by Kylee Harris
Recently, I started to understand that time alone isn’t necessarily always a negative thing, but it can still trigger tough emotions. In the past few years with COVID 19, we’ve had to learn how to cope with isolation and fill our time. I thought it would be useful to jot down some of the things I did after a surgery with a 4 week post op period of bedrest.
Having time alone can be really relaxing. You can use the time to journal, clean, do self care, and catch up on your favorite shows. But what happens when you have done it all? How many ways can you rearrange your room or make a new recipe before you lose that motivation and get lost in your own thoughts and silence? I’ve had 4 weeks to myself, and here are a few things I did to fill the time.
-Grocery shopped for my favorite items (so I could have some comfort food!)
-Cleaned my apartment! (my space is so important to me, and I truly felt I was able to relax more when my apartment was clean)
-New Blanket (I wanted a little treat for myself. That blanket was definitely getting some use in this chilly weather!)
-Candles and ambiance lighting (the vibe of your space is going to contribute to how you’re feeling)
Was mostly used for recovery. Toward the end of the week, I started to feel disconnected from the world and was having a hard time staying at home in bed all day.
-A lot of napping (after surgery, my body needed a lot of rest to heal!)
-Caught up and rewatched some of my favorite shows (Prison Break, Bob’s Burgers, Charmed, and The Office)
-Started writing “movie reviews” for each genre and explored films I never thought I would like
-Lit candles around my apartment (to make the vibe more peaceful)
-Stayed connected with family and friends to get ahead of feeling lonely (I started to do check-ins with a couple friends to stay updated and informed on what I was missing)
I loved having so much time at home. From working a 40 hour week to having endless time in my own space, I was feeling relaxed and cozy although I was having trouble feeling I was missing out on what was going on around me. So instead of texting my friends, I started phoning them to have a more intimate conversation and feel isolated.
-Breathing therapy (for when I started to feel anxious or dysregulated)
-Yoga (I did poses that I was comfortable doing post op. This really helped me stay active both physically and mentally. I made a routine of doing a yoga pose a day!)
-Started crafting. (I ordered a bunch of beads off of amazon and started making bracelets! Having something beautiful that I personally handmade made me feel a sense of accomplishment.)
-Organizing my space (I wasn’t able to be too mobile, but I was able to sit in front of my closet for an hour to organize and donate clothes!)
Here is where the depression really hit. It had been 3 weeks since I had seen my friends, I had family members stop by, but it wasn’t the same as being able to go out on your own terms. I started feeling trapped in my own space. Alone with my thoughts for hours, I started to spiral a bit into my depression. Luckily, I had a lot of support and here is how I got through it!
-Explored podcasts I normally wouldn’t listen to! (After discovering so many films I didn’t think I would be interested in, I started branching out on my podcast selections. This included mindfulness and meditation podcasts to help keep myself grounded!)
-Made a new recipe everyday! (I bookmarked the pages on thrift store cookbooks and online recipes)
-Yoga. A lot of yoga.
-Journaling (I journaled in my notes app everyday whether it was a plan for the day, a to do list, or just how I was feeling. I felt so much better putting my thoughts into the universe, even if they were just for me.
Okay, if last week was that tough, I’m sure I can get through this week. I kept reminding myself how much support I had and how strong I was! Being home alone for so long felt so isolating, and I wasn’t ready for another week of it. I knew I had to keep myself occupied. 7 MORE DAYS I GOT THIS! Here is where it all fell into place, and I was really able to get myself into a routine that worked for me and that I looked forward to everyday. The routine was as follows.
5:30am: LIGHT CANDLES YOGA/STRETCHING
7:00am MAKE COFFEE and WATCH A SHOW OR MOVIE TO REVIEW
9:00 am OUTSIDE WALK (even if it’s just to the mailbox and back, fresh air is great!)
10:00am CRAFTS AND DIY or CLEANING or ONLINE WORK
12:00 pm LUNCH
1:00pm: CONNECT WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY
3:00pm: LIGHT CANDLES AND INCENSE PLAN DINNER WHILE WATCHING A SHOW/MOVIE
5:00pm: START DINNER
6:30pm: READ A CHAPTER OF MY BOOK and PLAN TOMORROW’S AGENDA
8:00pm LIGHTS OUT
While most of us probably won’t be spending a full 4 weeks alone, I hope I was able to provide some ideas on how to fill time alone. Whether you live alone, are quarantining, recently have had surgery, or just need a self care break, these are all things to fill the time with. Isolation can be tough, but hopefully my experience can help someone else figure out how to enrich their alone time, and combat depression.