CORONAVIRUS: Ten Ways to Utilise Your Time During Self-Isolation and Working From Home

Coronavirus - What to Do

The coronavirus is certainly creating an uncertain time for many of us. From governments and politicians, to health workers and individuals. The government have asked for people where possible to stay away from clubs, cafes, bars, theatres etc and work from home if possible. 

So, how can you best use this time, and make sure you adapt well, keep your mental health and physical health in this time? Here are a few ideas for you. There are tons more of course, but here’s ten for starters. 

1. Exercise at Home (or Outside)

I’m cancelling my yoga and gym visits from today. It sucks yeah. Especially as someone who’s been working from home for the majority of the last 7 years, it’s my one escape. However, now is a time for us all to work together to delay and reduce the peak of this pandemic to help those must vulnerable. We all have our part to play. They say, if you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.

So exercising at home is the option. There’s plenty of free apps and YouTube video using both body weight and equipment to get you going. I personally will be utilising my rebounder (as I always do), and I have things like Bodylastics resistance bands, a Swiss ball, pull up bar, foam rollers, yoga practice and more to keep me busy. I struggle with the motivation to do it myself a lot of the time – especially the yoga self practice and so I know I won’t be in the best shape (although maybe I’m wrong on that), but at least it’s something. 

Even if that’s not your thing, then exercise in some way outside. If you have a garden, great. If not, we can still (for now) go for walks. So do that remembering to stay at least 2 meters from others. If you have to walk past someone, I just hold my breath (good practice anyway) and move on. Try to walk in nature. As it gets warmer try and incorporate being barefoot on the grass where it’s safe to do so. 

2. Watch comedy

In these trying times, laughter can often be a great remedy. An upbeat spirit is so important. It’s also important not to get too swamped by all the news (more on that below). Perhaps watching a comedy film or stand up before bed instead? Old classics like Monty Python, Only Fools and Horses, Allo Allo, Dad’s Army, or whatever your flavour is. Make use of Amazon Prime, NowTV and Netflix to help cheer you up!

3. Phone a friend every day

Phone, not text (although do that too). Phone a friend each day. Same one, different one. Re-connect with people you have lost contact with, or defaulted to texting or emailing with. While we might not be able to physically touch people much at the moment (or really at all), the sound of a person’s voice is the next best thing. WhatsApp allows for up to four video chats in group mode. There’s Skype, and Zoom too. And lots of others. FaceTime for example. Voice and visual can be a winning combo. We all have something to talk about, so get in touch with your friends, your old friends, your family and anyone else you feel will help you. Although you might start the conversation off about the Coronavirus (hard not to), try and move it on to other things too. 

4. Study online courses

If you are working from home and in a large city like London, it’s possible you might have an extra hour or three each day due to not needing to commute. Sure, you can exercise, sleep or spend extra time with the family. All great ideas. You could also invest in learning a topic that interests you. Platforms such as Udemy have lots of courses. Now might be a time to focus on learning on how to build your immune system, for example by boosting your sleep (I created just such a course a number of years ago as I started to focus on sleep), or your overall energy and wellbeing (again, this is my wheelhouse, and my over-arching system called The Leadership BEAT Model has an online course available too). Learn whatever you want.

5. Read books

Now you finally have time to start reading some of the books that have been on your list or bookshelf for years. This obstacle (coronavirus) can be turned into an opportunity. An opportunity to read the books you’ve wanted to read, to learn, to get in shape, to do all sorts of things. Reading books will take you away from the gloom of the pandemic (if you see it as such) for a few hours anyway. And away from the screens too if you use old school books.

6. Say Thank You!

Say thank you to people you might meet providing you will valuable public services. The shop assistant at Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s who can’t work from home and is there to help ensure you can buy what you need. The rubbish (garbage) collection teams, or road sweepers. The police you pass on the street. The taxi driver, the bus driver (if you must take a bus). Some people can work from home and many can’t. Many have to (at least for now) work so we can still get our food, our deliveries, our post. We don’t know how long this is all going to last, but one thing we can all do, and have in our power, is to say Thank You. 

7. Clear out the clutter

Do you have lots of clutter and mess around? Been meaning to tidy the garage or get rid of a few things. Now might be the perfect opportunity to do so. It is spring after all, and a Spring Clean is a thing right now. 

8. Sleep In

Sleep in. Don’t set an alarm and just wake when your body needs it. If you are not commuting and can log on when you need, it could be a perfect opportunity to allow the body to decide, rather than an alarm clock, when you should wake up. Good quality sleep is one of the course things you can do for your immune system, so it’s worth making it a study. I did, and as a result wanted to share what I learnt with others, hence creating the Sleep Soundly online course. 

9. Have a news buffer

We all want to stay informed during this time. However, too much of this news can be disturbing, overwhelming and actually not serve you. Your mental health is vitally important at this time, as stress and anxiety and fear about things you have little control over will diminish your immune system. Decide – in advance – how much news is really enough to stay on top of things and when you will get it in. My advice is not to have any news for at least an hour after you wake up, and for now at least, 3 hours before you go to bed. I’m experimenting with looking into everything just between the hours of 12pm and 6pm, and really only at 12pm for 10-20 mins and then again around 5pm for the same to be done by 6pm. I inevitably go more than 30 minutes at the end of the day. Find out what might work for you. Maybe it’s 5 times a day but only for 5 minutes each time. Whatever it is, try not to allow it to be random. A great idea would be to turn off news notifications, or even removing the news apps from your phone so you don’t make it a default easy action to look at it. 

10. Start a Gratitude Log

Being thankful in life has been shown in multiple studies to be beneficial on so many levels. Lower levels of stress, increased levels of happiness and health and more. If you don’t already have a gratitude practice, perhaps start one. For the last 9 years I write three things I’m grateful for each evening before bed in a dedicated book. And for the last year, my family and I also share three things we are each grateful for in our family WhatsApp group. It’s a great way to stay connected to what’s going on in our lives. We don’t necessarily list what we are grateful for that day. It could be in life in general, and repeated. It just brings us together more. 

The situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented and unparalleled for pretty much all of us. I have utmost confidence in people banding together, helping the vulnerable, looking after themselves and others and us all coming through this as a united human race in a stronger, more thankful and connected way than when we went in. 

We are entering turbulent and uncharted territories, so now, more than ever, it’s important to keep a level head and work together to support one another. 

Stay strong, stay super all!

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