In my comprehensive guide to surviving at home during the COVID-19 crisis, you’ll find a wealth of advice to help you cope with what is a stressful situation for all of us. I think it’s fair to say that never before have so many of us been tested – and, of course, some more than others. I am thinking of our brilliant key workers who are keeping the country running – whether working on the NHS frontlines, delivering goods and services, manning our shops and ensuring that vital council services such as refuse and recycling collections still go on. A huge, heartfelt thanks is due to them. For the rest of us, languishing at home during the lockdown, the following tips may lighten the load a little.
How to reduce stress while home alone
When you are spending a lot of time at home alone, whether in self-isolation or because you are ill, it can be really easy to get stressed out. Right now, the pandemic around the world is creating enough stress on its own, but it gets worse when you have to be quarantined alone.
If you are experiencing signs of stress like constant worry and panic, problems sleeping, unusual eating habits, and increased use of alcohol or drugs, then the following tips can be very useful for you.
Limit how often you watch the news
It can be hard to walk away, but if you are currently staying home because of the Coronavirus pandemic, you really need to be careful with how much time you are devoting to updates. While you don’t want to unplug completely, try to limit how often you watch the news. Try getting your updates just once a day – they repeat a lot of information, so that is really all you need. Choose just one way to get your news, and leave it at that.
Have designated “No Social Media” times
When you are spending a lot of time alone, social media can seem like a good way to keep up with your friends and family. While it definitely helps, you might notice that absorbing too much of it is hurting your mental health. If you find that you feel fine before logging on, but find yourself in a bad, irritable, sad, or upset mood after checking Facebook or Twitter, it’s time to limit your time on social media.
A better strategy is to have blocks of time where you don’t use social media at all. The length of time depends on your routine but try for blocks of 1-2 hours at a time.
Take care of your mental health
To reduce stress while you are spending a lot of time home alone, you want to focus on your mental health. This is what is going to help you de-stress. Sometimes, because it actually reduces stress and anxiety. In other ways, it is more about distracting your mind so that you can focus on other things.
For example, if you need fresh air, head outside to go for a walk. Keep your distance from others if you are social distancing (at LEAST 2m or 6 ft 6″), but just getting outside in the fresh air and getting some exercise is amazing for your emotional health. A great alternative to braving the great outdoors if you don’t feel ready for it, is to invest in some exercise equipment to give your body a good workout, perhaps an exercise bike or an elliptical trainer. Some other ideas include reading, doing meditation, and participating in baking or making crafts.
Take care of your physical health
In addition to your mental health, you can reduce stress by taking care of your body as well. This includes getting more exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and drinking water. But keep in mind that eating healthy doesn’t mean being on a restrictive diet or never having treats. Don’t burden your mind right now with dieting or weight loss. Just try to balance your meals and snacks with something healthy that also includes some indulgent treats.
Socialize from a distance
Even when you need to keep your physical distance from others, you can still socialize! Connect with friends or loved ones on Zoom or FaceTime, text or call them, or just talk online when you get the chance.
At-home self-care options
When you are self-isolated or quarantined at home, it is easy to just sit in front of the TV or Netflix all day, or constantly check the news and social media for updates, but this is only going to make your stress worse. Instead, you should be focusing on adding more self-care into your routine.
Take social media and news breaks
As above, the first way you can practice self-care is by giving yourself breaks from both the news and social media. It is a lot of information, debates, and numbers to absorb constantly. You should not be checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the news online and on your TV all day long. This is going to lead to stress, panic, and anxiety.
If you feel overwhelmed by everything going on, give yourself breaks away from your phone and computer, or at least log out of social media and watch anything but the news.
Find fun activities to move your body
Exercise doesn’t have to feel like work. During this time of being home, don’t make exercise out to be punishment for eating extra cookies or some kind of challenge to change your body. Instead, focus on making it fun and healthy for you and your family. If you have kids at home, get them involved. Do soothing exercises that are good for self-care, like yoga or stretching, go for walks, and try new workouts at home.
Add in creative activities during your day
Self-care also means doing something just for you that makes you happy. If you are a creative person, this might mean arts or crafts. Maybe you haven’t used for your crafts in a while, or you have been wanting to use those watercolours in your room, but haven’t had the free time. Now is the time to take advantage of being home and really let your creative sparks fly.
