Staying Calm (And Productive) While Social Distancing
Isadora Teich wrote this article
On top of all of the challenges we’re facing due to covid19, many of us are still working, or have suddenly had to adapt to working from home for the first time.
It is a difficult time for everyone, and if you are wondering how to possibly carry out your usual tasks and stay productive, you are not alone.
Here are some tips to help you stay on task!
1. Don’t Believe The Hype
Hustle culture in itself is not necessarily a bad thing in small doses. It can lead to innovation and personal growth.
While productivity is one of the hottest buzzwords out there, it is just not possible for it to be a permanent state of existence right now. Even in the best of circumstances, it is almost impossible for any person to constantly grind, innovate and create without some rest.
These are not the best of circumstances.
Don’t buy into the memes and general internet discourse trying to guilt you into writing a symphony or singlehandedly building an entire empire right now.
While it is important to stay strong and do the best that you can for yourself and others, it’s also important that you respect and take care of yourself during this difficult time.
Don’t let a bunch of listicles bully you.
In fact, piling negativity on yourself because you aren’t “working hard enough” is the last thing you need in the middle of a global crisis. We are all doing the best we can.
Remember, we all deal with things in different ways.
If learning a new skill or starting a new project helps you to gain focus and clarity during this time, then that is amazing! But, do not feel bad if you simply need to rest, or focus on just doing things that make you happy.
2. Build A Routine
We are all spending more time than ever online right now.
You have likely seen all of the jokes (and in some cases, not-so-much jokes) from people who don’t know what day it is, don’t know how many breakfasts they’ve had today, and wake up every day at some point before 6PM.
While living like this can feel almost luxurious for a few days, it can quickly slow a person down. Regardless of what you have to do in a day, create a schedule. Set times for waking, working, meals, and hopefully even some exercise.
Especially if you are working from home for the first time, you may have to learn how to schedule time for things that used to happen naturally.
For example, maybe you used to run into coworkers while leaving the office and decide to go out for drinks together on the spot.
If you work from home, you can no longer take it for granted that this will just happen. Make a point of reaching out to coworkers, friends, and loved ones to video chat regularly.
Routines are about creating your day in a way that keeps you healthy, happy, and productive. While it is important to schedule your work and daily tasks, don’t forget to build in time to do things that relieve stress.
The happier and healthier you are, the more productive you can be.
In uncertain times, it can feel soothing to know exactly what you want to accomplish every day. Checking things off a reasonable to-do list can be a wonderful boost!
3. Get Moving
Depending on your lifestyle before, there was likely a lot more movement built into your day than you even realized. Whether you were a regular gym-goer or simply walked around your office, or to do errands, you were moving.
Many of us are now working from home and barely even going out to do errands. It can be hard to feel motivated to move when things are so uncertain and you have nowhere to go.
However, being at home most of the time does not mean that you have to stop moving.
Movement of any kind is actually highly important for our physical and mental health. It releases endorphins and can be an excellent mood-booster and stress reliever.
Be sure to schedule in some regular exercise. In many countries around the world, even in lockdown, going out for walks and exercise is encouraged.
If you are currently living in a country where it is not possible, you still have options.
There are countless workout classes of all kinds on YouTube. These range from equipment-free classic workouts, to belly dancing and yoga classes. All of them are totally free!
4. Know When To Turn Off
This one can be tricky.
On the one hand, we all want to be informed. Things can change drastically and very fast. We all want to have the best and most up-to-date information we can so that we can keep ourselves, and each other safe.
In the age of social distancing, social media has become a critically important lifeline for many of us.
Even if you weren’t scrolling on Facebook all day or spending hours a day on TikTok or Instagram before, many of us are now. While it provides us with important connection, social media has also blended with the news cycle. Be sure to logoff regularly.
Also, because everyone in the world is going through this crisis together, everyone is almost constantly talking about covid19 online.
This can make what was once a fun escape feel almost oppressive.
While it is important to connect with others and stay informed, constantly talking about any stressful topic all day long can negatively impact your mental health.
If you had used social media as a way to relax and unwind before, these days that can seem almost impossible.
This is why it’s important to set boundaries.
If you find yourself idly scrolling through Facebook on your phone during daily tasks and getting upset almost every time, maybe limit your use, or perhaps delete the app altogether from your phone.
If you find that certain people or content creators only stress you out, unfollow them.
If you are worried about offending a friend, keep in mind that many sites, like Facebook, make it possible for you to unfollow posts without alerting them.
When you are working, don’t look at the news and don’t check social media if they are stressors. If you used to, for example, take baths and explore Twitter to unwind, maybe opt for watching a TV show or listening to music in the bath instead.
5. Know When To Push Yourself
So, I know I have already cried foul on all of the people online claiming that if you can’t work like a machine during a global crisis, you are a failure.
And I still stand by that.
However, balance is key.
While it’s not healthy to pile extra pressure on yourself, it is also not healthy to consistently let your daily obligations slide.
Maybe it seems almost darkly hilarious to you that I would even suggest doing online yoga classes or penciling in skype chats with your coworkers during a global pandemic. However, the fact remains that even amidst Covid19, we all still have responsibilities.
Regardless of what’s happening in the world, we still owe respect and care to ourselves and to those around us.
Some days you will likely wake up and feel completely unmotivated to do anything at all.
In times like this, it is important to make sure that you tackle the most important items on your to-do list, even if you have to push back other non-essential tasks.
Right now, it is important than ever to set realistic goals for yourself each and every day.
Approach them with determination, but also be gracious and kind to yourself. Especially if you are quarantined alone, be sure to make time to reach out to others on a daily basis.
How are you handling quarantine? What do you find helps you most?
Talk to me.
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