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April 8, 2020

How to Not Lose Your Sanity in Quarantine/Self-Isolation

These are challenging and unprecedented times that we find ourselves in. Each and every single one of us is having to make significant compromises in our daily routine. A lot of us are on a constant emotional roller coaster where we are silently struggling one day, stressed the heck out the next day, and then totally in acceptance as the week goes on. Just know that this is totally normal. We need to allow ourselves to grieve the loss of our normal lifestyle. However, we can make some simple yet effective adjustments to our daily habits so that we can maintain our mental and physical well-being during these trying times. That being said, everyone handles things differently so be sure to only take what works for you!


Working From Home


This is probably one of the biggest adjustments you have had to make if you were not previously working from home. It seems almost too good to be true at first. You can roll out of bed, avoid the morning commute, have access to unlimited snacks from your kitchen, and stay in your pajamas for the whole day. However, without a sense of discipline and a set routine, you will find this can quickly become a slippery slope and can greatly affect your motivation and productivity levels. That being said, a few small tweaks to your daily habit can go a long way.


To begin with, continue to treat each weekday as a workday. This means making sure you wake up with your alarm avoiding that dreaded snooze button. You also should get dressed every day and at the very least wash your face and have breakfast. Of course, you can dress in more comfortable clothes, but try to maintain a sense of professionalism for those virtual meetings. Most importantly, be sure to work from a desk and not your bed, regardless of how tempting it can be, as it will certainly negatively affect your mental state.


It can also be easy to work straight through lunch or avoid taking breaks without a set schedule. Therefore, be sure to take time off to make and eat a proper lunch rather than just snacking for the entire day. Also, every few hours take a little walk around the block or stretch to incorporate some movement. In addition, when the workday is done, separating work time from personal time is incredibly important. Put your computer aside to create that mental space and check off any completed work tasks so you can feel more on track.


Maintaining Your Health


Obviously this is going to be a top priority right now with a virus going around. Any changes to your daily routine are going to have an impact on your well-being from either a mental, emotional, or physical standpoint, which will also affect your immunity. If you are working from home, very likely your movement levels have decreased while your calorie consumption has probably increased. Being mindful of this can help you to maintain good energy levels and avoid any unexpected weight gain when quarantine is finally over.


Like mentioned before, eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a set schedule will prevent you from constantly snacking on junk food. Not to mention it will help you maintain stable energy levels so that you can concentrate on your work. Therefore, put a little bit of time and thought into what you plan to eat for the week. This can also work to minimize your trips to the grocery store and maximize your budget. In addition, you will feel less stressed when hunger strikes because you will know exactly what you bought and what meal options you have and can quickly prepare. That way you do not need to think about it because you planned ahead.


Physical exercise is another critical component to maintain your health and sanity. You have likely transitioned to a more sedentary lifestyle these days. This is likely if your only daily commute has become from your bed to your couch and to your kitchen. However, with the weather warming up, going for walks can be a nice little way to get some extra steps in and some fresh air. Of course, be sure to follow any social distancing guidelines. In addition, now more than ever, there are plenty of digital (and free) work-outs that you can attend to sweat from home and stay in shape. This can be a great opportunity to try something new if you were used to going to the same gym or studio before.


Getting Proper Sleep


So again, now that your schedule has changed, things are probably a little bit messed up. You can sleep in, go to bed late, and do whatever the heck you want, which is so awesome. While you are likely a responsible adult, it is also possible that you have let some of your habits slip a bit since self-isolation began. Things have slowed down in the economy, even if you are still working, and there is somewhat less of a drive and discipline to get things done as urgently as before. This laid-back perspective has likely transitioned into your daily routine as well.


However, as we stated earlier, any changes to your routine are going to shift things around and this can negatively impact your sleep. Sleep is absolutely necessary for maintaining your health, immunity, and sanity. We also sleep best when our body gets used to being on a specific schedule and our internal clock adjusts to it. Therefore, try to avoid super late night playing computer games, and go to bed at a decent time so you can get up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to focus on work. In addition, treating weekdays like regular workdays can help with this too so every day does not blend into one.


Staying Connected with Others 


Social distancing can be difficult for anyone who is used to being around people more often. Which is basically the majority of us. It does not matter if you are an extrovert or an introvert, spending a lot of time alone with just your thoughts can definitely take a toll on your mental well-being which can spill over into other aspects of your life. This isolation can become even more challenging when you feel that you do not have much of a choice in the matter.


Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to go out of your way to connect with friends and family. It can be super easy to get stuck in your own little bubble. Plan to attend virtual events to network and make new connections in the digital space. We are so lucky with technology that we can stay connected with each other easier than ever before. It just takes a little bit of planning and intention to ensure we make the time for that. Some other ideas can include having virtual dinners with your friends, family, or significant other, tuning into an online work-out, or playing games with a group of friends through different applications. This is a wonderful opportunity to get extra creative and save money too!


Planning for the Future


This can also be a great time to slow down and take stock of where you are in your life right now and where you want to be. While it seems like the world is driving to a screeching halt, you can take a step back to assess your spending habits, connect with your values, and focus on your long-term career goals. You can create a lot more mental space for yourself if you can avoid getting stuck in a social media and Netflix spiral too, which can be easier said than done. Take advantage of the extra time in your hands now to do something that will forward your career or creativity. You can even learn a new skill or take an online course and the options are really endless. 


So there are your tips for handling this pandemic with grace and ease. A lot of people are now experiencing their lives being turned upside down as a result of this virus outbreak. The best thing we can do for ourselves at this time is to try and establish a new sense of normal for ourselves while not losing sight of the bigger picture. We still can be a contribution to our society and there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part. In the meantime, use this advice to ground yourself, find a calm mental state, and practice some extra self-care.

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