Try pampering at home
The salons and day spas are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself! This is a common form of self-care and one you shouldn’t underestimate. IT can feel amazing to paint your nails, use new skincare products, take a hot bath, or put on a face mask. It is simple inexpensive, and something to do for yourself while at home.
Practice meditation or mindfulness
Lastly, relax your mind and body with meditation or mindfulness. With meditation, you can practice breathing exercises that let you clear your mind and focus on positive energy. If you prefer mindfulness, you will appreciate what is in this moment, without worrying about the past or stressing about the future.
Dealing with isolation when you live alone
Isolation at home when you live alone can be a lot harder than when you have family or roommates to bond with. This time when you are spent completely isolated from other people might cause panic, stress, worsened anxiety, and a disconnect from society in general. Here are some ways to cope.
Add self-care to your daily routine
You probably already know that having a routine is going to help alone if you are in quarantine or self-isolating, especially if you are living alone. But one thing that helps, even more, is when you add some self-care to your routine. If you are working from home, you need breaks every day where you focus on your own needs. One day, this might mean going for a walk or doing an indoor workout. Other days, you might want to read for fun or take a bath. What it is doesn’t matter, as long as it makes you feel better, happier, and more relaxed.
Socialize online or through video chats
Remember that you are physical distancing, not social distancing. You should still connect with others, get and give support, and keep socializing as much as you can. This might mean talking to your friends through social media, texting or calling your loved ones, or even using the various video conferencing programs out there. It can make you feel connected, even though you are at home alone.
Learn something new
Make a list of anything you have been wanting to learn, but haven’t dedicated the time because you were too busy with other things. This might be a foreign language or sign language, a new skill, playing an instrument, or perfecting a handstand. Now is the time to practice and learn something new! You are at home alone with all this free time, so why not take full advantage?
Take time to journal and self-reflect
Journaling is beneficial throughout the year no matter what you’re doing but can be even more therapeutic while in quarantine or if you are alone at home for any other reason. Your journal allows you to self-reflect, explore how you are feeling, discover ways to improve your life right now, set goals, and find clarity. Try to dedicate at least a minutes every day to write in your journal. You can use journaling prompts, write about a specific topic, or just write about whatever comes to your mind.
Healthy comfort food options
Are you looking to soothe your loneliness or stress during isolation with some comfort food? If so, you aren’t alone! During this time, people are indulging in their favourite classics, but remember comfort food means something different for everyone. Some people want the recipes they enjoyed as children, others look for specific ingredients in their comfort food.
Either way, it’s not always the healthiest food, so we put together some ways to make it a bit healthier for you and your family.
What does healthy mean to you?
The first thing you should do is consider what “healthy” means to you during this time. It is an important detail because they will determine what kind of swaps or comfort foods you want to choose from. Maybe healthy means adding in more fruits and veggies, enjoying whole grains instead of processed grains, cooking more from scratch, or more specific options like low-carb or low-fat. Once you know this, you can work on finding the best healthy comfort foods for your family.
Find healthy swaps for your favourites
Before finding healthy swaps, make a list of all your favourite comfort foods. What sounds good right now? Maybe it’s meatloaf, grilled cheese and tomato soup, brownies, or biscuits and gravy. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it brings you joy and comfort. Once you have your list, you can start looking for simple swaps to make it a little healthier.
For example, you might add veggies inside your grilled cheese sandwich to increase the nutritional content, or maybe you make your favourite brownies with shredded courgettes and walnuts inside instead of just plain chocolate. You might try a healthier pizza crust by using almond flour or use ground turkey for your meatloaf. There are tons of swaps you can make that are super easy to do.
Add healthy elements to your comfort dishes
Instead of trying to take things away from your comfort dishes, focus instead on what you add in. You don’t have to take the shredded cheese and sour cream from your tacos, but what if you added shredded lettuce to them, and then have a side salad or other vegetable side dish? You are still enjoying your favourite tacos, but also having a lot more nutrition in your meal.
Make your food from scratch
A super-easy way to increase the health of your meals and snacks is to cook more from scratch. It is so easy to make mashed potatoes from actual potatoes – you don’t need the frozen or boxed variety! They will be healthier, whole food, and taste so much better.
Healthy groceries to buy while self-isolating
In the middle of a quarantine, there are a lot of factors that can influence what is or isn’t available to you and other people who are trying to keep themselves free of infection. For a lot of people facing those sorts of changes for the first time, choices can be tough, and options will seem to be in short supply. In order to give you some help, this following article has been written to give you some solid advice on healthy groceries to buy while self- isolating.
