Disclaimer: This article is not advice on how to self isolate correctly or prevent coronavirus from spreading. You can find the latest updates about social distancing and self-isolation at: Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK or NHS: Stay at home advice
In this article, I’ll share with you tips that will help you get through the next few weeks of the house arrest (a.k.a. Social distancing or self-isolation) we all have been prescribed.
I’ve been getting a lot of messages from people messaging me and asking how to manage their time and themselves now when it looks like they’ll be spending a lot of time at home. It’s a new thing for many people.
Here is a fun fact about why I may have a good tip or two.
I’ve been working from home for the last five years. No jokes, I spent 95% of my time at home. I’m a pretty extraverted person, so I had to find ways to make it work. I did, and I love it now.
Here are a few tips that will help you manage this lockdown better:
1) You’re not in Social-isolation
We’re not in social isolation. It’s really just a physical distancing.
That’s a big difference.
In fact, throughout these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to stay connected and support each other (while maybe physically apart). We have many different ways to stay connected with our families, friends and colleagues.
I’m pointing this out because language is very powerful and the way we call things makes us perceive it and feel about it in a certain way.
Social distancing sounds pretty claustrophobic, while in reality, I think these days we may be emotionally closer than ever. I’ve seen many instances of people helping each other, showing kindness and support because of the current coronavirus situation.
2) Stay informed but know your source
Coronavirus has not only spread throughout the world, but it’s saturated the internet as well.
These days we all are a tad closer to panic than usual. But if you’re really close, you don’t need to make things worse by some uninformed opinions on social media. It’s important to stay informed, but not every opinion is valuable or correct.
“I heard this directly from my neighbour Trigger who is best friends with a guy called Boycey. Boycey knows a guy named Del who drinks down the pub with his uncle Albert. Albert was in the Navy during the war, so he knows his stuff.”
Don’t get sucked into negativity by social media click baits, rants, and fear-mongering.
My personal opinion is that probably the most accurate source is a mix of: Reputable scientific magazines, Government announcements, and reputable news sources.
I always ask myself “who is saying that and why.”
Keep in mind that some sources tend to downplay and withhold information, some exaggerated and dramatise. Stay up to date but pick the right sources.
3) The more physical distance we have, the more connectedness we need
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, reach out to others for help. It’s no time to be a hero.
If you’re cool and unphased by all this or just have a higher tolerance to stress, reach out to others and check if they are doing fine.
In times like these, people need support more than ever. A chat, advice, pep talk, or a bit of commiseration can go a long way.
For people who are not used to spending a lot of time at home or on their own, social distancing may be a real challenge.
Now is the time to make the most out of your phone and social media. Share words of encouragement and positive news (good things are still happening). It may be exactly what someone needs to hear. It will make you feel better, too.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends and people you haven’t spoken with for a long time. You have a perfect reason for a message like “Hi Joe, long time no speak. How are you? Just wanted to reach out and check if you and your family are doing ok?”
That’s a message everyone would be happy to get. Right?
4) Look after your sanctuary
It looks like we all will be spending near 100% of our time in our homes until things settle down. I know it’s probably not your dream, but it’s for the greater good so let’s get on with it.
For the time being, you should treat your home as your sanctuary, temple, shrine, because your environment has a huge impact on how you feel.
The following tips could be backed up by many scientific studies I could quote and bore you with.
Instead, I’ll share some personal reasons for them.
- Keep your house or the rooms where you spend the most time really clean and organised.
The tidier your environment is the more content you’ll feel there and the easier it will be to spend a lot of time there and focus. How on the outside, so on the inside.
- Have plants and flowers.
It makes so much difference to have a plant of flowers in the room. They bring positive energy and during these days of social isolation bring you a little close to nature. (I love plants and can count eight just in my view now).
- Let some sun in.
Of course, this depends on how your windows are situated, but unless your neighbour across is the infamous ‘ugly naked guy’ from Friends, open your blinds wide and let some spring sun in. A gloomy room will just make you feel low.
- Make it smell good.
The smell is such an important sense. Make your room or house smell nice with scented candles, diffusers and aroma oils, or one of them Airwick electric thingys (probably not all these at once). When your room smells nice, it’s just so much more pleasant to be in it. (If you don’t believe me think of/remember spending time with someone who smells bad vs someone who smells really good. It makes a difference, doesn’t it?)
5) Maintain a good routine
When you self isolate, especially if you live alone, it’s tempting to “take it easy.” But it’s a dangerous game to play. Taking it easy can soon slip into having no routine, and aimlessness is an open door for anxiety or even depression.
So maintain a good routine as if you were going to work.
- Have a regular time when you get up and go to bed (Monday – Friday at least).
- Same applies to your work time if you’re working from home now.
- Plan your day – set key objectives and tasks.
- Keep up your exercise routine. Don’t let all the hard work be wasted away. There are many apps and zillions of Youtube videos with home workouts. No excuses there. In fact, exercise is one of the few reasons to still step put.
- And just in case you wanted to cheat this one – Maintain your hygiene routine.
6) Making the most of your time during social distancing
Now, with the total lockdown, most of us will end up with a lot of time on their hands.
It’s a fantastic opportunity, even though I saw some people complaining about it. Can you believe?
Have you ever ranted about how much time you waste commuting and what other things you could do with the time?
Well, now is your (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity of it’s kind to have all that time back, so make the most out of it.
Here are some quick ideas you may want to fill your time with. It’s really important to stay active.
- Read that book you’ve always wanted to read.
- Catch up with your Netflix series.
- Write – always wanted to start a blog or write a book? Go for it! Need help? Get a writing assistant.
- Maybe it’s time to dust off those board games up on the shelf?
- Sort out that “random stuff” drawer. We all have one. I’ve done mine already. I found surprise £10 there!
- Go through your wardrobe and select out things you don’t wear anymore.
- Put your mind at ease by organising your cupboards and realising you have food supplies for about 6 months. Ha!
- Play online games with your friends.
- Spend some quality time with your partner.
- Meditate – now you have enough time for some serious enlightenment.
- Organise your photos. You know you’ve always wanted to do that.
- Organise your computer.
- Plan your post-corona life.
- Sort out your finances – know where your money goes.
- Have you always wondered about _____________ ? Google it, YouTube it, do some research, investigate.
- Do a course. You can find loads of really inexpensive courses on websites like Udemy or Linda.
- This may also be a great time to ponder if there is a career more suitable for you. If so, check out Jooble.
So there you go, a few ideas that will help you stay sane during these times.
Keep in mind that things could be so much worse than sitting at home.
I know social distancing situation is far from ideal, but it will make us appreciate so much more all the things we’ve been taking for granted.
Things will get better soon.
Just hang in there.
We’re in this together.
PS: If you’re struggling with social distancing and have a specific question or you’d like my advice a particular issue, leave me a comment or contact me.
Topics: social distancing, self-isolating, coronavirus lockdown
Those are some great tips Tomas! Thank you for sharing them. Even for those of us still working during this time, the uncertainty of the global situation can still lead us to spiral into anxiety and near panic. So keeping myself focused and on a regular schedule of positive behaviors and activities is extremely helpful in keeping me focused on what I can control in my own life and even further improve it during this time.
Thanks for the comment Firas. Sreat share. Stay well and healthy.