With significant changes happening during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s no surprise that many of us are feeling a little bit on edge. Here’s a list of 7 things you can do to make your working from home isolation experience more productive, refreshing and fun!
Plan your day and do your best to stick to your usual morning and evening routine. Slot in time for meals, physical activity, things you enjoy, and regular work and study hours. 1-2 hour slots per task are a good guideline. These can all help you keep a sense of normalcy and give your days a sense of purpose. Keeping your diary or to-do list up to date with any deadlines, tasks and priorities is essential, too.
Getting creative has a positive effect on happiness – try cooking a new recipe, draw, dance, or design a fun graphic. Dedicate a spot in your room or house as a working space and make sure it’s not your bed! Laying in bed while working isn’t the best choice for your mental health and productivity. Instead, work from a desk, kitchen table, or a separate room to help keep your mind at ease.
3. Get Moving
Do some exercise. Being forced to stay at home means you’re more likely to sit all day, but its essential to get some regular exercise and to at least pace around indoors in short intervals. If you live near a park, go for a walk on your lunch break – just keep social distancing in mind and make sure to drink plenty of water! You could also check out some excellent short online workout videos if you don’t want to leave the house.
Use Zoom or Skype to turn real-life get-togethers into virtual ones for opportunities to network, have a laugh, share ideas or catch up. You can create “watch parties” for movies or TV shows and message-chat as you view. Brainstorm ideas with friends to come up with fun ways to stay connected and support each other. Lifeline suggests creating a “Gratitude Tree” where each person in the group writes something they’re grateful for each day. You could also download the free, worldwide Quarantine App to talk on the phone with others who are isolated at home.
Prioritise your mental health and integrate self-care. Mindfulness, gratitude, and creative exercises can help. Create a soothing environment – open the windows, draw the blinds, and take a deep breath! Stretch throughout the day, put your computer down and make lunch. Go on a news diet and try not to check the news more than once or twice a day. If you’re feeling stressed, take some time out to calm down. A 15 to 20-minute break can be enough to reduce pressure and help you think more clearly. Listen to music, go for a walk – your brain and body need a break. Bring some pot plants or flowers inside, and try to catch the sunrise or sunset if you can- and make sure to get a good night’s sleep!
Close your laptop, change your clothes, and make time for the activities you enjoy. Take a long shower, do a gentle face mask, or even cook yourself a tasty meal. If you have more free time on your hands, look a new skill or hobby you’ve wanted to try. Dust off that guitar, download a language learning app, get going on that writing project, or start devising the business plan you’ve been talking about for ages.
If you’re looking for fun games, you can now play Cards Against Humanity online with your mates on Playingcards.ioio. Or how about a nightly pub quiz you can stream live? Some incredibly useful resources include a Quarantine Starter Pack and this list of resources that offer virtual museums, zoos, city tours, DIY projects, live music performances, e-books, language courses, and more.
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7. Reach out for support
If you’re finding social distancing, social isolation or quarantine difficult, remind yourself why you’re doing it: to help keep yourself, your loved ones and your community safe by preventing the virus from spreading. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from a mental health professional if you’re feeling distressed, anxious, down or lonely. For more about how to stay mentally well, check out this resource from Beyond Blue.