The first category of your foods is perishable foods. These are foods like dairy, eggs, meat, and produce that have a shorter shelf life. While you might not turn to them quite as much as you would without self-isolating, they are still important for a healthy diet at this time.
The good news here is that meat and fish freeze really well. Store all your chicken, meat, and seafood in the freezer, and write the date on the package. Cheese can also freeze really well, so that is another great option to help it last longer. Keep your bread and tortillas in the refrigerator as it will lengthen the shelf life.
Some vegetables will keep longer than others. Celery will last longer than lettuce in most cases, so it’s all about what you want to eat. Just be sure that you include as many healthy options as you can for this period. Some items can also be frozen like jalapenos, while others will be ruined like oranges. Turn to frozen produce whenever it is available.
Non-perishable or dry
Naturally, the majority of the foods you will buy during this time are going to be your non-perishable foods. Think about foods like pasta, rice, quinoa, canned beans, canned soups, and other canned goods. While these also have an expiration date, they can be left out in your pantry for a lot longer than what goes in your refrigerator.
The problem is that with food shortages, they are also the first foods to run out. You might need to get creative or buy non-perishables you aren’t super familiar with. For example, canned beans tend to go first, but you can get big bags of beans that you would soak and rinse before using. It is one extra step, but one that can save you some money and help you get the nutrients you need for your meals.
If you can get your hands on rice and pastas, definitely do. These last a long time, are very filling, and easy to turn into healthy meals for your family.
Toiletry, hygiene products and miscellaneous
Be sure to pick up some versatile cleaning and hygiene products. If you let your space get dirty, it could become a health hazard. Make sure to get the largest, safest cleaning available. If this presents an issue, then look up recipes for things that can be made simply online. Batteries, toilet paper, and every sort of feminine hygiene product should be picked up at this time as well. Being well prepared can reduce stress by massive amounts.
Remember not to buy more than your family needs! Everyone is in need of these items, so you want to be courteous to others in your community.
How can you avoid stress eating?
When you are spending more time at home, it is easier to turn to food when you feel stressed or anxious. This is a normal stress response, and not inherently bad, though you might not want to only use food as a way to cope. Here are some tips for reducing how much you stress or emotionally eat.
Know your stress triggers
To avoid stress eating, it helps a lot to first be aware of what causes you stress in the first place. For many people, it isn’t just a general feeling of stress, but specific things that can trigger it. This might be reading the same sad reports on the news, going on social media, talking to certain people, or even something like not getting enough sunshine or having a different routine. Start making note of how you feel, what worsens your stress or anxiety, and when you tend to emotionally eat.
Get into a mindful state
Being more mindful is a wonderful way to start reducing how often you turn to food because of stress, and not physical hunger. When you start to feel stressed, take a moment to just take some deep breaths, relax, and sit with your feelings for a few minutes. This doesn’t mean you are going to deprive yourself and not eat, but first understand if you are hungry, or your brain is just reacting to the stress.
People tend to stress eat because it feels like a temporary fix, a way to have some control over how you feel. But if you can just sit with those feelings and slow down a bit, you might find you don’t need the food until you are actually physically hungry.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry
If you are going without meals or snacks for several hours at a time, you are naturally going to turn to food first to deal with stress, anxiety, or other uncomfortable emotions. You have gotten yourself so hungry that you are now ravenous. Not only will you be more likely to turn to food to deal with stress, but likely not the healthiest option. At this point, your body wants the quickest and most convenient option, so maybe you choose a bag of chips and a cookie instead of cooking something more nutritious.
Emotional vs physical hunger
Lastly, learn the difference between emotional and physical hunger. This will help tremendously to figure out if you’re actually hungry, or your brain just wants food. Here are a few ways to tell the difference:
Is your hunger coming on slowly or suddenly? Physical hunger tends to come on gradually, while emotional hunger will be urgent and sudden. One minute you’re fine, the next you feel like you’re starving.
Do you feel satisfied? If after a meal or snack, you feel full or satisfied, it was physical hunger. If you still feel “starving”, it was probably emotional hunger.
Can you eat anything? If you feel fine eating anything, it is more like physical hunger. But if you only want specific things, it might just be emotional hunger.
How to avoid unnecessary snacking at home
One of the biggest challenges people have been facing with being home all day for many weeks in a row is that they tend to go through their snacks quickly. Not only is this going to be hard on your figure, but it might make you feel sluggish, and also cost you more money overall on your food budget. Here are a few tips that can help you control some of the extra snacking you have been doing.
