Life indoors is not something new. There are studies showing that this has been a growing global trend for quite some time. Actually, during the last decades, we started to create many different functions to different rooms or corners of the places we call home: Office room, reading room, family room. Also playrooms, gym rooms and the list goes on. But certainly nothing had prepared our homes or even us for this urgent need to be confined as this new pandemic of Coronavirus started spreading around the world.
All of a sudden, staying indoors is not a matter of choice anymore. It is vital for the safety of each one of us and our loved ones. And this changes the entire game. We are living times that can be of anxiety and even fear, and we need to learn very fast to establish a new different rhythm to our lives trying to bring normality to what is not normal at all. How long will this last? Nobody knows. And in my very humble opinion, I think our idea of what is normal will be changed before all this is over.
But in the middle of so many uncertainties, one thing I know: this is not the end of the world, not at all. I think that it is just a good opportunity –like many others in the past– to reflect on how we can make changes in our lives to cope with these new challenges. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Home office to several people.
All of a sudden, you and your partner need to work together. All the rules were already settled for social and domestic life and with no previous notice, you find yourself sharing your office. Pretty complicated, right? Well, here is what can you could do right away:
- Define a space for each of you and stick with it. If you need to rearrange the furniture, do it together and as soon as possible.
- Talk about your habits in your office, your limitations, what you like and you don’t like and what you need and don’t need to get your work done.
- Create a routine and make sure to preserve your breaks.
- Do it right: get dressed every day.
This can be a huge challenge to say the least! How do you accommodate the kids all day at home and all their new needs? If you are in this situation, I am sure that you’ve been discussing together with other parents, schoolteachers and staff how to deal with this new reality. So here I will try to share with you some ideas from the practical point of view of your home space, how you can make this challenge more bearable.
- For the new school supplies: baskets, basket and baskets of all sizes and shapes will help you to keep them organized and handy.
- Find a place where your kid/kids can best focus. The least the clutter and the noise, the better.
- If you need, think about renting some furniture to make sure the little ones have the right space to concentrate and work. There are generally places where you can rent furniture for a reasonable price for a short period of time.
- If you already have a nice table and chair where they can work, and you just feel worried they can destroy them, just look for seat covers and table mats.
Cooking for the whole family 24/7.
Your new grocery shopping list for this whole lot of cooking and the possibility of self-quarantine: what should you really be stocking?
The whole thing about toilet papers makes little sense to me, so I won’t talk about it but from everything I’ve read, there are two things that make a lot of sense:
- Don’t worry about “special food”. Make sure to stockfood you would want to eat on a typical day; usually there’s a way to keep those around in your fridge or freezer. Simple, easy, once again: it is not the end of the world.
- It is not because you are on self-quarantine that you need all perfectly balanced meals. Yes, cook and eat healthy, but more than ever, you need to indulge yourselves every now and then. Yes, I am just an interior designer but since your home became your “everything place”, I declare it is time to try some fun new food!
Keep connected. Keep moving. Keep the fun.
Talking about our “everything place”, how should we stay sane at home? This is the million-dollar question, right? I know it is not easy but there are some little things that can make a big difference:
- Don’t isolate yourself: more than ever, take advantage of technology and catch up with family and friends as much as you can. Actually, this can be a great time to reconnect with people a and if you have a friend that got infected, be there for him/her. Nobody should be let alone.
- Exercise: Jane Fonda was already getting super fit during the 80’s in front of the TV. There is no excuse for you to not do it. It is good for your body and mental health. By the way, we can and should still go outside! Just keep the social distancing.
- Plan your entertainment: there are plenty of options out there. From grandma’s style hobbies like crochet till Netflix and video games. The only thing you should avoid is stay glued to the news looking for hourly updates. That will only make you anxious.
- Share your support. Remember that nothing can make one feel better than making somebody else feel better. So, if you can be of any help to your community, I am sure it will make you feel good. For instance, if you know any seniors in your community, check on them via text or a phone call regularly.
- If in need, seek for support. If you are struggling too much with this new reality, seek for help. There are many therapists that work online, and your mental health should never wait.
As I write these lines, I think of my dear friend Imma in Rome going through this tough quarantine imposed to the entire country. I know that she is calm and healthy, and I can hardly wait to eat the badass paella that only she can make!
In a few words, make sure you and your loved ones stay healthy, wash hands, at a distance with strangers, and try to take it easy and be patient and kind to yourself and your neighbors. All this will also pass and at the end it will be just you, your home and your neighbors so as Ellen DeGeneres always suggests: Let’s all be kind to one another.