Fifteen Tips To Get Through Social Distancing

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

I’m back from my hiatus and given the current situation and my newfound endless free time, I’m on a bit of a blogging kick. I’m sure, especially by the time of posting, I don’t really have to tell you all about the Social Distancing situation at hand — it’s probably a bit of old news by now, but personally I’m finding that the reality of it all is really starting to kick in.

I’m not going to get too deep into it all, as I’m sure you’ve all heard it already. All I’m going to say about the virus is that apart from this, I won’t be mentioning it — it’s a bit of a stressful topic for many people, and the whole point of this post is to generate helpful ideas and reduce your worry about the situation. However, the world is coming to a bit of a stand-still, and it can definitely be a difficult and anxiety-inducing situation. However, it’s important that we all do our parts, and for now that means limiting social contact and staying inside for the time being.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m barely into the first few days stuck in my apartment and I can feel myself starting to go a little stir-crazy. All I’ve wanted for the last few months was just the ability to take some time off and catch up on everything in my life, but as soon as it was actually mandated I became a little overwhelmed with anxiety and at first I couldn’t put my finger on why. I’ve come to realize that just because we’re supposed to stay home all day (which really would have sounded so enjoyable back in 2019), doesn’t mean that I, personally, can just kind of ride the wave of it all and just do whatever, whenever. If you’re feeling the same way, I’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you get through this period as easily as possible!