Keep snacks out of sight
This old rule is great for so many reasons. When you see something right in front of you and are constantly reminded it is there, your brain tends to want it whether your stomach is hungry or not. Instead of having extra temptations you don’t need, keep your snacks in the cabinet, fridge, or a snack drawer. When you are hungry, you will remember they are there, but won’t grab a cookie or handful of chips every time you go to the kitchen just because you see them sitting there on the counter.
Have designated snack windows during the day
It can also help to stick to some kind of schedule or routine, not just with your activities, but meal and snack times. Think about what your routine was like before. You likely had 3 meals a day around the same time, with a couple of snacks in the morning or afternoon. You can still do this while at home! Choose a schedule that works for you, and try not to eat any snacks outside of the designated snack window. It will make you think twice when you go for an extra granola bar when you know your snack time is coming up in an hour or so.
Stay busy and distracted
A lot of times, snacking while at home isn’t from hunger or even cravings, but from boredom. The best way to combat this is by staying busy. Find a new hobby, learn a language or new skill, play with your dogs or kids or do a puzzle. Try to find more activities that keep you occupied during the day.
Know when you tend to snack
Lastly, be aware of your own triggers or when you tend to go for snacks. Maybe this is when you get bored, or when you are procrastinating from doing chores. You might eat snacks just because you see them there, or because someone else in the house is eating. For other people, it is more likely after getting stressed by the news or to deal with difficult emotions.
None of these is a bad thing, but the more aware you are, the more you can prepare for it.
How to Ease Panic During Isolation
When you are isolating or in quarantine, it is really easy to feel stress and panic. You might notice that it gets worse over time, the longer you spend alone or without your normal socializing. If you are feeling like your panic is getting worse, here are some tips that can help.
Get information from trusted sources only
Stop getting your news and information from social media. You need to look at trusted sources only. Not only will these reduce how often you are absorbing the news, but it allows you to get only the facts, without all the opinions and commentary. This can be reassuring as you don’t need to know people’s take on what “might” happen unless it is based on facts.
Some reputable sources included the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Set up a normal routine
Something you will hear about over and over again when it comes to isolation or quarantine, no matter why you have to isolate, is to have a normal routine. When you find yourself spending long periods of time at home, the panic sets in when things are off. If you feel like you have to suddenly switch to a brand new schedule, and nothing feels familiar.
To combat this, try to create a routine that becomes a new temporary normal. If you can include some elements similar to what your routine was prior to isolation, that will help tremendously. For example, if when you were working outside the home, you always ate lunch at 1 pm, try to do the same thing now. It will feel more familiar, and can often ease a little panic.
Focus on what you can control
You can’t do anything about what is happening in the world right now, except keep yourself and your family safe. Instead of worrying about what you have no control over, just focus on what you CAN control. This might mean setting up a schedule to do homework with your kids, getting regular exercise, cooking meals at home, reading or doing other self-care, washing your hands, and so much more. These are things that are good for your mental and physical health, and that you have full control over.
Work with a mental health professional
If you have severe anxiety that is leading to panic, then you might need to talk with a mental health professional. There are many therapists who work remotely that you can talk to on the phone or online if you are not able to leave your home and visit their office.
How to focus on your mental and physical health (when you’re home)
Whether you are quarantined and on self-isolation or just spending more time at home, you need to focus on both your mental and physical health. They are both vital to keeping your sanity and focusing on general wellness.
Take it easy and give yourself a break
During this time, try not to stress about being perfect and doing everything right. Nobody can “win” at being home and being productive. Whether you are spending more time at home because of an illness, virus, or other reason for your isolation, putting too many expectations on yourself is going to make your stress and panic worse. This will severely affect your mental health.
Give yourself a break and remember you are trying your best. Set small goals that can be achieved easily, but be open and flexible for things to change.
Know what you need right now
What are your biggest needs right now? Take a few minutes to consider what you need the most, both for your mental and physical health. Using a journal is a great way to do this. Write down anything you think would improve your life while at home, or would make it easier.
This might mean having a schedule or routine, talking to friends online or on the phone, finding a therapist who you can work with remotely, getting in a little exercise or getting more fresh air. The sooner you understand what you need the most, the faster you can switch up your schedule to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Get your body moving
While at home, try to find ways to get exercise and move your body. This can be both exercises inside and outside your home. If you are on strict quarantine and can’t go outside, then find online workouts you can do. There is a lot that can be done even without equipment, like stretching, yoga, Pilates, and bodyweight workouts.
