Mōrena apartment dwellers. How’s it going in your oasis of calm two days in to the great Kiwi lockdown? Those four walls that shut the world out are now shutting you….in.

But stay calm, help is at hand. Regard this as a (teeth gritted) opportunity. We can all get in a bit of a rut and now might be the time to change habits or try something new.

Chat time

For example if you’re not that chatty-hours- on-the- phone guy or girl, maybe take a deep breath…make a list and each day phone/Skype one or two people. The more you do it, the easier it will get. And when you’ve got to the end of the list- start from the beginning again.

The bonuses? Personal development – feel the fear and do it moments. Refreshed relationships, maybe an opportunity to get some things off your chest. As well as feeling a bit less isolated, you might make someone else’s day – think parents, grandparents, odd alienating friends and relations.

Jars

You know we’re going to go there – so let’s get it over with – jars. You must have one or two around. So here are a couple of ideas:

1. Every time you wish you could do something, go somewhere, invite people to visit or do (even if you’ve been too shy before), write it on a piece of paper, put it in a jar and when this is OVER…work your way through the jar and be grateful for the small and lovely things in our lives along with some renewed courage.

2. A gratitude jar – do I need to explain this?! Every day, think of one or two things you’re grateful for – I woke up and am breathing , thank God I’ve got a coffee machine – write them down and put them in the jar.

3. Go online with #1 and 2 and share the contents of your jars – or maybe just share with a friend – who knows what kind of magic might happen?

The strangers next door

So there you are in your apartment. The most you know about your fellow cellmates – I mean neighbours – is when they cook something tasty, flush the toilet or their drier sounds like it’s vibrating through the floor late at night. You might be that person who dons headphones and gives a nod in the lift – or you might have a chat with someone who gets off on the fourth floor as you glide up to floor seven. Now you’re in isolation – you don’t know your neighbours or where they have been – who they have had consensual contact or conversations with – and it’s a bit weird.

Slipping a note under the doors of the surrounding apartments is an idea; but now in this strange new world, a vision of paper swarming with viruses and freaking out the neighbours comes to mind. Is there a wall in the hallway somewhere which could be turned into a noticeboard? People could just start sticking up little notices : “Hi, my name is xxx, I’m in apartment #x and here are three things I’m doing to get through this.”

Adriene and Benji

Adriene Mishler from Austin, Texas has been a friend at my place for a few years – I don’t always hang out with her but now seems a good time to renew the relationship. Yoga with Adriene is a free online channel with more than six million subscribers worldwide. Adriene is charming and a bit goofy, but calming – and the yoga is manageable and good! The myriad yoga routines cover everything from (for example) lower/upper back, neck, shoulders; or Balance, Grow, Stress. And there’s Benji- the blue heeler. If you like looking at photos of dogs when you’re feeling stressed or sad – this series is doubly for you. For today – you could do no worse than visit with Adriene and Meditation for Anxiety

The great outdoors

The messaging around how and where we can go outside is still a bit mixed and hazy but it will do your mental health no end of good if you can get out into the fresh air. It seems that you can drive to a park in your neighbourhood to go for a walk; or you can go for a walk outside. Act as though you have the virus, so wash hands before you go out and afterwards – and try using a stick/umbrella, elbow, foot for lift buttons, doors and any surfaces where the virus lurks.

People worse off: really And if none of this helps, there are always people worse off – check this out.

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