Thanks to COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus, home quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing have become the new “normal.” With schools and many workplaces closed, this is a major departure from our typical day-to-day lives — and we still don’t know how long it will last.
While it can be difficult to make sense of this new reality, it’s important to keep our lives moving forward, to support our loved ones and community, to prioritize self-care, and to make the best of where we’re at. If you’re struggling to find meaning and cub boredom during your time at home, remember: We’re all in this together! Check out these strategies to make the best of your experience.
Note. If you’re feeling anxious during this tumultuous time, please check out our 7 tips for managing anxiety and uncertainty.
While it can be tempting to sit in your PJs all day, working, eating, and sleeping when the mood strikes, living without a routine can easily become exhausting. Without a set schedule, the days can seem endless; you may start to feel like you never have a real break. Take a few minutes to map out a schedule that closely resembles your pre-coronavirus life: Waking, showering/getting ready, making meals, doing work or homework, exercising, catching up with friends, and relaxing.
Whether you’re working for your job or school projects, it can be tempting to feel like you need to make yourself available 24/7 since everyone knows you’re always home. But, setting healthy boundaries is vital for your mental health. Communicate your availability to colleagues and peers, and try not to check or respond to messages or emails sent outside that time.
Consider what you want to achieve during your work or personal time, and take a few minutes regularly to write down goals. These can include big long-term goals, like learning a language or instrument; monthly goals, like reading a certain number of books; weekly goals, like exercising a certain number of hours; daily goals, like finishing a project; or small task-related goals, like doing the dishes or making your bed. Check off progress as you go and keep a record of what you’ve accomplished. Measuring your progress will help keep you motivated.
Try to mentally reframe the idea of “social distancing” as “physical distancing.” Just because we’re all stuck in our respective homes doesn’t mean that we need to live in a vacuum. In fact, this is a perfect time to catch up with old and new friends alike. Use video chat tools like Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, or Zoom to set up regular check-ins with your friends. And get creative: Host a virtual costume contest, break out facemasks and have a beauty party, start a book club, or plan to discuss a movie or TV series. It’s also a great time to reach out to older family members who will be eager to hear a friendly voice.
Don’t let your time at home turn you into a couch potato. A limitless number of online workout classes are available. And don’t worry if traditional exercise routines aren’t your thing. There are many ways to stay active from the comfort of your living room, including dance classes and hula hooping. If you’re an aspiring runner, consider Couch to 5K. If you live near somewhere with nature trails (where it’s possible to practice safe social-distancing), head out for a hike.
Now is a great time to pick up a new hobby or skill, and an array of free resources are available online to keep your intellectual and creative juices flowing. Use your creativity to connect by joining the Free2BeME Virtual Art Party! Pick up a new language or instrument; learn to sew, knit, or crochet; master photography; brush up on career-boosting skills; make your own website; or bring self-care to the next level with DIY beauty products. And, put the instant noodles aside — there’s never been a better time to learn how to cook.
One of the best ways to find meaning in life is by giving back to others. Reach out to organizations that share your interests — LGBTQ rights, seniors, children, animals — and ask how you can help. Volunteer with your local food bank, give blood, or offer to buy groceries or run errands for seniors in your neighborhood. There are many ways to volunteer online — from writing uplifting cards to providing professional skills. Gamify giving back at FreeRice.com or support nonprofits (including Free2Luv) by answering simple survey questions at 1Q.com.
Staying home doesn’t limit your ability to experience and appreciate the arts. Listen to music and check out live video streams by your favorite artists; take advantage of virtual museum tours and connect with the literary community online. Sign up online for a library card to access books and movies from home. Listen to audiobooks. Ask your friends to share their creative projects.
Gardening is a great way to relieve stress — and an opportunity to connect with the natural world. If you have an outdoor space, research the best plants to grow based on your climate and preferences. If you’re in an apartment or don’t have a yard, you can still enjoy beautiful houseplants or create an indoor veggie garden. And, gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby: You can even start your garden with kitchen scraps.
Almost all of us have a topic we’d love to nerd out on — from nutrition to historical events and people to authors to video games. There’s never been a better time to lose yourself in exploring one of your passions. Whether you choose to use this knowledge to write a paper, set up a website, or simply for your own satisfaction, exploring things you love is always a great use of time.
As you think about which of these ideas will be most helpful for you, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this situation: We’re all figuring things out as we go. Trust your instincts, remember that it’s OK if things don’t fall into place right away, and know that Free2Luv is here for you every step of the way. Connect with our community on Facebook and Twitch to get support, meet like-minded people, and share your experiences. And, find out how you can get involved.
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