Things can seem bleak as the illnesses and deaths add up during this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s bad enough worrying about the future of your life and the world itself, without also being confined physically and socially to stem the spread of the disease. Left unchecked, this situation can result in great distress, anxiety and even depression — if you let it.
Here are some tips to thrive during this time of isolation, keeping sane, relaxed, healthy and productive!
Stay Connected With Others Virtually
Lack of social interaction can be hard on even the most introverted people. It can sap your motivation and make you feel down. It does not have to be that way though. We just need to be more creative in how we interact with others!
The good news is that we now live in a great time of technological advances that make it much easier to stay in touch with people virtually. Texting, Facebook and Facetime are good examples. Zoom is a great free way to have video happy hours with friends, family and coworkers. Register free here: Zoom Website
I have held a few virtual get-togethers with Zoom. It was as easy loading the Zoom app on my iPad from the AppStore, signup to create a meeting room, and then just send a link to everyone you want to join my room. Those people do not even need to signup — they just click the link and join, either on their mobile device or laptop.
It takes a little getting used to, like not having the ability to have side conversations with people like you do in real life and working so only one person speaks at a time mostly. But I have found that in general its very effective and a fun way to socially connect.
Establish a Routine
It’s important to establish a regular routine in being at home. This is especially important if you are working at home since you want to seperate the stresses of your workday, with your leisure time.
Have things to look forward to. Exercise at regular times. Take a walk at lunch for example, or sit in your backyard patio with your family before dinner. Schedule a snack after work and a TV show.
Spend Time on a Hobby
Get excited about your hobbies during this time. If you are like me, you have hobbies that come and go. Use this time to start back an old hobby if you are not currently involved in one. Or use this as a time to get a brand new hobby.
Dedicate some time on the internet exploring possible hobbies. To get your juices flowing, see the below link:
If there was ever a good time to continue or start meditating it is now. In times like this, we realize how little control we have over external events. But we are alive, and life consists of experiencing good and bad things that come and go. In fact, without some darkness, we would never perceive light. It’s all part of our journey.
Being mindful, and living in the present is the basis of meditation. Yes, bad things happen, but we can reduce suffering by controlling the wild stories our mind invests us in. In other words, live in the moment, observe things from a viewer perspective like leaves floating down a stream. They pass, and can even be interesting and provide opportunities for growth.
Meditation can benefit you in many ways including controlling stress, enhancing sleep and improving your immune system. Read more about benefits here: Physical & Mental Benefits of Meditation
There are many resources available to get started on meditation, and it can really help in this uncertain and scary time. And you just may make meditation a lifetime habit! Dedicating even 15 minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health and basic perspective on things.
A good way to get started is through a phone meditation app. These apps help you meditate through guided instruction. Some main ones are Headspace, Simple Habits, Balance.
You can see some of the good ones here: The 12 Best Meditation Apps For 2020, According To Experts
A good app I use is Balance. They are offering a free one-year subscription during this COVID-19 crisis which is great!
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal can be a great way to relieve stress, focus your thoughts and have a record of things for the future. Keeping a journal does not have to be a tedious affair where you feel like you have to write pages of information, and deeply analyze your thoughts and actions. They can be as light as you want.
Some of you may remember the show Doogie Howser, M.D. The main character, Doogie, kept a journal which he wrote in at the end of each show. Each entry was just one or two sentences, but they summarized very concisely his main interactions and lessons of that day.
So make it simple, or complex — whatever you want. It’s amazing how even a little information can bring back tons of memory in the future.
Another good way to journal is to simply write down the things that you are thankful for that day. This has been shown to relieve stress and be good for your mental state.
There are some good mobile journal apps you can use to journal, where you can attach pictures and other media in addition to text. One example is Day One, which I use.
View Nature Webcams
A good way to avoid cabin fever while being couped up in the house, especially while working is to have a live web stream going that you can view when you want, as if you are looking out a window.
explore.org is a great website for this. It has webcams in a wide variety of places to view live. Examples are viewing eagle nests, donkey farms, Hawaiian beaches, panda bears, kitten rescue facilities, and much more.
Have Healthy Habits
It’s tempting to eat too much unhealthy food while being in isolation. Sure eating like this makes you feel good at the moment, but avoid grazing on food all day and you will feel much better overall! Schedule specific times for meals and snacks so you do not go overboard. If you are just bored, fix some hot tea or munch on something like carrots.
I am not saying do not eat some fun snacky foods sometimes — that can be a good way to burn off stress and give you something to look forward to. But just do it less and you will be amazed how much more pleasure you get out of the times you do eat.
Also, keep an exercise schedule. This can be difficult since gyms and other recreation areas are closed. If you have a home exercise machine, use it. Also mix in other home exercises including weights if you have them, push-ups, even racking up steps walking in circuits around the house or better yet walking, jogging or biking outdoors.
Don’t overlook the many benefits of walking — physical, and mental. See my previous blog post on this.
Not much more to be said there. As long as you do not get too close to anyone, enjoy outdoor activities. Walking and seeing nature is known to relieve stress. Be sure to mindfully look around and soak in everything!
Learn Something New
Is there something you always wanted to learn but never had the time? Maybe a new language? Astronomy maybe? How to draw or paint? Writing a book? With the power of the internet there are countless things you can do to learn about almost anything. Be sure also not to overlook video-based instruction. You can learn almost anything from YouTube. Or try a site like Udemy and buy courses that interest you.
The sky is the limit.
Be sure to check out our mobile app Remote Walk, which allows you to walk in your own neighborhood yet virtually be traveling in famous cities that you cannot visit now!