If you can go outside, go for a walk, walk the dogs, do some gardening or home improvements, or take a family stroll every evening.
Combine treats with nutrition
While nutrition is very important for your physical health, restricting yourself and trying to be on a “diet” while in isolation is not going to do your mental health any favours. An easy method is to have a tread for every nutritional thing you eat. If you are going to have a piece of fruit as a snack, maybe add a few pieces of dark chocolate. Have dessert after your healthy dinner, or enjoy popcorn while watching a movie after dinner.
How to get more exercise at home
Are you spending more time at home than you normally do? Maybe you are in isolation right now, or you can’t leave for a while for other reasons. This is when you need to try a little harder to get exercise without being able to just be active in your community or go to the gym.
Know how active you are
To start with, it helps to be more aware of how active you are. It is really easy to either under or overestimate your activity level, which might keep you from adding exercises as needed. If it is possible, get an activity tracker like a Fitbit or Apple watch. These can be worn all day and will show you the number of steps you take, how many calories you burn, and the general activity level. You will know if you should be trying a little harder, or if it is okay to take it easy.
Movement while doing other things
In addition to your workouts, you can also increase your activity every day simply by combining movements with other things. For example, if you are brushing your teeth, you are usually just standing there. You can be squatting or walking in place during this time, and it won’t affect your teeth brushing.
Some other options include walking back and forth or doing lunges while on the phone, standing or walking while playing fetch with your dogs instead of sitting, or doing some movement in the kitchen while your food is cooking.
More chores mean more movement
Another great way to get more exercise at home is by choosing chores around the house that get your body moving. Now is a great time to clean out your closet, which can actually burn quite a few calories and work up a sweat. Maybe you want to clean out the garage or the refrigerator, organize your cabinets, do some deep cleaning, or just more physical chores in general.
Sneak in 5-10 minutes in the morning and evening
When you start and finish your day, sneak in about 5-10 minutes of extra exercise. Something gentle that is easy to do and doesn’t require equipment or turning on your computer. Maybe this is a gentle stretch in the morning, and some nighttime yoga, squats or lunges, walking for a few minutes or doing something active with your kids.
Isolation is the time for journaling
As people spend more time in isolation or while quarantined, it is the ideal time to self-reflect with things like a journal. Journaling might have been something you always thought of doing but never had the time or motivation, so why not take advantage and start your journal right now?
You have more time to yourself
When you are in isolation or having to spend more time at home, you probably have more time to yourself than you typically would. Maybe you work outside the home, so during this time, you find that you have more space to fill up with other things. Even if you don’t live alone, you probably have periods of time at home where you are alone, but before your life was so busy outside the home, that you didn’t have much time.
It is a great time to take advantage and get some journaling done. Remember that it only requires a few minutes a day, which you can definitely find time for.
You can self-reflect while in a different environment
Another reason this is a good time for journaling is that your schedule and environment is likely much different than it was before. Your schedule and habits are different, you have a new routine, and it can feel like you are out of sorts. This might seem like a bad thing, but it gives you a new experience. A new way to look at life and your priorities and really look inward.
You are able to do more self-reflecting when you aren’t on autopilot, as your life right now is probably vastly different than it was before you had to quarantine at home.
Journaling will help keep you sane
Being in isolation or alone for long periods of time can be really hard on your mental health. Much more so than you might have imagined. Even for people who were already working from home and have more introverted personalities can find that their stress is heightened when their routine is disrupted so much and they can’t get any type of physical contact with other people.
With journaling, it can help you to de-stress, identify what causes panic or anxiety, and really help to improve your mental health during this time.
Tips for starting a new journal
If you are brand new to journaling, don’t worry! It is very easy to get started. Grab a notebook, journal, or just any piece of paper and a pen. That’s all you need. It can sometimes be hard to start your first page, so here are a few ways to get started the very first time you write in a journal:
Dear Diary. Write in your journal as if you are writing in a diary. Like you are telling someone a story about your life, how your day is going, or how you’re feeling.
Use a Journaling Prompt. There are also some great journaling prompts, which give you one subject to write about, which often helps you get started with writing.
Set a Timer. This is going to require you to do more stream of consciousness journaling, which is when you write about whatever comes to your mind. There are no designated topics – you just write with the flow of your thoughts until the timer goes off.
