Snow days. Rainy days. Days so cold and blustery the only thing to do is light a fire, wrap yourself in a blanket and read a book. Those once-in-awhile breaks are welcome and peaceful.

Being locked down in one’s house however, with the kids and your significant other while one or both of you are trying to work and tying not to worry if at the end of this you’ll have work, is another thing entirely. It’ll make you antsy, short-tempered, snappish, and worse.

Being stuck inside the house can quickly become being stuck inside our heads, and we all know what happens then. Our anxiety runs amok, conjuring up the worst scenario we can imagine and in no time, we’re watching our terrifying fate play out on the big screen in our skull. Even worse? There’s no movie popcorn and my part’s not played by Reese Witherspoon.

Don’t be this person. It’s unhealthy, unfair, and downright damaging to you, and to all those you’re quarantined with.

Instead, be the person you’d want to be quarantined with. The person who steers clear of the rabbit hole and keeps others from falling into the abyss, too. Here’s how.

You are what you think

“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes playing a poor hand well.” Jack London

Right now, it seems we’ve all been dealt a poor hand, but it’s our call as to how we think about the cards we’re clutching and how we play them. If we choose to think of them as lousy, well, what can you do with lousy cards? Nothing. Might as well fold. But if instead we think of them as interesting options to be explored, we become energized, excited. Our creative juices start flowing, our endorphins start firing. Suddenly we’ve taken back some control and now we’re in the driver’s seat. And who doesn’t love being in the driver’s seat, calling the shots, and maybe getting to cast Reese Witherspoon in one’s blockbuster biopic?

Find the humor

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.”  Erma Bombeck 

You’re out of printer paper, the lyrics to Let it Go are burned into your brain, and you’re starting to appreciate why some animals eat their young when it happens. You discover your eight-year-old using your laptop. You race toward her, but it’s too late. She’s already hit send and told your staff (and your boss), “Mom’s in the bathroom. She might be awhile. This is Makenna.”

You’ve got to laugh. After you’re done crying, of course.

Practice gratitude

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Every time you wash your hands, scrub down a counter top, or step outside for a moment to get some air and/or bring in the groceries some brave soul delivered, think of three things you’re grateful for. The brave soul who brought the food; your health; your kids’ health; your wine stash tucked in the…not telling; your stockpile of black yoga pants; Facetime and Zoom so you can see your folks and they can see your kids because, let’s face it, the little buggers responsible for Let it Go being burned into your brain and the people you work with being concerned you’re constipated, are all they care about. And that’s another thing to be grateful for.

Yes, we’re living in uncertain times, but aren’t we always? There’s never been a time when we’ve been in complete control of our circumstances, but we have always been and always will be in control of how we respond to them.

So, respond like the person you’d want to be quarantined with would respond.

Laugh at every possible opportunity. Be grateful for every single solitary good thing in your life. And steer clear of the rabbit hole. Last I checked, there was still no popcorn and Reese Witherspoon still wouldn’t play me.