How to Stay Sane while You’re “Safer at Home”

Posted in #AgeWell

Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center

How to Mark TimeIsolation can be very depressing, as those who are homebound know. Now nearly all of us are homebound due to the global health crisis, and it is hard. As members of the Pasadena Senior Center, we enjoy activities, socializing with friends, and learning new things. As the Events Director at PSC, my job is to throw parties, host concerts and lectures, run the Pasadena Senior Games, and program all sorts of interactive social, cultural, and educational events. None of that allowed in person now!

I am 56, so I am not in the high-risk category, but I live with my dad who turned 92 in January. He’s hale and hearty (and yes, still drives at night!), but I can’t risk bringing Covid19 home to him, so I’m working from home and practicing social isolation.

As I adjust to this new condition (no parties?! no ballroom dancing?! no high-fives at the Coffee Bar?!), I don’t want to go stir crazy, get too depressed, or annoy Dad so much he throws me out. I’m trying to be creative about coping. Here are 3 things I’m doing to try stay sane for the next 30 days.

1. Know which day it is. In 2009 I went to Turkey, visiting Istanbul and traveling the coast from Troy to Ephesus. At our hotel in Izmir, the elevators had rugs with the day of the week on them. When you got in the elevator and looked down at your feet (which is what we all do in elevators), you saw “Sunday” or “Monday.” Since I don’t have days-of-the-week rugs at home, I’ve decided to write the day and date on the chalkboard in the hallway by our phone. It is surprisingly comforting to me to pass by and know it is “Thursday, March 26.”

2. Use something you love to count the days. I’m a jewelry nut and have a huge collection of earrings. I’ve put 30 of them on a special earring rack and am going to wear a different pair each day. With luck, by the time I’ve worked through my rack of earrings, our informal lockdown will be (nearly) over. What do you have 30 of? If not earrings, maybe scarves? Shoes? Socks? Ties? Coffee cups? Salt & Pepper shakers (yes, I know people who collect those!)? Or maybe your pet has 30 different outfits. Be creative.

3. Dress for Dinner. Friends who have always worked from home and savvy retirees know the truth of this: put on “real” clothes at least once a day (ok, you can have weekends off to stay in your pajamas for 48 hours). I’ve always enjoyed dressing up, and so does Dad, but it does take something extra to go to that trouble when you aren’t going anywhere and aren’t having guests. However, it’s not only good for morale, but it’s also a great excuse to reacquaint yourself with your favorite special things.

Good luck everyone! Keep me posted on how you are doing, AnnieL@PasadenaSeniorCenter.org. I’ll be online – if I’m not dressing for dinner.