue because eventually you will stay up later and later. You may also have difficulty sleeping because your body knows that it can wake up when it wants to and is not pressured to use the time effectively. If you stick to a set bedtime and wake up at the same time, you will be able to stay in sync with your family and avoid staying up all night. If you find yourself up all night and then wake up in the middle of the day feeling like your day is gone, this can lead to depression. So set your alarm clock, suck it up, and use some will power!
2. Establish goals, goals, goals. If you do not have short-term and long-term goals in mind, it will be very difficult to measure accomplishments or to feel like you have a strong sense of purpose. I suggest sitting down and writing out goals for tomorrow, week by week, and month by month. Ask yourself, “how much time do I have and what do I want to accomplish?” It is best to write out your goals for the day the night before (at least 5) and to make them concrete and specific. This can be as simple as: 1. Go to the grocery store 2. Go online and register for classes etc. When you finish these goals, it is nice to cross them off the list so that you can look back and see that you have made progress.
3. Find a hobby. Now is the perfect time to learn that foreign language you always wanted. Try Rosetta Stone or get some books from the library. Do you like to paint? My favorite is paint by numbers which you can find at Hobby Lobby or go to www.dimensions-crafts.com for Paint Works by Dimensions. I like painting by numbers because it’s relaxing, and if you’re not the best artist it is okay because they usually turn out pretty good. Or, what about learning a skill that you can later really benefit from? Sign language, learning how to crochet or knit, studying for a future career goal, or one thing I have always wanted to study is about facial expressions. We have 43 facial muscles and there are people who have studied facial expressions and how to read faces (check out this article http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/05/health/conversation-with-paul-ekman-43-facial-muscles-that-reveal-even-most-fleeting.html).
4. Maintain human contact. If you allow yourself to become isolated, you are creating a recipe for loneliness and depression. Humans are social creatures and need to be around each other. Try to set a goal of at least once a week getting together with a friend or relative. Attending a book club, a village meeting, or a class for recreation can be included as social interaction and may be a good choice if you don’t have friends or relatives nearby. At the bare minimum, if feasible, get a pet! This can be anything from a cat, a dog, a ferret, or a lizard. Pets are great because they give you a reason to get up and get moving. They depend on you and can be great company. Personally, I am a big fan of pugs, and one reason is that they have the ability to make more facial expressions and in my opinion that makes them more humanlike. Pugs are also funny, cuddly, and don’t require long walks or a big house. Another thing you can do throughout the week is call up someone and just simply talk. Skype offers very cheap rates all over the country to landlines and cell phones.