***Disclaimer: What works for me may not work for you, but I hope my words of advice can bring positive energy during this difficult time. Please continue being supportive to those who need it most and pray for those working endlessly to make this situation better.***
Happy #?? of Quarantine! By now, we are hopefully embracing our new routines and adjusting to these changes. For many of us, we are officially working from home, taking classes from home, or finding new ways to keep ourselves busy. We do not know how much longer this will continue, but it’s important we utilize this time to focus on our physical and mental health, spend time with loved ones, attempt new creative hobbies, and distance ourselves to prevent further infection. Everyone handles stressful situations differently, so it’s important we practice safe and healthy habits.
Today we will dive into Do’s and Don’ts to maintain a productive work environment, healthy habits, and improved routines. Of course, if you feel that these tips do not apply to you, recommend them to someone you know who would benefit from it. Now is a time to be supportive and helpful towards each other, rather than spreading negative energy and influence.
If you want to enhance your academics, your work ethic, your mental health, or anything that needs a helpful resource, continue reading for more tips!
1. Tidy Up
Having a clean work area can provide physical and mental clarity. If there's garbage, disarray, reorganization, or anything you can do to maintain a clean and organized work area or room, this can provide mental clearance. No need to do a major Spring Cleaning session, but cleaning and tidying up will allow better focus.
2. Create a Work Space
When we separate our comfort area from our work area, this can also bring mental clarity and focus. Work spaces don't need to be fancy - if you have a desk space, work in a living room, the kitchen - anywhere away from where you rest and relax will get your mindset more focused. If you are limited in spacing, I find that making a miniature space on the ground in your room can also be effective. It can also encourage you to get up more frequently too! If you have the resources, making your work space similar to a library or coffee shop can make it aesthetically pleasing also (add books, make yourself coffee ~oh the aroma~). Make your work space your own!
3. Eat AND Drink Well
We are snacking constantly and frequently more than ever. Of course, eat when you're hungry! However, sometimes overeating can be a negative thing too. If you can, eating healthier and nutrient-heavy snacks can satiate your hunger. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated! Sometimes our desire to eat are signs of dehydration. If you find yourself urging to snack and munch, I find that chewing gum also alleviates that snacking sensation.
4. Physical & Tangible Things
Everything has turned into electronics and internet-related activities, but sometimes it can get overwhelming. Physical and tangible things basically means creating your ideas, routines, and schedules into paper-form. Filling in calendars, writing to-do lists, creating an outline or schedule of your day - there is power to putting things down on paper and in writing. So if you need time away from electronics, pen and paper will be handy tool for you.
5. Sunlight & Fresh Air
Although we are social distancing, this does not mean you cannot go outside. I encourage you to get at least 10-15 minutes of fresh air or sunlight. There is something calming about being outdoors. It allows us to mentally take a break and enjoy what nature has to offer. Even cracking your window and opening your window shades can offer you a taste of fresh air. Don't let yourself be trapped within the walls of your room or housing. Enjoy the beautiful weather!
6. Get up, Get Ready
This sounds super silly, but sometimes getting up and getting ready for the day sets the foundation of your work and ability to accomplish anything. Whether you're working from home or attending classes online, treat it like a normal work/school day. Get up, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, wash your face, get dressed (or redressed into your PJs), eat a small breakfast, even changing your shirt can be a game changer. Whatever you usually do to start your day, continue the same practice. You'll find yourself physically and mentally prepared anything
7. Blue/White Light Filters
Since we are on our electronics more frequently, be sure to add blue or white light filters. The lights from our phone, computers, tablets, and television can add physical strain to our eyes, and may potentially increase your chances of having a migraine. Some things I use are blue light/red light filters, I have blue light glasses, and I take breaks away from my electronics as best I can.
8. Practice Self-Care
Self-care can be anything, and whatever works best for you. For many, people like doing skincare routines, face masks, bubble baths - anything to calm and soothe your mind. Self-care can also mean taking walks, eating a delicious snack (in moderation), or listening to awesome music. It's important to practice safe and healthy habits because, with everything going on, it can take a toll on us. Whatever your version of safe, healthy self-care practices are, be sure to incorporate them in your daily routine.
9. Help Others
Helping others can range from small to large scale ideas. I'm not telling you to run in and help hospital workers right away or find the cure for all infectious diseases, but if you can make masks for healthcare workers or close colleagues, do it. If you want to organize food drives or go grocery shopping for those unable to, do it. Other small things we can do include reaching out to family and friends who are struggling right now, or providing support to a friend in need. Even staying at home is a great way to help society. Nothing is more powerful than the power of communities coming together to help each other. If you can do something, then do it.
10. Let Your Emotions Flow
Whatever emotions you're feeling, don't be ashamed to share or express them. Everyone handles stress differently, but be sure they are safe and healthy practices. The big rule of thumb is that however you handle your emotions, do it, but if you are thinking about harming someone, harming yourself, or harming anyone, please refrain from doing so. Let's remember that we are all human and we all handle things differently, but also don't shame others on how they express themselves either. Continue practicing kindness and empathy to those around you. Think about how much better our society would be if we were kind to each other, rather than being hateful towards one another.
