I never thought in my lifetime that something like ‘this’ would happen. A raging pandemic has taken over our world, thousands sick, businesses forced to shut down, so many people out of work, norms shifted, families separated and lives lost. My heart goes out to all who are working on the front lines to keep us fed, healthy and surviving. I appreciate YOU so much. In addition to this, stay home if you can. Stay home for the elderly and the compromised. Limit your exposure to limit the spread.
We’ve all had to shift our norm and I have learned, and learned quickly, that I am not meant to work from home. It’s just not for me. Below are tips that have helped me to get into a routine, have helped my mental health and help me keep some sort of norm through it all.
Create a schedule
Creating a schedule and holding yourself accountable will not only help you be more productive but helps with your mental health. Wake up when your alarm goes off, work for a certain amount of hours, take a lunch break, stop work at a certain time and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Plan your work day / week. If it helps you to write it down, then write it down! (see next)
Write it down or talk to someone
Start a journal. Write something everyday that you are grateful for, something that you will no longer take for granted. Write down how YOU can help, write a letter to a friend, write out your thoughts, your emotions or start keeping a diary. These times can mess with our mental health so be sure that you are finding some way to outlet your feelings. My therapist took to online sessions and boy was this a lifesaver. Being stuck in one place can really mess with your head so take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.
In addition to this (and I also talk more about technology below) reach out to your friends and family. If you need something, call someone or text someone.
Take some YOU time
Create a spa night at home for yourself. I’ve got a great blog post with tips on how to do it! Get into a skincare routine that takes more time to do too. I’ve got a great nighttime one for you to check out. This goes hand in hand with caring for your mental health. Find time to unwind, relax and disconnect from what’s going on in the world right now.
Read the articles, watch the daily news, listen to the podcasts from trusted sources to stay informed. This pandemic is ever changing and changing everyday so stay informed and educated on the new risks. NPR, CNN… Facebook is not a trusted news source. Things may be shared but you should ALWAYS research on your own and double check the facts.
If you need any aid in food stamps, disaster relief loans or health care assistance, you can find most information at https://www.benefits.gov
It’s so easy to lounge around all day in leggings, pajamas or sweatpants but DON’T DO IT! Get ready as if you were leaving for the office. Put on that great pair of denim or that cute hat and sit in your home office. Laugh all you want but trust me, it helps so much and puts me in a mindset of ‘I’m ready for work, this is work, time to work.’ Then at the end of the day you get to take it all off as if you just got home from the office.
Create a workspace
Some may have a home office and that is great but not everyone does. Create a designated space that you can have ‘permanently’ set up. Create a space that does not need to be set up and taken down each day. Designate half of your kitchen table or island as your workspace. Set up a space with whatever it is that you need to do your job. Do you need pens/pencils/highlighters? A mousepad? Calendars? Another monitor? Set it up and leave it. You’re tricking your mind into then thinking that this space is work. When I sit here in this setup, I get work done.
I mean sit on your front porch for an hour, close your eyes and look into the sun for 30 seconds and soak up as much vitamin D as you can! It’s so good for you and your mental health. Hang out in your garden, take a walk, go for a hike, sit by the fire pit, ride your bike. Do any outdoor activity that you can that doesn’t involve interacting with others.
What has helped me is going for a drive. I woke up the other day, got ready for my day (got dressed, did my hair and my makeup) and got in my car and drove as if I was going to work. I didn’t drive all the way there but drove for about 5 minutes then turned around. I then sat at my home office and worked for the day. It was unbelievable how much that helped. I created the illusion of going to work. Try it!
Get aquatinted with technology
Now more than ever we are relaying on technology to be our vice. Download apps like Messenger, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or use FaceTime to connect with those you love. Set up an online date to just catch up or play games. Dice games are great to play. If you have an Alexa or Google Home then play games! Here are great games to play with Alexa.
Most are working from home and need WiFi to do our jobs. Contact your internet provider and bump up your service and speed if you need. Most companies will reimburse you for this. Ask your place of employment first if you cannot commit to covering the additional charges that could come from adding more to your internet service.
If you have to make a stop at the grocery store then wear a mask and gloves. When leaving the store, discard the gloves. Don’t grab your car door handle and steering wheel with the same gloves that you wore all around the grocery store. We now know that COVID-19 can live on surfaces so don’t give it another surface to live on.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and do it often. I always sing the ABC’s when I’m washing my hands but you can pick your favorite song or just count to 20.
When in doubt, wipe it down. I went through my whole house and wiped down all the door knobs and cabinet handles, my keyboards, mouse, my cell phone and hand rails. Packages too. COVID-19 can live on cardboard. Either wipe it down or leave it outside for 24 hours.
Get it delivered; as much as you can
Almost everything that you need can be delivered. Groceries can be delivered from places like Woodman’s (if you’re local), delivered curbside from places like Target and HyVee, or look into meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Home Chef or Hello Fresh. Google ‘food delivery service’ in your area and choose what is right for you. Amazon is also a great resource to deliver almost everything else you might need. (See point above for all packages being delivered)
Create a to-do list
Outside of your work hours (evenings and weekends) create lists of things you want to get done. I’m talking big ticket projects like painting, building etc. Create a to-do list of the projects you’ve been putting off or that take too long to do. We’ve got nothing but time now! We painted our spare bedroom, touched up all the paint on the trim and windows in our whole house and started all the yard work.
Laundry and cleaning are a continuous thing so put those on another list. Do a day to day list. Mondays are bathrooms, Tuesdays we vacuum, Wednesdays wipe down surfaces, etc. Keep busy and don’t let yourself sit down and get lost in your phone for hours. Set aside TV / Social Media time.
Get creative / organized / try something new
Do a puzzle, paint a picture, draw or sketch something, scrapbook, take photos (I’ve got a great blog post on how to edit your photos), re-arrange a space or gallery wall in your home, plan out or re-design a space in your home, create a video (enter the world of TikTok), look through old photos, plan out your outfits for the week, plant flowers, start a garden, experiment with food and cooking, start baking, re-organize a closet, re-arrange your kitchen, clean out the garage, sew something, learn to play an instrument.
Mental health – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
How to help – https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-how-to-help/
The Optum Emotional Support Help Line at 1-866-342-6892 is free of charge and available to anyone.
What other activities have you been doing to keep busy? Leave me a comment below.
Thank you all so much for reading. Until next time,