Social media certainly gives the impression that we are all falling apart at the seams from isolation. And maybe that’s true, but for those who would rather that wasn’t the case, there a few simple and practical ways of ensuring that you don’t tumble down the rabbit hole during this quarantine.
Timetabling and Making To-do Lists:
This one has been talked about many times before, but I don’t think people realise how effective it is. Manage your time, don’t just go with the flow. As I’m sure we are all aware by now, our body clocks can get thrown when we ‘go with the flow’ i.e. wake up at 1pm, lounge around till 8, eat dinner at 11pm. Giving yourself a checklist of things to complete and a time table by which to complete them will make you feel a more productive and less like you’ve wasted a day.
Making a to-do lists is similar to timetabling. But where timetabling organises time slot for everything, making a to-do list lays out all of the individual tasks that you want to complete throughout the day. And it is without a doubt, one of the best tools in the ‘coping with isolation’ handbook, it immediately makes you feel more productive- the more you tick off, the better you feel.
The mental effects of this method are that sometimes when we lie awake restless at night, it’s because – whether we realise it or not- we don’t feel worthy of sleep. We feel like we’ve done nothing all day, so what do we need to get rest from? Especially if the events of the day, (eating, sleeping, watching tv,) are exactly the same as the events of night-time. We’ve been conditioned to separate daytime, (working, professionalism, structured, ordered) from the night time (relaxed, disordered, laid back, cosy). If we keep the events of two separate, we enable ourselves to feel more relaxed at night.
Scheduling Some Me-time:
Outside of quarantine, we don’t schedule me-time, because our in ordinary lives, we don’t have the luxury of spare time. So, when we get any me-time, we can’t enjoy it because we’re rushing back to get other things done. But now that we have nothing but time, put some aside for yourself. Look after yourself, vow that you’ll come out of this better than you came into it. But the key is to schedule it, don’t just do it sporadically. Like separating day from night, scheduling me-time enables you to feel like this self-care is just as essential to your daily timetable, as finishing that work report you have to do or cooking dinner. You also get to kill 2 birds with 1 stone: your relaxed and your ticking things of your to-do list.
Don’t take this as a holiday. It far less relaxing than a holiday could ever be, and it will make you crave the stress of normality. If you make this a relaxing work environment, you still get to take it easy and appreciate the difference between working like this and working in the office. And when an actual holiday comes, around you can appreciate it again.
Broaden Your horizons:
The likelihood that you’re going to be fluent in Spanish or Mandarin in the next three months, though it is possible, is probably unrealistic. But now is an excellent time to start looking into acquiring new skills or starting that new business ventures you’ve been thinking about. Attaining these goals or using these skills in real life will probably take a while to process given the uncertain state of the economy, but that means you now have all of this time to research thoroughly and to get to you know your craft or market inside out.
Connect with people:
The people who reach out to you during these times, even is it’s just to say “stay safe”, are important, and, equally, and you can be that important person as well, by reaching out to others. Physically isolating, doesn’t mean emotionally isolating. And while you’re wrapped up in your own world of trying not to get sick, caring for dependants, looking after a house, working, and self-care, it’s easy to forget that there are people around you who may be falling deeper down the rabbit hole. Now that they have no outside influences to distract them, it is likely that they can become consumed by the misery or anxiety of their own lives, contained within their four walls, and hearing from some who cares about them could make all the difference to their day. So, take some time to call on loved ones and friends. See how they are, see if they need advice or someone to talk to about anything going on with them. Or maybe you’re the one in need of emotional care. Call up your friends, you’re family, and surround yourself with them emotionally, if not physically, and remind yourself that your still part of a social group, and a society, and when this time should only make you stronger.