The Art of Being Alone: Tips for Being Quarantined

The Art of Being Alone: Tips for Being Quarantined

by Laura Geftman, LCSW

For many years, I was all over the place and posting pictures of my adventures near and far. My social media reflected my insatiable wanderlust and need to try new things. Friends and family would comment from afar and keep in touch while I explored new places and different things.

Nearly two years ago, I stopped posting to my Facebook and Instagram altogether. It wasn’t because I was over Facebook or not into Instagram. It was because my whole life changed…

On April 14, 2018, I was managing a local restaurant when a bartender asked me to grab some additional stock for the bar. I ascended the stairways to find my way to the walk-in cooler. When I got there, another manager was exiting the cooler on a similar mission. I entered the cooler and grabbed arms full of the requested beer and wine. Upon exiting the cooler, I found the door had closed behind me. Instead it was all the way open and leaning against the wall. I wasn’t sure how best to close it with my arms full. So instead of my hand, I used the next best thing- my elbow. I snapped my elbow back and down to swing the door away from the wall and closed. Having never previously closed the door in this manner before, I wasn’t prepared for trajectory of the door. The insulated door was much lighter than you’d expected seeing the width and metal covering. The door swung too fast- way faster than I anticipated. I thought I had clear it, but it turned out I didn’t have time to fully get out of the way of the closing door. The bottom corner of the door hit the back of my heel. 

I’ll spare you the details of the screaming and crying but know that all this is to say, in the past two years I’ve learned a lot about spending a lot more time alone at home. Sure I went to doctors appointments, physical therapy, etc… but the majority of my days and nights I’ve spent in the four walls of a studio apartment.

So needless to say- I’ve got some tips for all those out there you are looking for ways to embrace their quarantine time. Please know these recommendation are not commercial links- I’m just givin’ ya what’s really good. I mean, if Oprah can have favorites, can’t I? Here we go…

  • Keep a schedule– You should set a wake up time and bedtime just like when you were a kid. Sleeping in and going to bed late will only feed your troubles. It’s also important to make time for exercise, fresh air, and fun. Even if you have to set appointment reminders in your phone- do it and keep that schedule! Poketo makes my most favorite, favorite, favorite planners and calendars- check them out!
  • Phone a friend– This tip isn’t just super helpful if you’re playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. I literally had a daily scheduled call with a friend to make sure I was connecting with someone. It’s important to maintain social connection even if it’s over the phone.
 
  • Get crafty– I’m a pretty crafty person but this has allowed me to really get creative. So i’ve always loved knitting but given that I didn’t really need another scarf- I literally knitted, unraveled, and re-knitted the same scarf multiple times. I even learned new stitches to knit on Pinterest. Making a chunk knit blanket was a goal I’ve accomplished with the help of this:

 

  • Learn something new– Let it be known- you can learn anything on YouTube. You might first have to watch a whole bunch of useless video to find the right one but know the right one is out there. Over the past two years, I’ve learned everything from how to build a website to cutting my own hair. So if there’s something you’re curious to know- someone somewhere created a YouTube video to teach you somehow.
 
  • Dance it out– Back before Christina moved to Switzerland, Derek died, and Alex found out about Izzy, Grey’s Anatomy touched the hearts of many watchers. In their twisty-ness, Meredith and Christina found all kinds of ways to manage all they were going thru. Fictional characters- yes, but real copings skills! When faced with pressure, stress or any kind of ugliness, these two used to “dance it out.” Cue the music they never actually put on and watch them jump about until they were smiling again. While you andI will need to actually turn the music on, know that this works. Do some dancing and find your smile. If you need some motivation or a virtual dancing partner, check out these guys…

 

  • Take advantage of free trials– It’s amazing what you can get for free. So many websites and apps offer a free month and sometimes more. My favorite trial was on SkillShare- so much to learn there! 

 

  • Take a bath– No, not a shower. A bath. There’s a huge, huge difference. If you have a CBD bath bomb, candles or epson salt- all the better. Enjoy your time luxuriating in the tub.

 

  • Rearrange the furniture– Haven’t you ever thought your chair would look better over there? It’s time to find out! Move things around and about. You never know how the re-arranging of your stuff might make you happy.
 
  • Take a class– Some classes are so worth paying for. I mean who doesn’t wanna learn about comedy from Steve Martin on Masterclass!? This time can’t all be filled by the Tiger King, ya know?
  • Barter your membership passwords– We all do it. Let’s just admit it. I’ve shared my username and password for Netflix with many friends and family members before they allowed you to. I still do it now with other online services- HBO, Showtime, etc… So hit up some friends and see if they’re willing to exchange access to their paid programs. (I’m in need of Masterclass and Spotify passwords if anyone’s game…?)
 
