With all the social distancing and lock-down measures in place, how do you keep your mind occupied and engaged?
For some people, being at home is bliss. For others, it’s hard to stay focused on anything. But time at home can be a valuable chance to reflect, connect and plan for the future.
There are a few things that you can to do every day that will help you cope with this unprecedented change in our lifestyles and working arrangements.
Accept the status quo.
Cluttering your mind with anger or a sense of injustice over the situation we have all been forced into will simply hinder your ability to just get on with what has to be done. Just accepting the situation and making the most of it in any way you can, will be far healthier for you.
Look after your mental health
There are going to be times when the situation becomes unbearable. When children are wired, partners are going stir crazy, you’re missing special people. There will be stressful times, but remind yourself that it’s actually OK to acknowledge that you’re stressed, rather than trying to just soldier on. It’s far healthier for you to stop and take a moment to do whatever helps you most in times of stress. Even if that’s a damn good cry!
Stay in touch
Just because you can’t physically visit friends and family, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay in contact with them. Touch base with the people you love as often as possible, by phone or video chat or through whatever media you prefer. You can have virtual dinner parties, group chats, gather the family together, wherever they are in the world thanks to technology. Just keep those lines of communication open.
Exercise is good for your body and your mind, so do as much as you can. Go for a walk, run or cycle ride or take the dog out. If you can’t get out, dust off that old fitness equipment in the garage that you haven’t touched for years, get on a fitness ball or simply climb the stairs to get your steps up. Whatever it is, do it every day to get those exercise endorphins flowing.
Take time out
Working at home with children is very hard and it’s unfair to expect them to fend for themselves without any interaction with you. So take regular breaks to do activities with them, even if that’s getting them to help you prepare dinner or bake some cookies. If you’re under the pump at work discuss re-structuring your day so you’re not trying to get everything done within the 9-5 window.
Improve your mind
With no socialising or many of our usual activities on the cards for the coming months, consider some online training. There are literally thousands of courses, webinars and educational talks out there. A couple of my own favourite sources are: lynda.com and ted.com. And of course there is always YouTube. You can learn about anything you’re interested in online. Improve your skills for your current job (which means you can claim any expenses on your tax return). Alternatively, why not learn something completely new and give your career a turbo charge?
Re-visit your hobbies
Most of us have something we used to love doing but the pace of normal life often makes us time poor. Too often we simply lack the conviction to pick up a paintbrush, work on that book, get out that stamp book, sewing machine or soldering iron. Whatever hobby you had, re-visit it. You now have the opportunity to get your creative juices flowing.
Very few people enjoy housework but getting everyone to help you stay on top of it will keep your environment clean and clear. If mess piles up it will very quickly feel suffocating. Perhaps consider tackling the ‘cupboard of doom’ under the stairs, or tidy the pantry or your wardrobe. When else will you ever spend so much time at home than right now?
The last word
And finally, never forget the soothing, escapism of a good book. If surviving the lock-down is getting too hard, the kids are driving you insane, your partner has been sulking for two days or you simply need to leave this world behind for a while, pick up a book. Go and sit in the fresh air of your garden or balcony, or join an audio book library and pop in your bluetooth headphones. Great adventures await, without you having to go anywhere at all.
Stay positive and smile as often as possible. This whole situation is temporary. If we make good use of it, we’ll not only survive the lock-down but come out of it a healthier, happier and cleverer person.