- Just cause we are at home doesn’t mean anyone cannot be productive and be socially engaged
- Create a daily routine when in isolation so that you can be productive
- Keeping busy will have a positive impact to your health and avoid being bored
March 2020 has been an extraordinary month, Coronavirus has created a global pandemic and all governments are doing all their best to contain the CoronaVirus, as it took everyone by surprise. I am in London, and as of Friday 20th March, the UK government has asked people to remain indoors and listen to government guidelines on social distancing. If you are showing symptoms of Coronavirus you are told to self-isolate for 14 days.
I am one of those people who have been told to self-isolate and be in quarantine, and I am on day 5 and I can say it’s not easy. I have been busy which I think has helped with the time going quickly and save me from boredom.
Many people might use this time in quarantine to relax and watch movies or catch up on Netflix or Amazon Prime. However, when you watch one episode or one movie it could lead you down a spiral and end up glued on your screen for hours. This will make you physically drained and not motivated to do anything.
Then you think to yourself where has the time has gone and don’t feel like doing anything else. You also feel physically drained and not motivated to do anything else. I am here to show you how to avoid being bored and being active.
1. Plan Your Day or Week
This is the one of the most important tasks that I can highly recommend that everyone does. Your typical normal routine is now disturbed, and now you find yourself at home without structure or routine.
You may wake up just before you need to log in remotely if you are still working from home, or if you’re a student, you may not need to wake up early.
I would recommend having a simple checklist for yourself or even the family. Write down the activities you want to do through the day. If you are working from home, then plan what time you’re going to have your breaks and lunch and how you are going to use that time effectively.
Don’t spend your break time watching Netflix, you and I know what will happen. I would also plan for the week on when you are going to exercise, read a book or just meditate.
You may have 2 or 3 hours spare a day as you are not commuting to the office, use this time effectively and not for sleeping in.
If you have kids, let them write their daily or weekly plans. This way they would feel that they are in control and in charge of what they need to do. At the end of the day get them to tick off what was done as a sense of achievement. Remember to balance their time with studying and playing.
2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
In London the gyms have finally closed as of Saturday 21st March 2020. This recommendation applies to everyone, even if you are not doing any regular exercises, it doesn’t stop you from doing exercises at home.
There are many videos available on YouTube and I have linked below some useful videos that can help anyone to continue to exercise at home with or without gym equipment.
- 20 Minute Full Body Workout without equipments – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBMk30rjy0o
- 30 Minute Beginner Workout at Home – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC_L9qAHVJ8
- 30 Minute Fat Burning Exercise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIxNJbit9BA
You could look to measure yourself in how much time you are going to spend exercising, or how many calories you want to burn a day or even better, have a goal on the number of steps you want to complete in a day. As you are not going to be out and about and not walking as much as you would have, it is important to continue to exercise as regular exercise can positively boost your mood and keep you fit and healthy.
3. Time To Learn New Skills
Technology has now taken over the business world and it’s evolving at a fast pace. There are skill shortages in some areas of technology, such as in Cybersecurity, Penetration Testers to Coders. Take the time to plan to learn a new skill an hour a day. There are many resources available for you to learn new skills, through recorded lessons, blogs or online learnings.
Don’t restrict your learnings to technology, you can learn new languages, video editing to how to start your own blog. There are many resources available out there on YouTube, Blogs or even go to Khan Academy.
Remember, learning new things helps continue to stimulate your brain and gives you an advantage over your peers and ahead of your competition when you go back to the office.
4. Brain Stimulation Activities
Your brain needs mental stimulation, so avoid spending too much time on mindless activities, such as being on your phone for too long or just watching endless TV. I would also suggest that you avoid watching the news all day, as this will make you even more anxious and depressed. Go play some sudoku or spend some time with the family and play a board game.
I would even go further and see if you can paint a picture, do some decoration that you have been planning for some time, or find some online brain games to boost your mental energy. Most smartphones and tablets have an App store which has a lot of games that people can download and play. Make it interesting and compete against your friends by linking in your social media account.
5. Meditation and Mindfulness
You will have a lot going on in the day, especially if you have kids at home, so to avoid being mentally drained and spend at least 10 minutes a day meditating. Being in a mindfulness state has many benefits, and considering you are going to be in isolation in your home for some time, it will help reduce anxiety, reduce stress, reduce depression and put you in a positive mood.
You don’t need any equipment and you can do it anytime of the day. Find yourself a time in the day that you can go to a quiet room and then meditate. Here are some useful links from YouTube for beginners in practicing mindfulness.
- Yoga For Beginners – 20 minutes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7AYKMP6rOE
- 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl_B45DpMLU
- 3 Minute Mindfulness Breathing Meditation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEfs5TJZ6Nk
6. Self Discipline Whilst Being at Home
Being at home does not mean you have to be lazy and sleep in. You will need to make a routine, as we may be at home for a few weeks as per government’s guidelines across the world. Being lazy will have an impact on your mental state and health.
In the weekend plan to have some activities planned for the morning, so this way you are encouraged to wake up early, have your breakfast and then get on with your tasks.
During the week when you are working from home, look to break down your activities, such as time to respond to emails, get that powerpoint slide done or research. Try and have your video conference meetings together and where possible, reduce the conference meetings to maybe 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
Being disciplined will help you manage your time and get the important things done.
7. Use Video Conferencing
Just because you are at home it doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from everyone from the outside world. I have time allocated with my friends and family to do a group conference call and we can see each other and just hangout and catch up.
We all have Whatsapp, Facetime and lately Zoom has been popular, so I would suggest asking your friends to make some time so that all can join in a group chat and just hang out.
When you are speaking with friends or families, try to uplift each other and bring humor in the conversation. Avoid talking too much about the news and impact of coronavirus as this will end up either depressing each other.
8. Limit Social Media and Watching the News
Limit the time you spend on your social media and watching the news. Social media allows people to be up to date with what your friends or family are up to and you will be lucky to come across some coronavirus memes, however there is a lot of misinformation in social media going around, from conspiracy theories, spreading more panic and anxiety and fabricated medical advice.
Another thing to point out is that when you go into your social media account, you think you will spend a few minutes on it, then you find out you spent 30 mindless minutes on it and just browsing. So spend your time wisely on it and engage with people and use it as a tool to be in touch with people from the outside world.
Don’t put the news on the background whilst you are at home, this can cause you a lot of anxiety and build a lot of mental stress. Watch the news at key times during the day, maybe in the morning, noon and evening. If you are on your own, fill the empty noise with music or listen to podcasts.