  • All the exercise challenges– When working with clients managing their addiction, we often advise them to do 30 in 30- that’s 30 meetings in 30 days. So I figure if those in recovery can help themselves in such a challenge, I should be able to institute this kind of programing to my exercise regime, right? As a yogi, I was elated to find that 30 day programs exist on YouTube. Here are a few of my favorites: Steven Bietler’s 30 Days of Taha Yoga, Yoga with Adriene, and of course- Ganja Yoga.
 
  • Spring cleaning– Okay so now you have tons of time to spend in your home. If it doesn’t feel like home, it could be because there’s too much home to your home. So watch some Marie Kondo and get ready to get rid of some stuff. Pick a project a week and don’t start with the biggest one first. Don’t forget to make a donation bag but here are some things you should definitely go through:

           clothing
           pictures
           books
           bathroom products
           kitchenwares
           refrigerator 

 

  • Try a different kinda entertainment– There are so many different form of entertainment these days. If you’re favorite is watching TV or movies, maybe it’s time to listen to a podcast or read a book. Personally I’ve fallback in love with reading again! Oh and Fiona Apple is back! 

 

  • Up your cooking game!– While stuck at home, I decided to try out all the meal subscription boxes. Most of them offer a pretty good discount to get started, and they give you all you need to make all kinds of meals of your choice. There are good one and not as good ones. Generally they can help you eat healthy, well-balanced meals and avoid snacking out of boredom. My favorite- I have a few: Freshly, Blue Apron, and Plated.
  
  • Capsule wardrobe challenge– Okay so you Marie Kondo-ed your closet already, right? Wanna take that one step further? Now go to Pinterest- search capsule wardrobe and BOOM accept your challenge. Don’t get rid of the rest but maybe move it to the other side of the closet or to another closet. See how much of your clothing you really need!

 

  • Try things you haven’t before– Be braver enough to be bad at something new. Yeah that’s right you can be bad at it but if you don’t try something new you might regret not using this time to try. For me, I’ve been trying to meditate. If this appeals to you, check out these links: Headspace or Wim Hof.
 
  • Right it all down – These are unprecedented times. Along with that comes unprecedented thoughts. As we all try to manage our anxiety, it cane hard to find someone to talk to. We are all vacillating between dealing really well and freaking out. Without someone to talk with, it can be hard to keep from freaking out. It really is best to get those thoughts out. So write them down. Yeah I know- ick journaling. But when was the last time you try it? There’s thought it’s best to take pen to paper but if your choose, your can also use your favorite device. Whatever it takes, right it all downed get it all out. 

If you’re interested in journaling your cannabis use for mental health, we’re currently working on a new journal with our friends at Goldleaf. Be sure to drop your email address so we can let you know about *pre-orders* and when they’re available for purchase.

  • Don’t need it, delete it – It’s one thing to clean out your closet, but it’s a whole other thing to deal with all your digital files. They might even pile up more than your laundry. So go through it all and rid yourself of what you don’t need. This should include:
    • email 
    • documents
    • music
    • bookmarks
    • apps
 
  • A breath of fresh air  – Yes, you are supposed to stay home. Depending where you live that means different things about getting some fresh air. It could be that you go in your back yard, open your window or just step outside your apartment building for a few minutes. Don’t put yourself out there too much but make sure you breath in some fresh air some time.

 

  • Don’t forget to take your medication – Living at home day after day, it can become difficult to remember which day is what. That’s a really difficulty when it comes to medicating. If you are supposed to take medication- be sure to maintain a system to ensure that you’re taking your meds with you need to. Pill boxes, reminder alerts, and help from friends can be of great assistance. If cannabis or CBD is your medicine- there’s no better place or time to find your strain, product or dose.
 
  • Start a blog, book or project– How do you think this blog started!? Well if you’ve been around you know it started as my own personal blog. Now it’s quite different as I found there’s a lack of info about cannabis and mental health. If there’s a topic you are passionate about or an experience you want to share with others- now’s the time! Blog about it! Write the book! Put the project together! Do it! Please excuse the shameless self-promotion but read this, too:
  • To-do til done – This is my list but now it’s time to make your own. Use this as inspiration and find all the ways you can use your quarantine time well and not lose your mind while you stay at home. 
 

Take it from someone who knows about staying at home- these tips have helped me embrace spending time in these ways. And really that’s SO much to do! Anything I forgot? Wanna add to the list? Comment below with your own suggestions!

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.

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The Art of Being Alone: Tips for Being Quarantined

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