So far, I haven’t addressed the one thing that of course is top of the headlines worldwide: the corona virus. My situation is currently that I am fine, but The Netherlands is slowly but surely shutting down more and more businesses. Last week all schools for higher education were closed and I have been working from home since. This week has been hectic as we are suddenly scrambling to setup distance and remote learning and we are figuring things out as we go along. At the same time more and more stores, restaurants and other aspects of public life are shutting down one by one. It is a surreal situation and I have been trying to keep busy with work and regular walks and trips to the grocery store. As I am single, social distancing is quite easy for me as long as I stay home. However, that does mean that you need to try and tackle to not feel too lonely. Since I am a bit of hermit at the best of times though I am not fearful of feeling like I am completely cut off of everyone and everything. So I figured I could share with you my top 10 tips to cope with social distancing.
#1 Keep a routine
I work from home more often, usually more planned out than this, but when I have piles of grading to do I prefer to do this at home. I find it works best if I try to stick to my normal routine as much as possible. So I get up, have breakfast, get dressed and then whip out the laptop. To me it is very attractive to get up and get started straight away, but before I know it, it is noon and I am still in my PJs. I feel better and more energized if I just get ready and then start working.
#2 Take a break
Additionally, I try to take a break around lunch time as well. Especially when I don’t have anywhere else to go, I don’t want to stay cooped up in the house all day. So around lunch time I try to go outside, even if it is just a quick run to the grocery store. The other day, after setting up my first lesson I had a banging headache and I decided to go for a walk in the park near my house. The sun was out, the weather was lovely and it was great to be up and moving. I instantly felt better and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
Even if you can’t go outside, try to move everyday. Do a short workout, dance, do something silly, even if you just do a short sun salutation: a good stretch, getting your body moving will have a great effect on your system if you do it regularly. I had really hoped that at least my gym would stay open, but my dance classes and weekly workouts are all cancelled and that means I need to stay active to avoid climbing the walls. My gym currently organizes daily workout sessions via Facebook Live and I will definitely be joining them a few times a week.
#4 Stay busy
Try to make sure you have a few chores or tasks around the house as well. Keep up your household chores, perhaps there are some cupboards that you have been meaning to clean out for years but haven’t gotten around to yet. See this as a great moment to go through things and cleanup. Since it is spring time, this is also an ideal time to start working on your garden or balcony if you have that opportunity. In short, lots to do on top of the work you are already doing.
#5 Be idle
However let’s not kid ourselves. I have read many articles claiming that now that everyone is working from home, doesn’t mean that you can’t take some time to Netflix and chill. Some articles even go as far as to suggest that we should worry less about work and focus on what is much more important now which is to look out for the people we hold most dear. Some people suggest that people need to adjust to this new situation and that that takes time. So try to also take some time for yourself and put that laptop away at the end of the day to avoid working well into the night.
#6 Read more
If you stay tuned for today’s book video, you will see that I just got my hands on a massive pile of new books. I couldn’t have picked a better time! Sure, I am working most of the week still, but since I have nowhere else to go that means I have more time to read as well. This is a perfect time to read more. Dutch libraries are closed, but they now offer a few audiobooks for free. Book stores are still open (for the time being) and of course you can order them online if you’d like.
#7 Try something new
Now would also be a good time to take up a new hobby. Pick up puzzles (like I did over the Christmas period), cook a dish you have never done before or just try to find information about topics you enjoy. There is so much you can do. Apparently Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in isolation during the plague. So who knows? Perhaps you’ll finally find the time to write that book? I know I won’t any time soon as my lessons are still running and there are lots of other work related aspects still being worked out and discussed. But it is an option if you are currently not having much to do.
#8 Bake a cake
In case you are wondering why the post opened with a picture of brownies: I decided to do some baking yesterday at the end of the workday to have something else to do. Again, if you work from home you simply spent too much time behind a laptop so it is good to other things. So I decided to bake some almond meal brownies. It is fun to do, it has you do something differently for a bit as well and it is a way to keep busy.
#9 Help someone else
You will have seen it popping up on your socials I’m sure: initiative upon initiative of people asking or offering help. Some people simply cannot go anywhere yet at the moment, but if you still can and your country doesn’t have too many restrictions, you could help people with their groceries, or cook them an extra meal. When the schools closed lots of people offered to babysit the kids of people who did have to go to work and people who have some sort of healthcare training have been asked to sign up to backup.
#10 Stay connected
Okay so we can’t leave the house, cannot gather in groups, and need to keep 1.5 meters distance between each other? But that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected. Through Whatsapp, Facebook, Face Time, Teams or just a good old fashioned phone call or a post card, we can still stay in touch and share our lives together. Is it an ideal situation? No, but it is one that can work for how long this situation will take.