Non-Digital Ways to Be Entertained at Home
During these difficult times, you don’t just want to sit on your phone all day or veg out in front of Netflix for 16 hours a day. It can be tempting, but unplugging every once in a while is really good for your mental health. Here are some fun activities to do at home that don’t require internet access, a TV, your computer, or your phone.
Adult colouring books and other art projects
The first way to be entertained and fill up time at home without using any electronics is to look at more creative activities. Adult colouring books have gotten really popular recently since the themes are more for adults (i.e. no cartoons), as well as them being a little more advanced with intricate details. You can get a colouring book and coloured pencils for very inexpensive.
Also think about other creative projects you enjoy, such as drawing, painting, ceramics, or even something like doing a puzzle. These activities are fun to do at home and can even involve the rest of the family.
Read more – it’s good for you!
There is nothing quite like a real, printed book. Yes, audio and digital books are convenient, but it will never compare to the smell of a book. If you have extra time at home with nothing to do, turn off your tablet and instead start reading from actual books. You can order them online, visit a local bookstore if they’re still open, or get them secondhand. But chances are, you already have some books at home that haven’t been read.
Journal or try creative writing
If you have a pen and paper, you can write. You might be more of a journaling person, where you want to find clarity, share your thoughts, and set goals for yourself. Other people might want to explore some creative writing, which can be an interesting process when you are writing it down on paper as opposed to using a computer. It takes longer to write than to type for most people, so you will soon learn that moving with the flow of your thoughts is more challenging. But what you get is a really interesting end result.
Have deep conversations with your family
If you are stuck inside with your family for a while, have some great conversations with them! Turn off the Netflix and video games, sit at the table or in the living room, and just start talking. Share what you’re going through, your hopes and dreams, and your plans for your next vacation. You won’t run out of things to talk about.
Outdoor Activities You Can Do in Your Backyard
Stuck at home, but want to still get fresh air and exercise? Go in your backyard! If you have a yard of any size, you can still find activities to do with your kids or whoever you live with. There are also some you can do solo.
The first outdoor activity you can do in your backyard is chalkboard Pictionary. Chalkboards tend to be easier to find in larger sizes, though you can use a big whiteboard if you prefer that. Set it up on some type of easel in the backyard on the lawn or patio. Play it just like a normal game of Pictionary, where one person draws the word on their card, and everyone else has to guess what it is. You can even make it more active by everyone having to act out with their body what they think the word or phrase is.
Lawn games have been getting more popular recently, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find them! They are often larger sizes of classic games your family loves, like Giant Jenga or Giant Dominoes. These can be played on your patio or even in the grass if you prefer. Getting people to stand and walk around gives everyone a lot more activity than sitting down to play the game.
Plant something with your kids
It is a great time to plant something! If you are home alone, you can do this on your own, whether you want to plant some flowers in your backyard or start a vegetable or herb garden. With kids at home, it can be a learning experience for them as you teach them how to plant and grow something, plus it might count as science class if you’re doing homeschooling. It is a more physical activity that gets you unplugged and can relieve stress and anxiety as well.
Sprints and other workouts
Your backyard is ideal for workouts, since you have more space to run around. Look up bodyweight or cardio workouts, and you should get an idea of what you can do outdoors. For example, you can warm up for your workout outside by doing walking lunges along with some squats. You can run sprints back and forth, run around the backyard until you have gone a mile, or have fitness challenges with other members of your household.
The importance of creating a routine
If you are currently isolated because of the pandemic, it is essential that you create a routine. This isn’t a new normal, but a temporary new normal, so don’t panic it will be like this forever. Instead, focus on what you can control, which is how you spend your time. Here are some reasons why having a routine is so important right now.
Start your day with healthy self-care habits
As part of your routine, you can add some simple self-care habits to your morning routine that are easy to do and also good for your physical and mental health. Think about what will help you get ready for the day, such as taking a shower and brushing your teeth, going through your skincare routine, and drinking a glass of water before having any caffeine.
For self-care, it might also include doing yoga or a gentle stretching routine, writing in your journal, or just sitting for a few minutes with a candle burning and doing deep breathing exercises. This really helps you to set yourself up for a good day.
Enjoy fresh air and sunshine
Even if you are on isolation or have to stay indoors most of the time, you need fresh air and vitamin D. You can get vitamin D naturally just from the sun’s UV rays. Try to get outside and soak up the sun at least a few times a day. This might be sitting on your patio or balcony, going for a short walk, walking your dogs, or sitting on a bench nearby. This might seem simple, but the activity helps you to get vitamin D, fresh air, and ground yourself at the same time.
Get daily exercise
Another thing to add to your new daily routine is a little bit of exercise. Remember it doesn’t have to be anything strenuous – this is not the time for advanced fitness challenges. Just try to get your body moving every day. If you have a treadmill or bike at home, by all means, use it. Otherwise, you can walk, do an online workout routine, use simple equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands, or even just turn on some music and dance in your living room.
Routines help with school work and other changes
If you are currently in quarantine lockdown, then your routine will also include things like chores, more cooking and baking, or helping your kids with their school work. Make sure you choose a routine that fits in all the important things, from homeschooling with the kids and adding in recess to get them physical activity, to cooking meals, completing your chores, and fitting in fun and self-care time.
Why now is the perfect time for creative endeavours
Feeling a little lost and bored while inside for long stretches of time? It is the perfect time to explore those creative endeavours you have!
You have longer stretches of time to be creative
Think about the reasons you weren’t able to work on your creative projects in the past. At least one of them is probably from lack of time. Life gets busy, and since being artistic or creative or doing something for fun is rarely a priority in people’s lives anymore, it’s natural to miss out on these fun things.
But now that you are in isolation or quarantine, you have a lot more time to dedicate to these projects. Don’t let this free time go to waste! Do you want to come out of isolation having just spent all day browsing Instagram and watching Netflix, or do you want to create something or find something artistic that you never knew you would love so much?
You might have more time alone
If you are currently at home for a long stretch of time and happen to be living alone or have more alone time than usual, then you can focus and dedicate more time to your creative endeavours. Many people have the “free” time in their lives, but it often is spent on family members, kids, or friends. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is also good to spend time alone to really focus on what you enjoy doing the most.
Being creative helps you de-stress
Isolation can be very stressful and often leads to phases of anxiety and panic. A natural way to relieve those anxious feelings is by being creative. It uses a different part o your brain and can help you get into more of a mindful state. When you are drawing, painting, writing, or creating something, you are thinking more about what you are doing and are really in the moment, as opposed to thinking about what o cook for dinner, your work deadlines, or paying your bills.
Get into the moment, appreciate your creative projects, and let yourself explore all the beauty in the world during this time.
Being creative doesn’t have to mean spending hundreds of dollars on art and craft supplies. There is plenty you can do from home with whatever you have on hand, from drawing or writing on a piece of printer paper, to using your kids’ crayon or coloured pencils to teach yourself how to create art.
Why you should still be socializing even when you’re alone
It can be hard enough dealing with self-isolation where you aren’t able to connect physically with other people, but if you are living alone, it is even harder. However, it is still possible to socialize and connect with others, even while practising social distancing.
You can share stories and experiences of what you’re going through
While it can feel like you are alone and completely isolated from the world, you are only physically isolated. Everyone is in this together, and there are so many ways to connect with others. When you are still able to socialize from a distance, it allows you to share stores and experiences. Everyone you talk to will be in a similar situation, if not slightly different. But you can get support and feel like a part of a community.
You can offer and receive support
Support is essential during any difficult time, but when you are social distancing, it might feel impossible. The good news is that you are still able to offer and receive support from a distance. Maybe you have knowledge in working from home, relieving stress, or maintaining productivity – you can use those skills to help others who are brand new to this. You can also reach out to people who have been homeschooling for years and can give you tips for homeschooling your own children.
Participate in activities together
Thanks to technology and the internet, it is super easy to get together with friends and participate in activities together. Zoom and other video conferencing programs have really come in handy. You can all go live to do the same workout routine together, have a dance party in your own homes, or just sit to have an online happy hour and chat with your friends.
Another option is to use the Netflix watch party plugin, which allows you to watch the same show or movie on Netflix with your friends. Grab as many people as you want to all watch and comment on it together.
Check in on your loved ones
While you are still socializing, don’t forget to check in on people! Call, text, video chat, or send a message through social media. You can make sure your loved ones are doing ok and see if you are able to offer some words of support to them, even though you can’t be together in person.
So there you have it. Lots of helpful advice for surviving lock down. Let’s hope that COVID-19 beats a hasty retreat and, in the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.
Feel free to add any advice, tips or observations in the comments below.