Notice how I didn’t say ‘thrive’ in isolation? Look, some days that might be the case. But at the end of the day the whole world is experiencing a complete change from daily life, rising statistics and daily addresses from politicians on the news. Everyone you talk to has something to say about Coronavirus. So, to start with, the best thing for you is to acknowledge that you aren’t going to thrive all the time and having off days is completely fine. We are all experiencing this traumatic event in different ways.
Having said that, other than my travelling days, I consider myself a homebody so am very used to spending my days within the gates of my house. So here are some of my tips for you to get through isolation:
- Have a weekly project
One thing I’ve tried to do is have a weekly project to work towards. One week it was building a bike, the next was gardening front & back, another was to actively be more social. Each time I have had something to work towards and had my mind focused on, rather than having a million things (good and bad) going through my head, which I feel like a lot of us have been experiencing lately. Some other ideas include crafting, with many artists & craft stores (cork & canvas painting stores included) selling supplies and tutorials, makeup or hair tutorials, spring cleaning somewhere or creating the perfect cocktail. You don’t have to be a master of anything but give your brain just one thing to work towards.
- Learn something
We are so lucky with technology that we have access to short courses in just about anything online. I recently enrolled in a course through Coursera on the ‘Science of Wellbeing’ which is adapted from Yale University’s most popular course- and I have loved it! Right now TAFE, Masterclass and more online learning platforms are offering discounted prices for courses, some even free if you don’t want/need a certificate.
- Make your room/homework for you now
What may have worked for you in your regular day to day life may not be working when you’re at home ALL THE TIME. This might mean a furniture re-arranging, one small purchase or even an agreement with your housemates on etiquette during work/non-work hours. Think about what is going to help your own wellbeing for this temporary time. For me, I swapped out a rug in my room for a yoga mat to stretch out & also remind me to exercise (more on that later). I also cleaned my outside areas so I have space to exercise & relax outside.
- Make your bed
It can’t just be me who feels a great deal of satisfaction with a made bed. For me, it changes the whole room, and adds some order. Especially if you’re working from your bedroom like me, make sure you make your bed before work, even if it is just so your boss doesn’t see a messy bed on your video chats.
- Do something for yourself after work
Not everyone has the luxury of fixed work hours or the ability to just switch off. For some people there needs to be a specific break in habits to switch off. For me, I never work on my bed (despite how tempting it may be) and spend the first 30-60 minutes after work exercising or watching some Netflix, away from my bedroom so that I can reset and move on before choosing how to spend my nights.
SO important. And this is coming from me, not exactly the queen of fitness. It may take a lot of convincing but doing at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 days a week is beneficial to your happiness (literally what I’ve been learning about online). I’ve seen improvements in my overall happiness and even a little strength by taking online classes from my gym and YouTube. Find what works for you. For me, I need variety, so I’ve been rotating between boxing conditioning, yoga, walking & kicking a footy at the park. Another great thing is, even if you weren’t connected with a gym before this, you have the opportunity to participate in a range of at home workouts for free or cheap right now. It may be challenging to get started, but I promise it will do wonders for your happiness.
- Facebook/Instagram/Twitch live sessions
Who says you can’t still do your pub trivia or see your favourite band/DJs live? One thing I love about the hospitality & Arts industries is that they are constantly reinventing themselves and adapting to the new circumstances. So many festivals and artists who were scheduled to perform have still gone ahead over one of these platforms. Also, the other night I participated in an isolation trivia and loved it (although I do need to brush up on my skills it seems).
- Limit your access to the news
I wish we could have a 24 hour pause on the news cycle. I understand that there is important information, but a lot of the time its like being bombarded with horrible facts at every waking moment. I’ve stopped playing the news, have chosen one online source that does daily/weekly round ups of information and only get my info from there (and then look up any non-coronavirus news I’m interested in if they mention it). It’s good to know what’s going on but don’t let it consume you.
SO important. If you are exhausted, rest. Don’t let yourself feel guilty if all you do one day is rest. We might not be up and about, but this is mentally and emotionally draining to come to terms with, particularly with rapid changes. Some days I just go between my bed and the couch and the only productive thing I’ve done it make my bed. Other days I’ve cleaned most of the house and completed uni assignments. Each day is different, and you will experience all sorts of days. Just don’t judge yourself for your low days.
- Do something good
Doing something nice for others makes us feel good. Just by staying home when you can is doing that. Also, join your local community online groups and see if anyone needs help with getting supplies. Look up local businesses or artists you can support by buying from them. I had a hard time finding businesses but was recommended the ‘heysmallbiz’ page on Instagram which has given me many opportunities to support others.