Ever imagined waking up in a world where the streets are empty, all the cafes and restaurants are closed and you can only see a few cars, taxis, buses? Well, that doesn’t seem unreal now, as we’re getting used to this dystopian situation caused by Coronavirus. With COVID-19 cases soaring every day, governments around the world are announcing more restrictive measures against Coronavirus and people are finding it hard to accept that the weekend comes and the sun is shining, but they’ll remain at home.
It all seems different now; we spend more time inside our homes than ever before. We’re limited to phone and video calls when talking to our friends or relatives. We’re balancing childcare and work duties from home and managing homeschooling and work commitments at the same time. It’s normal if you’re struggling to juggle several tasks at once or if you’re feeling down or overwhelmed by the sudden and drastic changes in your everyday life.
Try these tips to stay positive, get through lockdown and make sure that your days are varied and entertaining. Remember that the first step to survive lockdown is to be kind to yourself, and to prepare to put your normal life on hold temporarily.
Ever since the lockdown began, many of us struggle to find ways to fill our free time. However, the lockdown can be a great opportunity to learn new skills and boost your personal and professional development, preparing you to succeed in a post-Coronavirus world. Whether you want to use a certain piece of software, discover what's involved in a particular role or brush up on soft skills, there will be a course for you.
Perhaps you are someone who is interested in delving into the history of ancient Egypt, improving your CV or learning a second language? Or possibly you are keen to use this opportunity to give you the ‘edge’ over competition to get onto that college or university course you wish to progress onto? Make sure to take this extra time to learn a new skill or improve on an existing one to expand your horizons and boost your employability.
There are plenty of free online courses that you can take. FutureLearn, Open University Free Courses, Coursera, and MMOC Massive Open Online Courses offer free access to hundreds of online courses in a large range of fields, including technology, business, creative and IT.
It can be tough to structure your day during lockdown. Having self-discipline is the most important thing during this difficult time. With the lockdown situation, we’re not just parents – we’re teachers, babysitters, fitness instructors, school friends, chefs and some of us are still working. After all, you’re only one person and wearing so many hats.
With that in mind, it’s really important to maintain a daily routine and create a calendar with all of your tasks and responsibilities in order to survive the lockdown and make the most of your day. And who knows, you might find this routine useful when you go back to your old life after the lockdown period.
Create a daily plan that includes work and break times, adding in exercise breaks with walking or cycling. Remember to stay hydrated, get fresh air, and add meditation or yoga to your daily routine to increase your energy levels and improve your sleep patterns.
Many people have a habit of checking their phones far too often, going through every message, email and notification they receive and scrolling through social feeds every 10-15 minutes. For many people, not checking their phones too often feels like they’re missing out on something.
When you wake up in the morning, avoid reaching for your phone to check notifications and feeds and regain control over how you consume technology. Don’t let your phone be the last thing you see at night and the first thing you check in the morning. It’s true to say that cutting tech out of your life completely is unrealistic. However, what you can do is try using your smart phone less and avoid missing out on the life that is playing out right in front of you.
To tone down your usage, start by changing notification settings on your device to avoid receiving emails, messages, and alerts from dozens of apps. Try to keep your smartphone as far away at night as possible since using your phone before going to bed can affect your quality of sleep and ability to concentrate on important tasks the following morning. If your attempts to cut down on tech usage fail, you might want to get rid of distracting apps, especially for social networks like Facebook and Instagram.
One good tip is to keep your phone out of sight and reach. Try leaving your phone in your closet or in the cupboard, or even in a different room in order to focus on the things you need to do. After all, who wants to get up and walk to the other part of the house all the time?
Running out of things to do in quarantine? Lockdown can be fun, if you stay curious and keep yourself occupied. Did you finally get to watch the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Maybe it’s about time to start that cooking channel that you’ve been promising yourself to work on for ages? What about the list of films and TV series that you really wanted to watch, but never had the time to check out? From learning a foreign language to arranging your wardrobe, listening to a podcast, updating your CV to learning how to bike, there are plenty of productive things you can take up to pass the time.
Instead of spending time on commuting and pointless meetings, you can now use your time more productively by taking up new hobbies and adding new things to your belt, like baking or getting into the best shape. Don’t forget to pamper yourself and exercise some self-care, whether that means taking a long bath, washing your makeup brushes and trying out a homemade face mask.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, news can be a source of fear and anxiety for many. It’s almost hard not to check the latest updates and engage in conversations about infection rates, death tolls, travel restrictions, and predictions on how dire the pandemic may get.
While it’s important to check accurate and timely information about the disease, try to avoid watching the news “around the clock” as continued media exposure to stressful events can have a significant impact on your psychological well-being and mental health. You might find it helpful to seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice.
Currently, there are too many updates on the subject than we will ever need. At times like these, people tend to make dire predictions. While social media is a great way to stay connected with others, it’s not a reliable source of information on COVID-19 as it often spreads misinformation and focuses on the emotional aspects of stressful situations.
To avoid rumours and misinformation, seek information from trusted health sources, such as the WHO website and local health authority platforms to minimize fears and feelings of uncertainty. Finally, focus on what you can control: following government advice on COVID-19, social distancing, regular handwashing, reasonably stocking up on essential supplies, protecting yourself and loved ones.
These next few weeks and months are going to be a challenge for everyone, so don’t be so hard on yourself and just take your time to understand the sudden changes. It’s really difficult to be cooped up with a certain flatmate or family member all of a sudden, but try to be aware of your reactions under pressure and remember that it’s temporary.