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April 17, 2020 • read
How to adapt to a new lifestyle during COVID-19
Staying at home can feel foreign if you’re used to an active, on-the-go lifestyle. You can ease the adjustment by structuring your days with positive, productive goals and making time for social connection. You might find you pick up new life skills in the process.
1. Establish a routine
Staying at home all the time removes the sense of structure you feel when waking up with your alarm, catching the train and getting to the office for 9am. You can recreate a structured routine at home to help quarantine feel more normal. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, carve out time for meals and take regular breaks.
Having a routine is especially important for kids so they feel secure during this time. They’ll know what to expect everyday, which can bring out better behaviour.
2. Make a list of projects or goals
No one wants to feel like they’re stagnating, least of all if they’re at home with nothing to do. You can turn this newfound free time into a golden opportunity to work on long term goals, or set new ones.
Having a project or goal will divert your mental energy towards something positive and productive, and help the time go by faster. You’ll come out of your quarantine better off than you started!
3. Focus on the positives
Looking at the positives of a difficult situation is easier said than done, right? But focusing on how your sacrifice is benefiting the community can put things into perspective. Rather than fixating what you’re giving up by staying home and adhering to social distancing measures, think about how you’re saving lives, preventing strain on hospital ICUs, and hastening your eventual return to normal life.
Focusing on positive impact can be especially helpful if you have older children or teenagers at home, who might feel like things are unfair at the moment. It’s more empowering to focus on the good they’re doing, rather than looking at quarantine as a set of annoying rules.
4. Learn something new
Learning something new is mentally stimulating, and replaces feelings of boredom with feelings of gratification. Try taking an online course, following along with University lectures, or reading a nonfiction book. This is a great time to learn simple coding skills, grasp a new language or get crafty. You can find lots of free learning resources online. Here are some suggestions:
- MIT OpenCourseware offers lots of free online lectures
- LinkedIn Learning offers a free 30-day trial
- Many municipal library networks offer free online learning to people with library cards
- Stanford University has a YouTube channel where you can find courses on many subjects
5. Make social connection a priority
Social isolation is a bit of a misnomer — there’s no need to put human connection on hold. Make a point of phoning or facetiming with family, coworkers and friends. Take the opportunity to reach out to acquaintances you haven’t spoken to in a while, just to check in. Your friends will appreciate it, and you’ll build feelings of social connection rather than isolation.
As much as it’s tough to stay at home, you can take advantage of this change of pace to work on new goals or hobbies. Try to maintain a feeling of normalcy in your daily schedule — our minds and bodies thrive on routine. And remember, social distancing measures won’t last forever. You can get through this phase, and come out stronger on the other side.