Let me begin by saying there is no right or wrong way to self-isolate. Do not feel like whatever emotions you are experiencing are abnormal or unprecedented. While this situation is going to affect every person a little differently, it has been comforting for me to know that many of my friends and family are feeling extremely similar frustrations… Including loneliness, fear, boredom, anxiety, lack of motivation, and the list goes on.
This led me to spend a lot of time reflecting on my habits and researching techniques on how to stay on track during these trying times. I wanted to share some of tips that have been successful for me in hopes that others may be able to relate and benefit in some way.
- Stick to a schedule/routine. You may not have anything to wake up at a certain time for, but set your alarm anyway to hold yourself accountable. To get your day started, read a book, go make breakfast, meditate, and do whatever you need to do to wake up and activate your mind. I’ve discovered that writing down my tentative schedule for the day (in a place where I can clearly see it) has helped hold myself accountable and motivates me to keep working. It feels fantastic to be able to check off tasks as I complete them as the day goes by. On the other hand, though, do not be afraid to give yourself downtime. While it can be a great exercise to write down a list of things you want to accomplish, don’t let it make you feel guilty that you’re not keeping yourself busy every second of every hour.
- Give yourself praise for the little things. Many of my friends, and myself included, have been so frustrated with their productivity levels. We’ve noticed that we have not been getting as much done as we normally would have if we were at school or at work. It is important to remember that there is a reason that total isolation is one of the worst forms of torture for a human being. We are not meant to be in an environment like this so it really isn’t a surprise that people feel like they are slacking. It is going to take some time to adjust to these circumstances and to figure out what will be the most effective routine for us. Make sure you are giving yourself praise for any projects you complete. Progress is still progress, no matter how small!
- Self-care. When people hear the term “self-care”, they think of face masks, mani/pedis, and a hot bath. While self-care can certainly look like this, the version of self-care that I’m trying to practice is mindfulness and heightening my self-awareness. Like all of you, I am isolated with my racing mind, my body, and the long list of tasks I have to complete. It has certainly been a challenge to not let insecurities and anxiety sabotage my thoughts. Our brain doesn’t have an off switch and it can be very easy to fall into a rabbit hole of self-doubt and overthinking. Understand that these concerns are stemming from isolation, and are most likely not warranted. The world we live in moves so fast, and this is probably the only opportunity we will have in our lifetime where nearly everything in our outside world stands still. Take this opportunity to become more aware of who you really are and to show every part of yourself unconditional love. When you wake up in the morning, try to come up with 3 things you are grateful for, and 3 things you love about yourself. Try to take a step back from your usually fast-paced life and figure out what activities you miss the most, or what activities you really don’t miss at all. This is an incredible time for you to evaluate where, or with who, you have been spending your energy, and if this is still the best path for you to take. Reflect on decisions/mistakes, accept them, and heal from them. Every single decision you have ever made has led you to this present moment and shaped you into the amazing person that you are. Love yo-self and the journey you’ve been on!!
- Utilize your phone/social media. Do not be afraid to text/call a friend if you’re struggling. Whether you need help with something specific or you just want to reach out to have a conversation because you miss them (or if you just miss human interaction in general), go for it! Chances are, they’re probably bored and would love to catch up with you too.
- Pick up a new hobby or do something creative! More frequently than I would like to admit, I have ran into some major creativity blocks during quarantine. This has definitely made it difficult for me to work on projects or even do little things like clean my room. If you keep running into this feeling, take a break. Make your bed, go for a walk, stretch, get your body moving, or do something creative like drawing, painting, or journaling. Exercises like these can help you stay in the moment and can ease your mind when you’re feeling restless. Meditation is an especially great practice to get into right now. The app store/YouTube is filled with all different kinds of practices, depending on what you’re searching for. Look into a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. Learn a new language, develop your professional skills on LinkedIn Learning, learn how to cook your favorite meal, take a new class (a lot of online courses have been discounted or are totally free right now), read a happy book, repaint your room, try a new kind of workout, the list is endless.
Like I said before, there will never be another opportunity where our whole world is essentially standing still. Let’s try our hardest to make sure we come out of this quarantine as kinder, stronger, and more self-aware versions of ourselves. I want to emphasize again, however, that there is no correct or incorrect way to spend your time. My goal with this post is to encourage and inspire, but most importantly to remind us that the frustration we are experiencing right now is mutual but only temporary. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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