“When everyone leaves you it’s loneliness you feel, when you leave everyone else it’s solitude.”– Alfred Polgar
It has been a good few months since I last wrote a blog due to life taking over. But, after having similar conversations with people on how to cope during this pandemic, I decided to open-up WordPress to share these recommendations.
This will underpin all following points. Everyone’s ‘routine’ will look different depending on your responsibilities. Whether you are a parent, carer, student, working from home; it is important to ensure that you wake up and go to bed at a set time. Doing so will help the adjustment to this new way of living, while ensuring that we are prepared for when the rules are lifted.
Giving structure to your day helps. Mine has been: wake up, get changed, complete a small uni-related task, go out for a jog/walk during my lunch break, perform a larger uni-related task until evening, then, finally, use my evenings for entertainment and relaxation.
Again, those who have children or caring responsibilities will have a very different structure, but maintaining structure and routine will give you the best opportunity of getting done what you need to. If you are self-isolating but cannot work from home, use this as an opportunity to do tasks around the house, such as those which you have been meaning to for some time.
Even if self-isolating, exercise is important. You can do a whole range of work-outs from home. Why not use those large text-books for weights? Or chairs for dips? Get the music pumping and go for it. There are many free calisthenic guides online to help you along the way. If you do go outside (making sure you maintain social distancing!) I would recommend going for a walk/run between the hours of 10-3. This way you can maximise the amount of vitamin D your body gets while the sun is high in the sky which can help increase mood.
4. Mix it Up
Who doesn’t love Netflix? But, if you are bored at home and feeling a little at a loss, then rather stick to the same-old shows – mix it up. One evening, catch up on TV shows. The next, read the novel that you’ve always promised yourself you would. After that, play games online with friends – which is both fun and social. Haven’t touched your violin in years? Pick it up. Fancy learning a new language? Go for it. Make yourself a list of movies and do a virtual movie night. Draw. Paint. Write. Create. Now is a pretty good time to give it a go.
5. Do What You Can
There is so much going on right now, we need to stick together. The NHS are calling for volunteers. Perhaps offer to help out parents by doing some online teaching. Even calling a friend you think may be feeling the effects of this, there is usually something small we can do a day to help someone. This is the time where we will see the best and worst in people, so let’s all do what we can to bring out the best.
6. Keep Social
Stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues. Have coffee catch-ups on Zoom. Do you have friends you usually message? Call them instead. If you are living alone it is easy to go days without actually speaking aloud. This is so important for a number of reasons, not just for yourself but to the people you are calling. Don’t wait to be reached out to if you’re feeling the effects, you can also do the reaching. On the flip side, if we are reached out to, it is our duty to answer.
7. Information Fatigue
We can find ourselves in a situation where we are reading, watching and talking about news regarding COVID-19. However, what can happen is that we end up feeling down, frustrated, at a loss and/or anxious. There is a lot of information out there, on social media as well as every other form of media. This can all be too much and we can become overwhelmed, or desensitised to it. I would highly recommend allocating a limited amount of time, e.g. 1 hour, looking through news and articles to keep yourself informed, but not so much so that it brings you down. Also, when you catch-up with people, make sure you talk in greater detail about other aspects of life, or how they are coping broadly, rather than solely COVID-19.
With all this extra time indoors, you may find yourself struggling with sleep. So, if you are struggling sleeping, here are a couple small tips in addition to what has already been said:
- Limit screen time before bed
- Get showered and dressed when you wake as if you were going out (even if you aren’t)
- Do work at a table, go into the lounge area for entertainment/relaxation (especially if you live in a studio flat), which will help you associate different areas with different activities (bed=sleep, desk=work, etc.).
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have found it helpful. What techniques have you put in place to stay motivated during this time? Please send a message or comment/share any thoughts, questions, ideas. Remember, stay safe! I look forward to hearing from you.