  1. Stick to a routine. It’s so easy just to think of this time as a “mini-vacation” and just wake up and go to sleep whenever your body feels like it. However, I personally found that doing this caused my life to crash pretty quickly into just having no real sleep schedule at all, which was pretty detrimental to my ability to function and my overall mental health. Take a few days to catch up on sleep if you need to, but after that stick to an 8-hour sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It’ll help you keep on track later on once we’ve been at the whole distancing thing for a while. Plus, if you’re someone who struggles with this normally, hopefully you’ll be so used to it by the time this is over that you’ll stick with it in the long run! This also goes for eating meals at a regular time — it’ll help you not lose all sense of time if you’re keeping your days as routine as possible.
  2. Get some fresh air. Make sure you open your windows at least once a day and let the air in your home circulate. Not only will it help move around stagnant air and keep your place from feeling a little gross, but the fresh air will help you feel more alert and a little less claustrophobic during long days inside.
  3. Catch up on everything you need to get done. While it can be easy to view social distancing as an annoyance, it really can be a precious resource for getting on top of your sh*t. Don’t delay it — start now! We have no idea how long this will last, really, but it’ll feel amazing if you come out on the other side completely on top of all your tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while. I’m sure just a few weeks ago you were thinking about how you wished you had some time off to help you get on top of things — so take advantage! This can mean anything, from getting ahead on blog posts, to catching up on schoolwork and work tasks, to home repairs or decorating or anything else you’ve been putting off lately.
  4. Get moving. Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you probably don’t even realize how much movement you’re missing out on right now. Walking to get around isn’t something you’re probably doing for the time being, and if you live in an apartment like I do, there’s not even much space for moving around inside. A whole lot of companies such as Lululemon (as well as many of your local fitness spots) are holding online Instagram live work out sessions that you can partake in from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to fall into the routine of just sitting on the couch or lying in bed, but keeping active will help improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and will help keep your spirits up.
  5. Pick up an old hobby. I’m honestly someone who can binge-watch Netflix for ridiculous periods of time — name any TV show on their site, and I’ve probably seen it. Given the situation, I’ve gotten back into visual art — I was an art student in high school, and I spent just about all my time filling up my sketchbooks. However, with how hectic university was I ended up rarely having time. (Also, I can’t lie, the pressure of having to complete art on a deadline for a grade in first year along with all the other classes I had to complete kind of sucked the fun out of it for me — but that’s kind of just how I am, I can’t turn hobbies into work). I’ve tried a few times to get back into it over the years, but I finally have the time to put real effort into it and I had honestly forgotten how much I loved it. It really helps the time pass when you’re actively doing stuff!
  6. Take time for self-care. I always try to stress how self-care isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. However, time and time again I hear about how people don’t have the time, and don’t realize how important it is to reduce stress levels and take care of your mental well-being. For the foreseeable future, you have all kinds of time to practice self-care. If it’s something you’re not used to, you have plenty of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. Self-care can (and should!) be both practical and enjoyable, so if taking baths or self-indulging isn’t really something you’re interested in, there’s still plenty of other options. Hopefully, if you make a point of it, you’ll get into the habit of taking around half an hour to an hour a day (or a week) to yourself and will be able to add it into your routine going forward. If you need some ideas, you can check out my post on Fall Self-Care Ideas (and don’t worry, I’ll be coming out with a spring edition soon!).
  7. Keep up your hygiene. This one kind of falls into the category of keeping up a routine. Especially if you live alone, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that it’s okay to kind of let things such as showering, brushing your teeth or washing your face slide when you don’t have to go out into the world. However, you should aim to keep your life as normal as possible — it’ll help you FEEL as normal as possible, even though this is a very strange time.
  8. Spring clean. Now is the perfect time to totally Marie-Kondo your life. I’m going to be posting a spring cleaning guide sometime soon, but for right now, just take this time to tidy, organize, clean and sort through your belongings. Regardless of the benefits a good spring-clean can have, just making sure your space is tidy will make it a lot more livable.
  9. Meditate. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being unable to leave my house and having no work or class has sent my anxiety through the roof. Why? I have no idea. Just a few weeks ago the idea of time off would have been heaven, but I guess it’s probably to do with feeling like there’s stuff I’m supposed to be doing and being inside by necessity rather than by choice. I know it sounds a little corny, but meditating has helped to mitigate my anxiety in the past — so I’m trying to make a point to practice it at least once a day. Even if you’re not sure how you feel about meditating or don’t see how it would be beneficial, there’s no harm in giving it a chance!
  10. Generate some Insta content. I mean, why not? If you have time to spare, try out that make up look you’ve been meaning to master or throw on some cute spring clothes you want to show off and take some photos of it! I know for bloggers Instagram is a hugely beneficial platform, but I personally find I never have time to create content to post. Personally, I’m going to take this time to stock up!
  11. Limit how often you check the news. Shout out to my roommate, Beth, for giving me this idea. This one is especially important if you’re already feeling nervous about the situation going on, but it’s a good practice anyway. If you’re stuck inside and feeling bored, it’s tempting to check up on hourly updates about what’s going on in the world. While it’s important to stay updated, consuming every piece of news constantly does a lot more harm than good. At the best, it harms your productivity — and at the worst, just fuels your anxieties (which may about news in parts of the world that don’t really effect you). It’s important to stay educated, but you can accomplish this by checking the news just a few times, if only once a day.
  12. FaceTime family and friends regularly. Social contact is important, especially during such isolating times. Texting is great and all, but the best way to feel connected and socially fulfilled is with FaceTime or a good old-fashioned phone call.
  13. Learn a new skill. Back over the summer when I had more free time, I used Duolingo to help me learn Japanese. I lost track of it as things in my life picked up between work and school, but now’s the perfect tome to pick back up where I left off! Who knows, maybe I’ll have a whole new language under my belt by the time this all blows over. It doesn’t have to be a language — maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new musical instrument, or paint, or sport, or whatever it is you’re feeling.
  14. Take a day off. Again — why not? Don’t feel any pressure to spend every second of this time being productive — not only is that not what life should be about normally, but especially right now. There’s still value to spending time doing nothing. The beauty of productivity in this time is that you can complete tasks stress-free, and it helps you keep your life on track. But apart from whatever your current life demands are (such as homeschooling or #WFH), it isn’t a requirement. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for just taking some time to chill — whether it’s Netflix, scrolling through Insta, or just lying in bed — who cares!
  15. Do whatever makes you stay positive. These are really weird times for all of us. Just try your best to relax and make sure to take care of your mental health — whatever that means for you is whatever you should be doing right now.

