The United States just put a whole new spin on social distancing. As concerts, restaurants, bars, gyms and even places of work come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19 it has the whole country wondering: “What am I supposed to do at home?” Yep. We have been suggested to help flatten the coronavirus curve and self-quarantine. To some this is a one way ticket to paradise! No angry bosses, ample snacking and unlimited Netflix. Yet on the flip side the social distancing can feel unmotivated and uninspired. So if the self-quarantine blues have you feeling lackluster, I come bearing good news. Distance does make the heart grow fonder, and together, we can use this time of separation to be our most in tune, productive selves! Here are our best suggestions to staying productive at home while self-quarantining.
Build A Mood Boosting Morning Routine
I believe what you do upon waking sets the tone for the rest of the day. Think about it. How many times has your day been “ruined” by a spilt coffee, horrendous traffic or angry coworker? The day seemed to unfold with one problem after the next. This is due to a set of neural pathways in the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS has a pretty important job. It “excites” or wakes up the brain when certain stimuli are present. Let me explain. Ever shop for a new car and the next day see that same car everywhere on the road? No, thousands of people did not run out and recently purchased a new Honda. It was your RAS becoming more aware of the car and stimulating your brain to see it on the road.
The cool thing is, we can use the RAS to our advantage. Starting the day off on a good note trains the RAS to become aware of what is good in life. What you focus on, grows. The best way to do this is by building a mood boosting morning routine. Self-quarantine can often feel like an extended holiday with no routines or purpose making us slip away from productivity. If you fail to choose how your day will go, someone else will.
Productive morning routines do not have to be lengthy. They just need to make you feel good! When building your own routine pick one to three activities taking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour total. Here are some ideas:
- Journal about what you are grateful for
- Go for a walk
- Do a quick workout
- Sit quietly with a book and cup of coffee
- Take a warm Epsom salt bath
- Plan out your day
- Set an intention for the day
- Drink a full glass of water
- Cook yourself a nourishing breakfast
- Call a friend
- Spend time with your pets
Go After Long Lost Goals
While it is not always seen this way, self-quarantine is a gift (for now at least). I have journals upon journals filled to the brim of all the New year's resolutions, hobbies and goals I have yet to accomplish. I get it, life is busy. But at what point does the hustle become an excuse for not going after what we want? Now time is in abundance. With no more happy-hours or endless errands, I encourage you to reconsider those long lost goals and be productive with them. Ask yourself:
“What have I always wanted to do but never got around to?”
“What subjects am I passionate about?”
“Is my life going the way I want it to?”
“What tasks am I avoiding?”
Whether we like it or not, being in such close quarters emerges an opportunity for reflection. It often takes slowing down to see what is no longer working. Use this time to ask yourself the tough questions and get done what you have been avoiding. We live in a time where almost anything you want to learn can be done in the comfort of your own home. Want to start a blog? Learn how to cook? Interested in the stock market? Learn all that you need to know on Google and YouTube. No more excuses to not being productive!
Set Boundaries Within Your Home
Going stir crazy is one thing, but going stir crazy with other people also going stir crazy is a whole new ball game. It can be hard to keep your sanity! Think of self-quarantine like an extended holiday trip with family, fun at first but by the end you all want to rip each other’s hair out. Why is that? Naturally our lives come with boundaries. Work has its own place, exercise is done at a gym, coffee is grabbed at Starbucks and home is where you relax. Humans have the tendency to compartmentalize. Not only do we have boundaries with activities, but with people too. The weekly meetings, girls nights, date nights and family dinners set limits on how and when you choose to interact with people. In self-quarantine though the boundaries are blurred. Work life, home life, social life and love life all become one or they come undone. This can leave people feeling uneasy, anxious and overwhelmed. Setting boundaries within your home and with the people you care about can alleviate that stress. They also contribute to being more productive, higher levels of self-esteem and healthier relationships. Here are some examples of boundaries:
- Having a designated room or space for work tasks only
- Still getting up at the same time everyday
- Turning off phones and electronics off at a certain hour
- Not checking social media every time you are bored
- Planning alone time
- Being vocal with what you need from friends, family and partners
- Setting up a recurring time to connect with friends over the phone or FaceTime
Self-quarantine can be challenging, no doubt. I have the utmost empathy for those who feel alone, anxious, uninspired and overwhelmed during this difficult time. Like my mom says, “one day at a time.” We can still be motivated and productive during social distancing in a way that works for each of us. If we keep an open mind, this time apart can be used to help us grow stronger. Try out these tips and let us know, did they help you be more productive?