I am an outside person… not so much outdoorsy but definitely not-at-home. I love being out and doing things, being around people, and exploring and taking on new adventures. You can guess my horror when we went into complete stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic. As a self-diagnosed ambivert, it was slightly easier for me to transition to life within my one bedroom and Zoom, than some of my other extroverted friends. As someone who is trying to stay safe and keep others safe too, I did my best not to venture outside unless it was absolutely essential (meaning groceries and mailing in forms) — and I always wore a mask! So how did I manage to stay sane?
I didn’t realize it until very recently but the activities I took on naturally fell into four categories. Of course, what you choose to do for each of these will be different based on your interests but this formula helps balance out your days and energy.
Get your creative juices flowing (something to create with your hands)
I took on embroidery pretty early on in quarantine. My friend was kind enough with her time to set up weekly sewing circles (over zoom) where she would impart her sewing wisdom and we would just make some creations (some great, others… not so much). This was surprisingly super stress relieving. It felt great to have my hands occupied in a new skill that was both precise, yet mindless. I knew that I wanted to do more than just type away on my keyboard, scroll through social media, or binge Netflix. My input ranged from 30 minutes a day, and gradually found myself spending almost 4 hours at a time on some days! Now, you might be a little iffy about embroidery, that’s okay! It might not be your jam. I know a couple of people who took on woodworking, painting, furniture building, gardening, etc. It really depends on what your interests are, and how much money you have to get all the supplies you need.
Get up and move
We need to exercise and stretch! Our muscles were dependent on our routine daily life… but that hasn’t happened in a long while. Caroline mentioned to me that on a given pre-lockdown day she was burning 2800-3000 calories/day and now that number is less than 1400. Being cooped up in your home, switching between your bed, sofa, and/or couch can trigger some painful reminders on how inactive, and horribly positioned we are. Some of my friends and I even joked around how we would never want to see a heat map of where we spent time in our homes during lockdown — the truth is just too scary! To stay active I’ve been following fitness-based dance videos on Youtube. This type of activity and level of fun was just right for me, where I could just commit to a daily session. I know some people have been following more intense workouts, Instagram live workouts, or scheduling walks/hikes/runs outside, etc.
PSA: If you have a bike — but would not feel comfortable riding it outside for whatever reason — you can look into apparatuses that make your bike a stationary bike. It will have your heart racing after two minutes of pedaling. Your heart will thank you, and your neighbors will thank you for not jumping up and down haha.
Get connected and see some friendly faces
I think we should all take a second to realize how lucky we are to have the internet. Zoom and Facetime have been my medium for connecting with my friends and family. I must have spent hundreds of hours on video chat since the beginning of March. Jokes aside, it’s great to see some new and old faces — to vent about your situation, play online games with, Netflix party, happy hour, and whatever other new activities are coming about during this quarantine season. The fact that everyone is now forced to interact with each other online, helped me reconnect and have stronger and more meaningful relationships with old friends that wanted to connect, but our geography and schedules just never aligned. So — it was kind of a blessing in disguise! The birth of this blog happened because of quarantine, and I consider that a win!
Get some self-care and indulge
If you have seen any of the foodie posts, you already know what my indulgences are. I took to cooking all my cravings. It helped me stay occupied, work for results, and eat those results leading to happiness. In order to not overdo it, I stuck to one new recipe/cheat meal a week. Some other indulgent activities along the lines of self-care could be taking a nice long bath, meditation, or even just as simple as napping.
For the remote employees out there, it is possible that your work-life-balance is all messed up. This could lead to becoming burnt out way quicker than you think. Do not feel ashamed to take a long weekend, or a couple of days off to just relax and find your groove. Speak to your bosses about how to make this possible, or put in that PTO that is long overdue. Take a mental health day and go back to work motivated and recharged.
Above all, it is important to just stay busy and to expend the energy that you have and cannot expend outside. This formula seems to continue working for me… even 5 months post-lock-down. Hopefully, it helps you find your routine and keeps you charged, energized, and motivated for the next day. While I have been stuck at home and doing my own thing, my mother, especially, is still surprised that I’ve kept it together so far.