I hope you guys are all doing well out there! I know it’s weird and difficult, but do your best to stay inside and minimize contact with others. The more we stick to it now, the sooner this will all blow over and we can all return to our normal lives. Just keep in mind that this “social distancing” isn’t about you — even if you’re absolutely certain you’re going to be fine, it’s about those who may not be. Please try to keep them in mind during this difficult time.

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for my all-time favourite post of the season — my FabFitFun Unboxing! I’m already loving my spring box so much, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! And in the meantime, stay safe, stay indoors and feel free to hit me up for Netflix recommendations (I have plenty!).

Much love,

Meredith

Spend A Day With Me At Angkor Wat!

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Hey friends!

Welcome to the next instalment of my travel series: Angkor Wat, Cambodia! I’m so excited to share this next part of my journey with you guys, I honestly wasn’t too sure what to expect from Cambodia before I arrived, but it was honestly one of my favourite places and incredibly distinct from all the other countries we’ve visited along our journey.

The most interesting part of Cambodia was all the temples, and how they different from Laotian and Thai temples. The temples in Cambodia, rather than intricate paintings and mosaics, had carvings into the rocks that had meanings and stories carved into them.

Ta Keo

Cambodia has huge amounts of temples, both big and small, and in relative stages of so while some are nearly perfectly preserved some are quite interestingly growing back into the surrounding nature. Unlike many of the temples you’ll find in and nearby towns in other South East Asian countries, and the temples that visitors travel to most in Cambodia are out in the jungle. You can choose to go to as many or as few as you’d like, with the most well-known and largest one being of course, Angkor Wat.

I figured this entry would be a good place to share some tips I have for temples (both in Cambodia and elsewhere in South East Asia), as well as what to expect before I go on to cover the day we had exploring these temples!

What You’ll Need

Angkor Wat

All you absolutely need for a day exploring temples is the right supplies, appropriate attire and a good guide.

In terms of the guide, if you ever visit Siem Reap, message me and I’ll have you covered. My friend recommended us the most amazing Tuk Tuk driver named Sorn, who was friendly, knowledgeable, spoke great English and just generally made our whole stay in Siem Reap so much better. He had great recommendations and all kinds of knowledge that made our lives so much easier. So, if you ever get the chance to visit Cambodia, shoot me an email or comment on this post and I can put you in contact with him! 10/10 really made our stay sooooo much better.

Next up: appropriate attire. So, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, when you’re visiting temples you have to show respect with appropriate attire. It’s not optional, but all you have to do is be sure to cover your shoulders and knees and not wear a hat or shoes inside marked areas and you’ll be okay. Some countries have more strict rules about what you can and can’t wear, so this wasn’t bad at all to follow. If you’re planning on walking a lot, running or hiking shoes are also a good idea.

Baphuon

For clothes, while simply wearing leggings and a short sleeve top will be enough to have you covered (literally), there is a reason that every nearby stall sells the classic touristy elephant pants and related temple clothes. These clothes are so beyond comfortable and lightweight, and will help keep you from overheating in the hot weather. I personally opted for a t-shirt and a skirt I bought locally, they both kept me covered and cool, even in the peak heat of the day. Something else to note though is to be careful and look into what’s allowed before you purchase it, however, as Nylah bought a sarong and didn’t realize until we had reached the sacred temple in Angkor Wat that while it covered her knees, it was not appropriate attire.

A Tree Growing Out Of Banteay Kdei

The last thing you’ll need are the right supplies! Based on my own experiences, the absolute necessities are water, snacks, sunscreen, cash, sunglasses, and hair ties. However, hydration salts, cameras, hats, and a change of clothes certainly never hurt. If you have space to bring more stuff, it never hurts to be over prepared!

What To Expect

Well, first and foremost I’d say expect a very long day. Angkor Wat alone takes at least an hour and a half to explore completely at the bare minimum. Not only that, but you have to budget time for any other temples you wish to see, as well as travel time. Realistically, you should dedicate a whole day to temples.

