• Sit in a different chair or a different place on the sofa every few days – I find this helps a lot because your view of the room changes slightly
• Have someone shuffle furniture about or rearrange shelves so the room can look different. This helps a lot! It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, just switching sofa cushions or throws every now and then can help
• Get fresh air every day if you’re well enough to get it. Even in the rain, stand or sit in the garden with an umbrella in hand if you have to. When I can, I do a mini Spring Watch to see what’s changed day-to-day
• Look out of the window! Simple and effective. I have bird feeders strategically placed so I can see them from wherever I’m sitting
• Routine – Unless it’s a poorly day, try to have a set time when you want to be out of bed by. Do the same with having a time to be dressed by, if it’s a day when you’re well enough. Same with bedtimes. Have a rough time you’d like to be in bed by, even though you might not have much to do the next day. I try to be out of bed by 10am, dressed by 12pm, eat lunch before 2:30pm, be in bed by 10pm…
• Get dressed properly and avoid loungewear style clothes as much as possible. I discovered long ago that there’s little point in saving things ‘For Best’
• Have ‘Days Off’. Allow yourself a day a week where you don’t have to stick to the routine if you don’t feel like it. For me, that’s Wednesdays. Stay in your pyjamas under a blanket on the sofa if you want to
• Dramatically limit social media time. Try not to hop on and off all day, on repeat. Have chunks during the day where you put your tablet/laptop down and don’t use it again until a set time. I have no social media apps on my phone and this helps a lot, but I have the privilege of having a tablet too
• Style your hair as you normally would. Apply a bit of make-up just for you, if that’s what you’d usually do when getting out and about
• Have set “Telly Time” and try not to have it on in the background of other activities. But don’t beat yourself up of some days you’re not up to doing much else but watch TV
• Sit at the table for lunch
• Plan for the next day, and the days ahead – simple things like which bubble bath might you use? Yes , really! What crafty thing could you do? Check the weather – could it be a garden day? Could you go for a walk tomorrow? Could you write some emails? Make a photo card online for a friend? Thinking ahead to all the days you may be in the house will feel overwhelming. Planning just a few days at a time is enough
• Let yourself be grumpy and sad and frustrated if that’s what you feel, but remember you are doing this for The Greater Good; a service to humanity as it were
• If it’s hard to see a blank calendar with no plans written on it, add in the names of people you will call on any given day
• Keep a gratitude journal – simply jot 3 good things down at the end of each day
• Video call. Have one planned in every day! A lot of people will be free at the moment. Or use the voice messaging features of your phone for texts and WhatsApps. Some days you may well not use your voice or hear another person’s voice without this kind of technology. It’s an amazing tool to break the feeling of isolation. Use it!
• And ultimately, remind yourself that this is temporary. Not to tug on your heart strings too much, but my M.E. friends and I don’t have the comfort of knowing this will be over within, what will hopefully turn out to be, a few short months.
I’m thinking of you all; those very new to this kind of restricted life and those who’ve endured years and years of it already.
Love from Anna xxx