Due to the current world events- a number of countries, businesses and other services shut down, and so did our personal lives in many ways. All of us are in the daunting situation of breaking away from the normal schedule of our everyday life. Worrying about our work, businesses, bills, health -all the way down to the small details like not being able to enjoy some of the everyday things we’d be counting on to boost our spirits, such as trips, meeting friends or just enjoying some sunshine in a park.
Due to the disrupt of schedules and inability to perform certain tasks outside of home, one can easily slip away into stagnant life and later …misery. Laying in bed days on end, watching TV shows, drowning in negative news, worries and frustration. Not knowing what day it is and loosing hope that this situation will ever end.
For myself, being a photographer & traveller with health issues, I was put in not-much of an ideal situation. Losing months of planned work, trips, meetings, along with losing my important health appointments. But I am a strong believer in making the best out of the worst. Seeing positivity in the tough times and truly enjoying the small things.
So, with that let’s jump into this guide. We all have different interests, and all of these are based on the things I specifically decided to do during the quarantine to pass my time- so I really hope you’ll find something that grasps your interest and helps you stay sane during this time.
1. Make a list! All things you want to do after the quarantine!
Making a list is a great way to keep focused on the goals. Therefore, I recommend making a first list for all the things you’d want to do after the quarantine. Anything you miss? Any favourite places or favourite things to do that you can’t because of quarantine? Any plans that you had to cancel? Write it all down. Make a list so that when quarantine lifts, you can begin action straight away and meanwhile, have something to look forward to. Having it in writing solidifies the goal and may make you feel more in control as well as gives you some positivity about the future. Put down things as simple as: ‘go on a hike in a forest’ or ‘have a barbeque with a family’. But also focus on bigger goals, perhaps business goals or life goals.
That being said, make daily lists also. Whether it contains an extensive list of things to do, or a couple of things such as: ”wash the dishes, put laundry on, have a bath.” Daily goals, however small – will keep you focused and refrain you from getting into a stagnant state.
2. Books & Shows & Podcasts
Though I don’t recommend doing this all day and every day. Watch that movie, TV show that you always wanted to see. Reach for a book you’ve always wanted to read but you never had time to. Listen to podcasts or books while you cook your meals or while cleaning – we are all socially isolating so a lot of us are hungry for social interactions. Listening to podcasts, books or radio while you’re at home can make you feel less alone and take you out of your own head.
3. Learn New Things (eg. recipes)
We all miss our favourite restaurants, bars & cafes. Now that we have some time on our hands, why not try to cook something you miss? I’m not a big cook or a foodie. In fact, I hate cooking. But one thing that hit me hard was all the coffee shops shutting down, including Starbucks. I thought my life would be chaos after that, as coffee keeps me sane on the daily. So, I learned how to do my own caramel Frappuccino, Cappuccinos, Lattes etc. I actually started cooking more as well which helps me be more aware of ingredients and keeping things healthy. Doing this will not only provide you with something that you miss, but also you’re learning something new and can feel really achieved.
There are other examples of things you can learn on a daily. Why not download some online courses or watch some Youtube tutorials on things you’re passionate about? Perhaps it could be work related, a new hobby or a new language. With the internet the options are limitless. Learn something new, engage your brain, utilize this time and feel achieved by doing so.
4. Exercise/ Keep a Healthy Diet
Being stuck at home is challenging not just for mind but for body also. Even if you’re not an active person who attends gym or exercises regularly- your body is still used to moving about whether it’s walking around your workplace, going shopping or running errands. The more you stop moving, the stiffer you’ll become, the more tired and achy you will feel and the harder it will be to get back into a routine after the quarantine is over. Not to mention you’ll also be more prone to catching a virus. So, why not try some workout routines at home? You don’t need a gym or special equipment. There is a lot of free youtube workout videos that vary in style, intensity and time. You can spend some time doing stretches and train for strength or cardio. You can also do workouts that interline with your favourite sport. If it’ different sports, martial arts, yoga… there’s plenty of exercises that can aid your form in that particular sport so that you don’t lose progress in it while being stuck at home.
With all of that, another thing that is important is diet. It’s easy to binge on comfort foods while being at home or eat more because you’re bored. Make sure to eat healthy- you have more free time now, why not try to prep some meals? Or try new healthier recipes? The diet is important to keep your body strong for the duration of quarantine and protect you from the virus.
