Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, people need to change their lives and adapt to the new circumstances. As absurd as it may sound, we can now save lives by simply staying at home. However, not leaving the house can also be challenging. Therefore, TEDxVienna has come up with some ideas on how not to go crazy while spending all of our time at home.
Since a huge part of our everyday lives is working or studying, it is crucial to organize the home office properly. The most important thing is to set up boundaries between work and free time.
First of all, you will need some settled working hours. Try to plan your routine and stick to it. Work or study at the same time everyday, so your brain can get used to the hours it needs to be most focused.
This also concerns the workplace: your bed may be an attractive and comfy spot, but try to force yourself to work at a desk or table. You can organize it the way you like, so it keeps you motivated. Working and studying at an organized space will also help you to differentiate between work and leisure time.
It is important because, as paradoxical as it may be, you can actually overwork when at home, which can lead to a burnout. This is why you should make proper lunch and coffee breaks, and turn off your work notifications after you have finished studying or working for the day.
While working from your home has some undeniable advantages, make sure to be careful that you don’t become too comfortable. Wearing your favourite pajamas sounds awesome. But let’s be honest, you have enough pairs to rock one as your home office outfit during the day.
Saying this, try not to wake up just five minutes before a conference call or an online class, because you have to get ready for the day. You’d better not just change into your ‘working’ pajamas but also prepare for the day mentally. It is also useful to try sticking to your usual morning routine, which may include having breakfast, meditation, yoga, or even checking your social media over a cup of coffee. Just do what you usually do before leaving the house. Let your body and mind get ready for the productive day ahead.
Once you’re done with work or studies, you may realize that you actually have a lot of extra free time and may not always know what to do with it.
There are, of course, some obvious solutions like cleaning your house or organizing your workspace. There is also plenty of time to read a new book or spend some time practicing a hobby. But let’s face it, sometimes we’re just not conscientious enough to organize our time efficiently and do anything productive with it.
Even though you may sometimes feel like doing nothing at all, there are ways to still enjoy your free time. For example, you can keep yourself entertained with one of the many offers on the internet right now. Many artists are providing free live stream concerts and some publishers are making their e-books and journals available free of charge.
You can also virtually wander through some of the greatest museums of the world for hours using Google’s Arts & Culture project. This includes the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Prado Museum, the Louvre, and many more.
Once you’ve appreciated this level of sophistication, you can always hang out with your dear ones on video calls or even have a movie night together. For example, Netflix Party allows synchronizing video playback, as well as adding group chat to the shows, so none of your friends will feel left out of the group while watching a film.
The truth is, it may not be the best idea to set too many pretentious goals for the quarantine. Try not to get caught up in the idea of needing to always be productive. When you have free time, just do whatever you want to do and whenever you feel like doing it. And, most importantly, enjoy what you are doing. In this case, you will be motivated to get things done instead of feeling guilty for not doing ‘enough’.
Try to enjoy this time with yourself. Even if you’re stuck at home with no one by your side, you can still find some benefits in it. In case you are far away from your home, look for some support online because you are not alone.
It is also important to take care of your mental health, so consume the media mindfully. If the constant news checking makes you worry, it’s better to have some informational ‘breaks’. Try setting limits to news consumption, for example, only check the news twice a day and from trustworthy sources.
It is okay to feel anxious during times of uncertainty, so try to differentiate between what you can control, and what you cannot. Having things under control right now means washing your hands regularly (and reminding others to do so), not touching your face, reducing social contact, and staying at home. Everything else does not depend on you.
Finally, use the quarantine for yourself and your loved ones. Devote your time to your family members. You can upload the photos from the last family gathering and share the link with your relatives. Also, there’s finally enough time to explain to your grandparents how to use WhatsApp or Skype. Don’t forget to call your parents, or if you live together, have a nice family dinner together. Right now is the best time to show your support, even if you’re far away, and all you can do is simply call. Sometimes, it is more than enough.
header image credits: Olena Levitina