11. Find Creative Outlets
Lately I've seen more people dive into artistic and creative outlets! People are painting, solving puzzles, playing music, or even creating TikToks (like myself!) If you do not have the means to purchase artistic material, there are different ways to be creative. Some of these ideas include dancing crazy to your favorite boy band music, singing at the top of your lungs, or anything that allows your imagination to wander. Don't limit yourself from your creative abilities.
12. Limit Electronics, News, & Social Media
News and media outlets are running rampant with persistent stories and ideas. Although I agree it's important to be informed, being TOO informed can also add stress and anxiety. It's important to stay up to date, but don't let this consume every part of your day. Similar to sports, if you cannot watch the entire game, watch the highlights and important parts. Go about your business as usual (checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), but be sure to limit how much you're exposed to so it does not add to your anxiety.
13. Socialize (With Distance)
Although we cannot physically be with each other, there are multiple ways to hang out and talk to our family and friends. You can set up Zoom Hangouts, play online games together, Facetime, watch movies together online via Netflix Watch Party. As the saying goes, if there's a will, there's a way. If your friends value your friendship (and safety), they will seek alternative ways to see you. So if you know someone who encourages to hangout, despite social distancing, call them out on their negative behavior and hopefully they understand. If not, maybe they're not a true friend to begin with.
14. Practice Gratitude
Nowadays, it's very easy getting caught up and comparing ourselves to others. Often times, you'll hear people complain about things they lack or don't have. However, now is a time to practice gratitude - find things that we DO have and can be thankful for. For example, we are able to sleep in a warm cozy bed near our loved ones, we can eat food graciously without wondering about our next meal, take classes online and have access to an education, or even waking up to another day. So today, I encourage you to count your blessings and not your problems. There are multiple problems going on right now, and the last thing we need is an additional negative remark adding to the chaos.
Everyone has their own personal circumstances, and it's important to address them to those around you. If you are having internet problems, be sure to communicate that with your professor(s) and/or classmates; if that fails, bring the issue to a higher power. If you want things to change at home, communicate openly and in a mature fashion to your parents and/or roommates. Again, if this fails, talk to someone in higher power or find a way to make things work. Communicate so that you can work your way to finding a solution rather than stirring more issues.
16. Ask for Help
This is all a very difficult time for many, and we may not be able to handle everything on our own. If there's an available resource, I encourage you to use it or seek assistance. No one has to endure everything their own right now. Those that care will help you. I promise you, there are more people that care and love you more than you think. If you are struggling, don't hesitate to ask for help. Personally, I suck at asking for help because I want to solve my problems on my own as best I can, but I know that help is available if I truly need it.
17. Take it Day by Day
Unfortunately this is something we will be enduring for days on end. We cannot predict when it will all end exactly, so it's important we tackle things day by day. If that means creating a schedule for each day, then so be it. If you feel your days become too mundane or boring, change things up. Everyday we have the opportunity to do something, so let today be that day. If not today, then tomorrow.
There are numerous things we can keep doing during this difficult time, but there are negative practices we can attempt to limit or reduce as well. For the following, here are some strong suggestions that we can all do our best NOT to do, or limit.
1. Do Work in Your Bed
As alluring and comforting your bed might be, it could possibly be the worse place to do any sort of work. Your mind can be out of focus, mentally unavailable, and so tempting to rest and relax. Now I understand people may not have the resources to do it elsewhere, so if you need to do work in your bed, be sure to make your bed, fold the blankets, and arrange it to make it workable.
It's very common hearing people snacking through their quarantine food. However, please do the best you can to not overeat your snacks or food. Overeating can make you lethargic, tired, and unable to do work. If you need to fulfill that snacking sensation, drinking plenty of water or chewing gum can help satisfy your needs. But please, do the best you can to not overeat.
3. Go on Social Media/Electronics/News 24/7
This one is blatantly obvious, but don't let the news and media consume your life. You might drive yourself crazy and anxious with so much going on. Yes it's important to be informed, but too much of anything is not a good thing.
4. Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Remember that you are not alone on this journey. More than likely, there are numerous people encountering similar problems or facing these challenges as well. Seek help from those around you, utilize every resource available, and remember that you are not alone in this.
5. Be Extremely Negative
Lastly, don't be that negative person in everything. Think about things you post or say regarding everything going on right now. Think about your intentions and your impact with your words. With so much negativity going on, the last thing we need is another person adding to the chaos. Do the best you can to spread positive energy, support, and help to those in need.
If you made it to the end, thank you for reading through these tips! Again, some of these may or may not apply to you, however be sure to share these ideas with someone you think may benefit from it. Continue being your great, awesome self. Send love and prayers to those fighting out in the world and practice safe and healthy habits.
Be safe, happy, and healthy!
April 13th, 2020