If you’ve never been into exercises routines or healthy eating, this is the perfect time to adapt some good habits.
5. Tidy the house/Organize
Having a clean- living space aids mental health greatly, though we don’t always have time to keep everything clean amidst daily life duties. This is the perfect time to tackle that. Those messy drawers you haven’t opened in a while, paperwork that isn’t organised, finances that you haven’t reviewed in a long time or maybe just organising your computer files or hard drives? The possibilities are there. This is a great time to see what you have at home that you don’t need and chuck it or get it ready for donation. It’s a win-win where you become more aware of how much you have and how much you don’t need, while creating a tidy and more peaceful space for yourself.
6. Meditate/ Relax / Get some fresh air
Through this stressful time, where we are bombarded with negative news every day, it’s important to detach yourself from the chaos of the outside world and do some mind-clearing. Switch off news and social media for a bit and dedicate some peaceful time to yourself. There are so many ways you can meditate or relax. It could be gentle stretches, some mind-journaling, quieting down with some relaxing music, taking a bath, using various meditation guide videos & apps, filling some colouring books (like the awesome ones for adults) …among many more. We’re all different and relax in different ways. And if you’re unsure which way you relax, this is the best time to try everything and see what works for you. Not only it will help you keep sane but also become beneficial for the future.
Don’t forget about fresh air though! If you’re in the UK like me, you are still allowed one walk a day. USE IT. Your body and mind need oxygen to function properly. Ever heard of going on a walk to clear your head? It works. It helps revitalize your brain and body. Just make sure to stay far apart from other people and grab a hand sanitiser with you. I also open all the windows once a day or two and air the house out. Just make sure you get plenty of fresh air each day.
7. Do something creative!
A lot of my creative work was cancelled or postponed due to the virus. So, to fill that void in my life I started lots of creative projects to fill my time as well as fuel my mind and soul. It can be anything, drawing, painting, editing, diy projects, decorating, writing. For me, current creative focus is on re-connecting with drawing/painting which I didn’t have time to do in years as well as scrap-booking. I’ve also always wanted to try some jewellery making and this was a great opportunity to give it a go. Apart from that I had a lot of ideas on diy projects to decorate my house, so I started doing that one project at a time. It’s so fun and a great emotional outlet as well as fulfilling! Try it!
8. Stay connected
Being at home, far away from friends and loved ones can be so lonely and depressing. Luckily, we live in a great time, where technology allows us to see and speak with people from across the globe with one click of a button. Face time with your loved ones, send some messages to friends you haven’t had time to speak to for a while, re-connect with people. Organise some group chats, group video calls and talk together, watch some movies together, maybe play some games, show off your pets, your cooking or your newly organised drawer, share some of your life with people.
9. Have fun!
It’s important to not forget to have fun during this time! If you live with people/kids- why not organise some games at home? How about a movie night, game night or a date night with your significant other? So many possibilities. I for one, got really into playing board games. I had a bunch laying there for parties or when people come over but would rarely make the time to enjoy them outside of these occasions. If you live alone why not do some puzzles or play one player games? You can also join some online games or apps that allow you to play with other people, or as mentioned in above point -organise some facetime friendly games for you, your family or your friends (our preference is quizzes). Utilise this chaotic time to have some fun with your loved ones.
10. Be Kind/ Keep Positive /Enjoy Little Things
Very important point is that although you might feel lost, stressed or spent thanks to this situation, remember to be a light for the others. It’s easy to be negative and bitter, but this will only bring more bitterness and turn into a vicious circle of negativity. Enjoy and appreciate the little things and spread positivity. Although you might feel awful with the situation, you can make someone’s day a bit better…. And soon someone could return that favour to you and carry it on to others. Send someone a heart-warming message or a funny meme. Send some thanks and show gratitude to the hospital workers, shop workers, artists who keep you entertained and other people who may need it. Maybe get involved even more by helping out those in need, like donating some food to elderly, making some care packages for those stuck at home sick or little thank you gifts for the hospital workers. Be considerate, not selfish. We are all in this together, and we get out of this together. Sharing some positivity, compassion and help will not only aid the people you’re helping greatly but also help you feel more positive about yourself. So go on, and sprinkle some positivity everywhere!
I had so much fun creating this blog with an artist @silentinknat (check her out on instagram), who did such a great job illustrating me here!
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Thanks for reading, I hope this guide helps you! Be brave, stay safe & keep going!