Well we are now hopefully mid-way through enforced quarantine for the coronavirus breakout. I'm praying (unironically) the current shakeup to our daily lives will slow down, however, I think my optimism will be short-lived.
We may be in isolation and quarantining for a while, and we need to expect this is a new normal. With this in mind, we knocked our heads together (from a distance of course) to map out 5 ways to keep your sanity throughout the coronavirus lockdowns.
As much as you can within the restrictions of course. For the majority of us, our daily lives have been thrown into turmoil with office and store closures, leaving that vast office working cohort wondering how to successfully work from home.
Freelancers and entrepreneurs alike are ahead of the game when it comes to the working from the home landscape, and the 9-5 at home worker can follow in there well-trodden path. Routine is massively important to ensure you remain sane as you transition to the at home space.
While this may not look like committing to the morning commute every day, or going to your favourite cafe spot between meetings. However, maintaining a skeleton schedule will help you maintain some level of normal. Rather than commuting to work, get up, get dressed and go for a walk. Then you arrive home to get straight to your home office (or couch) and start work. Utilise local cafes to get your coffee fix and take those breaks according to your normal routine.
Maintain your regular meeting schedule and stay connected to work colleagues throughout the day, message, WhatsApp, Slack, or whatever means necessary to maintain a connection to the people you need. Don't silo your self because it is possible, or fall in a trap of waking up 5 mins before you have to start work. Finish work at the same time you normally would, close your laptop and walk away, FAST. You must create distance between work and general life, finishing work according to your normal schedule is the best way to do this.
If you're a freelancer then you're an old pro at the work at home schedule, soldier on.
Here are some great schedule apps that will allow you to be a planning warrior
I hate exercise, with a passion. I hate nothing more than slamming the album clock early and gearing up for a workout. I HATE IT. But I still force my self to be active. As a freelancer, I know all too well how easy it is to fall into a trap of a whole week without physical activity. It is easily done when you're trapped in the on-location for all your daily activities. You will start with an excuse 'I will do it tomorrow', then a week has gone by and the most physical exercise you have achieved is straining your self to open a jar of instant pasta sauce. It's a very simple slop.
The trick is to position exercise as a work task, a must-do if you want to collect a paycheck. Using this approach ensures you factor exercise into your 'work-day' and force you to facture the task into your schedule. Not to mention the bi-product of exercise will allow you to remain focused when you are work and keep a regular health routine.
Any form of exercise is great, even going for a 10min walk can completely change your mindset. If you can't manage a 2-hour daily session at a home gym you might have to get thinking outside the box to get your activity. Lookout side your normal routine and explore options with the lack of gyms. HIIT workouts, pilates, yoga, cardio and body lifting are all perfect work out for the home environment. Most gyms have adapted quickly offering at home work out and there are several apps designed for self-motivation.
I know everyone is screaming 'together apart' and stay connected. This mantra appeals for connections outside of your home, which have been completely severed. However, our resident connections are facing a different challenge, too much time together. For most of use, we have gone from a separation between our work lives and our home lives to the two blending together in complete chaos. The type of chaos that is going to end a lot of relationships over the next few months.
If you will want to be talking to the people or person you live with post Coronavirus, we all need time alone. You might start missing the train trip home in solitude in a month. Execute whatever you have to do to create separation. Work in different rooms, exercise separately, do separate zoom social meeting, you need to be separate at some point of the day to make up for the time apart you have lost from the daily work trip.
Have separate schedules and work to connect with your residential people in quality time together, rather the just co-existing together.
If we only had to handle a global pandemic, then maybe, just maybe, we could collectively handle the tragedy of coronavirus. However, the issues we are all facing are coming thick and fast, I can't recall a more daunting time in my lifetime. Along with infectious diseases, we are facing global economic crisis, mass unemployment and the breakdown of a sense of normal we have all grown accustomed too.
Our panic is going well beyond our working from home challenges, even if we don't acknowledge mass fear, we can definitely feel its collective effect.
Even if you are someone who has always shrugged off mental health, we all need to take ownership of it right now. Overwise you want to survive the unknown future without managing this vital part of your daily life.
First of all, you have permission to freak out, you have permission from me, from the world or from whoever you need permission from. Allow your self to feel the fear, anxiety and panic. The acknowledgement will be your friend in this process. Once you have worked through the fear and invited into your life, you can learn how to manage it. Ignoring these feeling is not an option in time like this, we need to learn how to co-exist with fear.
Check-in with your self, daily. Access how your feeling, figure out what are the next best steps to keep your self balanced and leave headed. Don't lean too hard into temptations of the likes of food, drinking or drugs. Although tempting to navigate quarantine in a sedated hiatus, this period is not a party weekend we can quickly forget. Our daily actions and mindset will have a massive impact on how we navigate our future post coronavirus.
Mediation, time to our selves, exercise and rest are simple steps we can all take to keep our mental health balanced. Know that help is there if you require it, feeling confused and stressed right now is normal.
Contradictory to my previous point about creating space between you and your co-habitators, we need to remain connected to our wider community, with all our social interactions being cut off, a connection with friends may be a challenge. Digital engagement is your only option, get on zoom conferences, video call loved ones, and stay digitally connected as required.
Finally, I want to say, we can get through this, we will hopefully be looking back on coronavirus at the end of 2020 and comment "remember quarantine, that was fun"
Stay strong people we can get through this together.