The Stressed Out’s Guide to Seclusion

It’s a few weeks in. More to go. What might have started out as a sort of glorified stay-cation has now got you wondering how you’ve never murdered these people around you before now. Your husband’s chewing is like nails on a chalkboard. Your wife’s hair all over the place is looking more tempting as a tool to replace your own recent hair loss. And who are these minions running around all over the place yelling your name?

Or maybe you live alone and are now having full blown conversations with the reflection in the stainless-steel fridge, and wondering if your wallpaper just might taste like snozzberries?

Humans are not meant for isolation.

While the introverts may have been rejoicing with the distancing, even an introvert needs community. We are a tribal people.

And we’ve all heard the usual ways to go about managing stress during tough times: meditation, yoga, go for a walk, exercise, get sleep, talk to someone, eat healthy, take time for yourself, blah blah blah. At this point, you’ve tried it all and are hanging on by a thread. Time for a more aggressive approach, and some creativity. These can all be done alone, with friends virtually or as a family.

  1. Learn a new skill—now is the time to pick up a new language, instrument, oil painting, nunchakus, WWF maneuvers, mime or ventriloquism. The world is your oyster—don’t hold back!
  2. Have a pillow fight—make sure everyone agrees on the rules, and never forgo the zipper check—OUCH!
  3. Create an Olympic game course in your backyard: dart throws at water balloons; slackline yoga poses; rhythm ribbon dances—use your imagination.
  4. Punch a pillow or beat a tree with a pool noodle—seriously, it’s ok to take out aggression in a healthy way!
  5. The drive and scream—crank up the music and scream. The windows are closed and no one can hear you. Again, healthy outlets for aggression are ok, and even needed. Don’t hold back.
  6. Start a food fight—every kitchen can be cleaned.
  7. Put on a talent show à la America’s Got Talent (someone has to be Simon Cowell)—if you’re alone, set this up virtually with friends. If you’re home with your family, get everyone involved. Haven’t you always wanted to hear your wife lay it out to Eminem?
  8. Have a bake-off à la Gordon Ramsay—this might lead to a food fight, but what’s a little icing on the walls when everyone’s having a good time?
  9. Set up pillow forts and have a silly string battle—game on!
  10. Install an art gallery—everyone must create a work of art. Put on fancy clothes and walk around peering at each piece for the final viewing.
  11. Crank the tunes; turn on the disco ball and start a dance party. Dancing is amazing for stress relief.

Most importantly, keep it light, as we’ve tried to do here. The world is a stressful, crazy place right now, and there is a lot going on that you can’t change. In the midst of the challenges and the worries, don’t lose sight of what’s important. It’s not worth it. We are all in this together. Some time laughing with loved ones, whether near or far, can go a long way toward some serious stress relief, and bringing a little levity into a challenging situation.