Are you beginning to feel a little bored in your daily routine and don’t quite know what to do with yourself? Have you binged through a television marathon? Do you feel cross-eyed from news reports and looking at social media? Are you shopped out and stocked up? You may think – now what? I have been in isolating circumstances a few times in my life and learned it’s a lifestyle change that can be managed. Many years ago, I spent five years in Saudi Arabia before the internet, FaceTime and mobile phones. What I found is this time can bring more creativity and self-discovery while you have fewer outside distractions.
Confinement or social distancing can be difficult for many. It can be a little frightening and for some depressing. It doesn’t feel natural. You had a routine and now it feels as though someone picked up your life and turned it inside out. The important thing to recognize is how your feeling. Fear is normal and being concern can keep you safe, but we need to not let fear feed our imagination.
If you think about it, your daily routine is a habit that you have developed over time. The more developed a habit is, the harder it is to change. Once established, changing the habit can be emotionally difficult. Look at the habit of eating healthy or beginning an exercise program. It is something you must work on creating a trigger that leads to an action.
When you feel that circumstances around you are out of control, it’s helpful to work on controlling what you can. That action can help you feel more emotionally stable. So, begin by setting realistic expectations and look at what resources you have available. Keeping the bigger picture in perspective can help prepare you mentally. Begin now finding hidden opportunities to fulfill your time.
So as the saying goes, “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This proverbial phrase is used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity. Look for the hidden opportunities because you now have the perfect chance to do that one thing you just haven’t gotten around to doing. We have multiple resources at our fingertips through the internet and with this, we can accomplish so much.
So here are some suggestions that may help spark an idea.
This could be the perfect time to learn something new. Perhaps you have wanted to learn to paint or draw. YouTube has several channels to teach you how to paint for free. Perhaps a career change has been on your list, such as becoming a dog trainer. There are online certification programs such as the one the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers offers. Other career opportunities, such as bookkeeper or teacher, are available through local universities of which many have online programs. Make sure to fit your practice or study time into your daily routine. Other areas you may want to think about include learning an unfamiliar language, writing a book, or playing an instrument. The list is endless.
Set up an area that becomes your office. While there, you are not doing laundry, watching television, or anything else that can become distracting. Treat your home office like work with a starting time as well as breaks, lunch and quitting time. You may find this can be more productive than trying to balance home and work within the same period.
This can be quality time without electronics. Some of you may still have children at home, are in contact with or helping with grandchildren. Talk to them, learn about their interest and listen. Don’t forget to reach out to others who are alone by calling and letting them hear a friendly voice. Read books with your partner or family. Let everyone take a turn with chapters or take on a character and play their roles. Play games such as generating indoor scavenger hunts. Plan and cook special meal menus together. If you have children at home and they are continuing schoolwork, then treat it like your work from home time. Begin to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Focus on healthy eating and get creative with your meals. When you are home, it’s easy to snack. Eat mindfully by paying attention to what and why you are eating. If you had a regular exercise routine, stay with it by doing what you can. You can develop a significant workout right at home. Think about how to use your body weight in a workout. If you want to begin a new exercise routine, YouTube, again, can be a place to look for ideas for yoga, Tai Chi, and dance exercises. Begin a meditation time each day to set your attitude. Remember, regular exercise helps to maintain good health for your mind and body.
Read or listen to audiobooks. The library system is a great online resource, and it’s free – all you need is a library card and a compatible device. Don’t let your appearance go by living in your pajamas. You will feel better and more productive by taking care of how you look throughout the day.
This could be an excellent time to go through your closets, drawers, or cabinets and decide what you don’t need any longer. Start with your closet. Take a day to empty all the contents and ask yourself as you put items back in, “Does it fit, how do I feel when wearing it, is it a suitable color for me and when was the last time I wore it.” Be brutal with selections and the items that don’t make the cut can either be designated for the consignment shop or donated. Keep your surroundings orderly. Living minimally can bring clarity of mind and less stress.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to establish a weekly or daily routine for you and your family. Stay consistent with sleep and if needed set an alarm so you create a schedule. Eat meals at regular intervals. Most of all, be grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow, have time to spend together.