Do you find yourself working from home and functionally quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic? The combination of these isolating elements can be tough to get through without losing a bit of sanity. Even seasoned remote workers may start to feel trapped in this time of extreme social restrictions. Here are a few quick tips to navigate our current reality.
Create a Routine
It doesn’t have to match your normal work routine. In fact, it most likely shouldn’t, you should take advantage of the time you are saving by working from home. Schedule regular time for self-care when you would normally be traveling to work. Even 10-15 minutes to read an article, listen to music, enjoy some coffee, meditate, or sleep in can make a big difference! Other than that keep a regular schedule for when you start and stop working, take your breaks, eat lunch, etc. Routine helps us feel more comfortable in our environments and brings a sense of normalcy to our day-to-day.
Get Ready Every Day
I know it is tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, but it can make working from home (and being quarantined) more difficult. Get ready as if you’re going to work, it lets your body know it is time to be awake and productive! I am not in the camp that you have to dress as you would for work, but changing from your pajamas signals that you are ready to start your day.
Even if those plans don’t involve leaving the house, scheduling your week gives you something to look forward to and helps the week progress more naturally. You can plan to watch a movie you’ve been too busy to see, schedule a game night, prepare special dinners, really any activity that gives you a break from what is happening outside our homes.
Be Virtually Social
Speaking of making plans, set up social engagements with your friends. Virtual happy hours are easy to pull off, you can support local business by ordering take-out or delivery from a local restaurant and having a virtual meal with friends, and book clubs are a great way to stay connected virtually! You might be surprised how quickly virtual hangouts can comfort feelings of isolation.
Fresh air can do a world of good. Make sure to get some time outside either taking a walk or even just stepping outside at home. Don’t forget the importance of sunlight, especially as the weather starts to (hopefully) brighten up.
The combination of gyms being closed and working from home can be devastating for physical activity. Even if gyms were open or you didn’t go to the gym, it is easy to forget how many steps we take just getting around at work and being out and about. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to get some steps in. You can do simple exercises on your own or join a virtual workout program. If you’re feeling tired or lethargic while working take a walk or get some other exercise. The nice thing about social isolation is not as many people can see how silly we look doing jumping jacks so go at it! In all seriousness, not everyone has to start a new workout routine but being mindful of maintaining physical activity will have a positive impact on your mentality.
Ultimately, despite social isolation, we are all in this together. Getting through this “new normal” will require adaptation and resilience, luckily we can set a good foundation for getting through this period of working from home and quarantine. Making a proactive effort will be essential to our collective mental health during this pandemic. Be kind to each other and yourself and comment if you have other suggestions for managing our current situation!
Written by Gabe Murillo – Research Manager