Guest post by Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life
Most of us have probably wondered during the last few months if perhaps we’re living in a science fiction movie. You ever get that feeling? Well, the bizarre truth is that this is, in fact, your real life right now. Sorry. However, the world of science fiction actually has a lot to offer us in the way of advice for these strange times. The sci-fi series “Stranger Things” is a perfect playbook for a time in life when you’re facing a mysterious, unpredictable foe in a half-familiar, altered environment. We’re already outside of our normal, so what the heck? Here are eight lessons you can learn from “Stranger Things” to help you survive life in quarantine.
Don’t Go It Alone
Those kids in 1980s Hawkins, Indiana, knew the importance of banding together. Even though you may not be able to physically hang out with your friends and family the same way right now, that does not mean you’re alone.
Now is the most important time to tap into your support system — and give a little thanks for all the technology that still allows us to stay in touch! Not only does it bolster your personal resources to keep connected with your people, but it also gives you a boost psychologically when you’re reminded that you’re not alone on this ride. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system when you need support.
Tap Into Intuition
We’re all hearing a lot of conflicting information right now. It can be mind-boggling to try to keep up with all the new rules and recommendations, and to figure out a way to make those apply to your work, home, and family situation — only to be rolled over by the next revelation that changes everything. And yes, you absolutely need to stay informed on what the experts prescribe for keeping yourself and others healthy.
But at the end of the day, your intuition also plays an important part in your health and success. How much sanitising is enough? Where does it end? And when does it become an unjustified strain on your mental health? Just like Joyce Byers had to rely on her motherly instincts to communicate with Will through those Christmas lights, you’ll benefit from listening to your intuition when it comes down to day-to-day decisions.
Draw a Picture
Will’s drawings turned out to be a critical clue to unraveling some mysteries for Sheriff Hopper and the crew — and it can be critical for saving you, too. During this strange time in your life, do not underestimate how therapeutic art and creativity can be. When you get to that point where you feel like you just can’t process everything that’s going on, try unplugging from the world and focusing instead on an art project. Creative outlets are a great way to relieve stress, and you just might surprise yourself with an amazing creation.
Play a Game
“Stranger Things” was set in pre-internet times, so Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will still knew how to really get into old-school games like Dungeons and Dragons. Right now, with so much time on your hands, this is a great time to revisit some old games of your childhood — and maybe even introduce them to someone else.
Board games, puzzles, and physical games activate an entirely different part of your brain than video games do. This activation is a great way to relieve stress and forget about what’s going on for a few hours. If you don’t have someone to play with, break out some solo games like a Rubik’s Cube or even a fidget spinner. Any low-stakes recreation can help when you’re in a high-stress environment.
Hop on a Bike
Can’t you just imagine the calorie burn the Losers’ Club felt from biking all over Hawkins while alternately chasing and running from the Demogorgon? There’s a big list of things you can’t do right now; however, exercise is not on that list. And exercise is even more important now because it can help you manage stress and anxiety — as well as offset all that quarantine snacking we’ve all been doing.
Learn a New Skill
When Eleven escaped from the lab and suddenly emerged into regular society, she had to learn a few things to navigate her new situation. (And then, eventually, some of the things she learned became pretty fun.) While you may feel equally disoriented right now, you might also find that this is an equally perfect time to learn a new skill.
Have you always wanted to learn to drive a stick shift, paint a still life, ride a skateboard, do yoga? It doesn’t matter how weird or random your goal, or whether it helps your current situation. Just spend some time pursuing a new skill. It’ll get your mind off your stress, help pass the time, create some new neural pathways, and add a shiny new item to your “I got this” list. Plus, on the other side, you’ll come out a more knowledgeable and capable person.
Pull Off Some Home Improvements
We all know the show was set in the 80s, but … how many of us cringed every time we saw the janky panelling and textured carpet in Will’s house? Yeesh. Nothing inspires home improvement like the sight of ancient faux-wood paneling!
Maybe you don’t have as far to go with your own space, but you do have some time right now to take on those home improvement and decluttering projects you’ve been putting off for months, or years. So get to it! Everybody’s doing it.
Depending on your space and hoarding tendencies, you could probably get away with a trip to storage to eliminate just the clutter alone. But if you also want to tear out fixtures like panelling, carpet, or even walls, you’ll definitely need a dumpster. Once you’ve done the cleanout and made the renos, you’ll be loving the newer, cleaner look of an updated, simplified house. Don’t wait for an unearthly tragedy to streamline and declutter your life and your space.
Watch Your Temper
It didn’t take viewers long to realize that Sheriff Hopper had some anger issues. You never knew when he was going to lose it. It was apparent, though, that this tendency rarely worked to his advantage. His anger only created more damage and made people run away, often into more dangerous circumstances.
In our real-life situation, it’s also obvious that everyone is feeling pretty edgy these days. From the folks in the grocery line to your next-door neighbour, worried people are getting set off more easily than usual. So it’s very important right now to watch your own edginess and make sure you’re not escalating problems when they arise.
And take heart! Eventually, the monster will be vanquished somehow, then we can all just get ready for the dance — the dance of life, that is! Yes, life eventually will get back to normal, or some version thereof, and if you follow these lessons from “Stranger Things,” you can weather this monstrous situation and come out on the other side a better, wiser person.