Bapheon

Another thing to prepare for is a lot of walking, but nothing insane. So many people I know who have visited Angkor Wat before have made it seem as is it’s a gruelling and nearly impossible hike, which is far from the truth. Yes, there is a lot of walking — and occasional climbing involved if you want to go up to higher levels of the temples. However, it’s nothing that I feel like isn’t suitable for beginners. It is of course, incredibly hot, and likely pretty crowded during peak tourism seasons, so it’ll be a tiring day no matter what your level of fitness. But no matter what, I promise it is 100% worth it!

My Experience!

Banteay Kdei, First Temple

The best part about going to Angkor Wat and the nearby temples in the summer months is that it is not a popular time for tourists, meaning many of these sites were near-empty. In total, we toured 5 different temples along a route Sorn, our Tuk Tuk driver prepared for us. Before I get into it, I’m going to put a little disclaimer on this: While I tried to keep track of which temples we visited, I’m not 100% sure I have the right list. I’ve been researching to make sure I have it all correct, but if I’ve mixed one up please message me and let me know!

We started with two smaller temples, Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, with a quick stop in at the Ta Keo Temple, before carrying on to two larger temples in Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple and the Baphuon Temple. Finally, after all of this, we headed to Angkor Wat.

Example of Deterioration, Ta Prohm

The first two temples were small and practically empty, which made them incredible to explore. Both of them appeared to not have had any restoration completed such as the others were undergoing, and were slowly deteriorating and becoming part of the jungle surrounding them. At the first temple, Banteay Kdei, Nylah and I were guided in prayer by a local at the temple, who gifted us with good luck bracelets while we explored.

Ta Prohm, Second Temple

The second temple we visited, Ta Prohm, was small and well-known for its unique look that inspired the temples in the Tomb Raider franchise. It was a little larger and more crowded than the first temple, but still relatively small and empty compared to the others and incredibly beautiful. Seeing how this temple had literally grown into the forest was breath-taking and having it be as empty as it was made for a less touristy-feeling experience.

Ta Keo, Third Temple

After that, we stopped in quickly at Ta Keo, which was also quite empty and quite tall, which made for a crazy cool view. I opted to not go all the way to the top as I was under the impression that Angkor Wat was going to be more challenging than it was, but Nylah said the view was spectacular and even from the lower levels it was a nice, quiet overlook over the nearby jungle.

Buddha Head Carving At Bayon, Fourth Temple

From there, we headed over to Angkor Thom. The Bayon Temple was certainly the most busy of the temples we visited, as well as the most tiring. However, it was also one of the most large and interesting, sporting three levels, courtyards, maze-like hallways and of course, the Buddha heads carved into the pillars on the top level of the temple. I’d certainly suggest to pay attention to the signs telling you which direction to head in to make sure you see the whole temple in a timely matter and without getting lost.

After that, we headed to Baphuon. This temple was larger AND empty, allowing us to walk up to the empty higher levels and enjoy the views in peace, with absolutely no one else around.

Bapheon, Fifth Temple

After that, as I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for, we headed off to Angkor Wat. Before we even got to the entrance, you could see how absolutely vast it was. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, and it certainly was massive. It took a while to cross the grounds over the sacred temple, but apart from that and the set of stairs leading up to the temple it wasn’t physically challenging at all. The temple itself was beautiful, and almost empty compared to the massive crowds Angkor Wat draws in peak tourist season. It was so beautiful and just serene.

Carvings At Angkor Wat

After we toured the main temple, we took some time to walk down the hallways, covered in intricate carvings, as well as smaller temples that lined the sides of the walkways. After that, we wandered the grounds and took in the views around us.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who has the chance. The temples of Cambodia are so distinct from other South East Asian temples, and getting to go when it wasn’t peak tourist season made for a much more relaxing, spiritual and enjoyable experience than if it were packed with tourists.

Angkor Wat

And that’s all for Angkor Wat! Stay tuned to hear all about my favourite things to do in Siem Reap later this week! Hope you all are having a fantastic Thursday!

Xo,

Meredith

PS: BONUS CONTENT! Check out these other photos I snapped on my trip! Hope you enjoy them (and the other photos as well!)

More Examples Of Deterioration At Ta Prohm

Bayon