Being in quarantine has changed the lives of many. It’s affected daily schedules and routines, and made us eat, sleep, workout, think, and even behave differently. While some changes may be for the better, some of them may not be conducive to life after quarantine. It’s necessary that we keep things as normal as possible, so that we are able to quickly merge our routines and schedules to whatever the new normal may be once everything subsides.
With the plethora of important tips, advice, ideas, and suggestions going around during this time, we found the following most useful to maintain ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally during this COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Establish a routine
Wake up at 6AM, meditate, journal, do some yoga, shower, then sit down to have breakfast before starting work at 9AM. Whatever it is, establishing a routine helps you keep track of your time and days, and also active, alert, and accountable.
2. Watch what you eat
While eating is necessary, nourishing, comforting, and enjoyable in a time like this, too much of it – especially while we’re even more sedentary – is of no benefit. To prevent excessive weight gain and the onset of other food-related diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, eat at the right hours and plan and portion your meals and snacks. Opt for foods that will keep your full for longer, and boost your immunity. Quarantine is also a great time to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen – you improve your culinary skills, get to create something new, and try dishes you’ve never had before.
3. Keep clean
We all know by now to wash our hands frequently and shower daily to keep the virus at bay, but keeping your home clean is also very important. You may think that you’re not doing anything to dirty your living space, but dirt, mess, and dust collect all the same. A good suggestion we saw was to do small bits of cleaning on the daily – dusting on Monday, windows on Tuesday, organising on Wednesday, and so on – to prevent having to do an eight-hour deep clean at a later time. Besides being comfortable and feeling fresh, cleaning is also rather therapeutic, and will help put your mind at ease.
Quarantine or not, hydration is of the utmost importance because dehydration causes many health problems. Whether you’re drinking it cold, at room temperature, or hot (no, this will not kill the COVID-19 virus), staying hydrated gives your body the water it needs to function optimally and stay healthy. Being at home now with nowhere to go is a good opportunity to make a habit of consuming your daily three litres.
Exercise has been the go-to activity to keep healthy and strong since the dawn of time, and it is needed more so now since this quarantine has cut down our daily physical movement by more than half. Not actively moving around can reduce metabolism and muscle mass. Exercise also helps keep you in check mentally as it combats boredom, relieves stress, and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
6. Work smart
If you’ve been working from home, you’ll know that it’s easy to be distracted when your TV is staring you in the face and your bed is screaming out to you. The effort here is to stay disciplined – create a comfortable workspace for yourself, set timers and to-do lists for your tasks, and complete them. Also communicate and outline your responsiveness and availability to your bosses and colleagues. Remember to take short breaks every three hours, and most importantly, know when to clock out.
7. Relieve stress
Read a book, meditate, exercise, nap, listen to music, bake, knit – whatever you find relaxing to do is probably your best bet at distracting yourself from being confined to your home. Relieving your mind and body of stress helps to stave off illness, and keep you mentally in check.
8. Get some sun
Just like plants, we need sunlight to thrive. Spending 20 to 30 minutes in the morning sun helps boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, aid weight loss, and increase your serotonin levels which helps reduce feelings of depression. Even if your government has imposed a strict lockdown where you can’t leave home unnecessarily, you can still sneak in some sunlight on your balcony, by a window, or in your garden. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
9. Keep in touch with people outside your home
You are at risk of feeling isolated and depressed if living alone, and if you’re living with someone else, arguments, fights, tension, and overall feelings of resentment (my sister and I are currently walking on eggshells around each other) may increase. Schedule phone and video calls to keep in touch with people outside your home. Have themed video calls, play virtual games, movie nights, or even a cocktail party. Major plus: you can also plan all the things you’ll do together once we all get out of quarantine!
10. Sleep well
Going back to our first point, keeping a steady, healthy routine is of utmost importance. It is imperative that you stick to a regular sleep pattern, including going to bed at a decent hour. Quality of sleep matters as well, which is why you need to keep your activity levels up throughout the day, and try to avoid napping for too long or all together if possible to ensure a good, deep sleep at night. Poor and insufficient sleep causes your mind and body to be tired and restless, further causing a whole host of problems like brain fog, impaired memory, depression, hormone imbalances, organ malfunction, hair loss, and even skin deterioration. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing.