Creating and Sticking to Routines During Quarantine
Life in the time of COVID-19 is far from ordinary. Being under lockdown might well be the most challenging part. Without the routine of work or school, the days begin to blend into one another, and boredom starts to set in.
We like to think of ourselves as spontaneous creatures, but humans are creatures of habit. One of the best ways to stay sane during quarantine is to create new routines and stick to them.
Start by replicating as much of your “normal” routine as possible. Get up at the usual time. Check your phone messages and social media quickly, then have your breakfast.
Get dressed in clothes other than your pajamas. If it helps, have a set of informal “day” clothing and activewear distinct from your sleeping clothes. It doesn’t matter what you wear. The idea here is to create a clear distinction between work time and relaxation time.
Spend your time during the day as productively as possible. If you’re still working at your job, great. If not, schedule time during the day for checking the want ads, polishing up your résumé, and applying for work. If you don’t need a new job, consider using this time to upskill yourself or to work on a project you’ve had on the back burner for years.
Either way, set yourself some “work time” during the day. This strategy prevents the days from blurring together too much.
Managing Your Mental Health
Managing your mental health during this stressful period is crucial. It’s perfectly normal to feel fine one day, then have the COVID blues the next. Here are some tips to help you deal with the ups and downs.
- Try cooking or baking: Do you love cooking or baking? Use this time off to teach your children how to do so. If you don’t have children, try those recipes that you’ve never gotten around to before.
- Keep a gratitude journal: Every morning, when you wake up, write down five things in your life about which you feel gratitude. This exercise reminds you of all the simple things you might take for granted. It’s a great way to beat the blues at the start of the day.
- Learn something new: Enroll in that online course you’ve always wanted to try, or look for videos on YouTube. There is no shortage of educational content online, and much of it is free.
- Switch off your social media: Where did you hear the last scary thing about COVID-19? There’s a good chance it was on social media. The pandemic is frightening, but our society will survive it. If you check social media constantly, you might feel that your world is ending, however. Involve yourself in something other than doomsday scenarios.
- Have a tech-free Tuesday: Follow up meat-free Mondays with tech-free Tuesdays. Choose whatever day works for you and block out some time away from the TV, phone, and computer. Find other ways to spend your time and have fun.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule: When you have a long day of doing nothing ahead of you, do you binge-watch your favorite shows all night and then sleep until noon? Disrupting your sleep patterns will leave you feeling worse and increase the chances that you’ll overeat. Normalize your routine with a standard bedtime.
Fun Activities During Quarantine
Once you’ve counted every ceiling board and brick in your home, it might seem like there’s nothing to do. Keep boredom at bay using these top tips.
Keep Your Brain Occupied
Start by overhauling your finances. How might you cut expenses and save money? Check the rates that you’re paying to all your service providers, such as phone, cable, utilities, and insurance. Most providers offer a choice of plans—are you on the most cost-effective one? Compare prices from different electric suppliers and insurers to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Take things a step further by seeing where you might trim expenses so you can save more for your future.
Consider Starting a Side Hustle
What are your hobbies? Is there one that might bring in some extra money for you? You now have the time to do all the research that you need to.
Take Up an Old Hobby
Haul out your guitar or tuba and rediscover your love of playing an instrument. Your neighbors are your captive audience.
Get Some Mental Exercise
Puzzles and brain games keep your brain in great shape. Now’s the time to finally beat a Rubik’s Cube. Alternatively, consider making up a jigsaw puzzle or finish a crossword. Check out Lumosity for cognitive brain games, or learn some mind-sharpening online solitaire card games like FreeCell.
Start Blogging or Journaling
Send your wisdom out into the universe via a blog, or keep it private in your journal. Write about whatever you like. Who knows? You might find an audience and make some income through Google’s Adsense. You can even use this time to start that novel, finally.
Have a Pamper Party
Keep the guest list down to just one–yourself. Give yourself a face mask, try a manicure, soak in a nice hot bath. Whatever your idea of pampering is, now is the time to indulge yourself.