Navigating a world on pause: coping strategies

DO YOU GOT A LOT OF TIME on your hands and find it hard to keep your mood up when put in self-quarantine? This is for sure some bizarre time with not only travel bans but we have also been put into isolation all around the world. We have a responsibility to take this very seriously and take precautions to not get sick and spread the virus. This has also resulted in a lot of frustration, fairness and boredom (I am literally crawling the walls). But let’s stay optimistic because this won’t last forever.

My biggest problem with this pandemic (so far) is to keep some sort of productivity while staying safely at home. There is nothing like the thrill we get when something exciting happens in life. But now, everything feels a bit meh. What should we do with all of this dull time? Even though we are not able to travel right now there is still a lot to do while being trapped inside. There are things you can do though, I have listed a few tips below:

Find an at-home routine (and make it fun)

Find the balance between staying at home while not losing your mind. How hard can it be? Turns out, it is extremely difficult to find normalcy during uncertain times. I like having things to do, I am one of those people who rather have a hectic life than a restless one. I have decided to create a schedule for myself for the upcoming weeks (maybe months) to keep myself occupied, mostly to avoid binge Netflix all day.

I personally find this to be the best approach because I live and breathe to-do-lists. There is something incredibly satisfying when you get to write things down and ticking them off. I need some more structure to my morning routine and meal prepping. Like clearing my head, set some new goals and figure out how I am going to work towards them – realistically. When you realise that you actually did accomplish something during the day – like catching up with your Mum, go for a walk or simply focus on things that bring you joy – that feeling is true satisfaction.

TIPS! Make a ‘spring’ of ‘feel good’ playlist on Spotify that you can listen to during your breaks.

Make your bed

When you spend all your awaken time at home, things get messy. I got laundry piled on the floor, yesterdays dishes in the sink and coffee cups on my desk – you get the picture. Maybe it is time to declutter your space and begin a little spring cleaning? A clean home is important for your overall mental health. Our environment can reflect our emotional state, so keep it inspirational. Why not clean out your closet, tidy your drawers, sort things out, move around your furnitures, donate or resell stuff that you have not used in years?

Do you also have that strange feeling of guilt because you lack productivity? I decided to take a break from the news feed and instead look for comfort. Something that really calms me is fresh and crisp beddings and wearing comfy loungewear (yes I have stocked up on a few sets). When everything feels under control, so do you.

Reconnect with friends and family

One bad day can easily spiral into a bad week even months. I have recently been stuck in a bit of a rut and when you are in a state of anxiety it is easy to feed yourselves negative emotions and thoughts. Add a global pandemic to that mix and you also have to deal with social isolation on top of everything else – I mean, it can be challenging.

If you find yourself in the same situation, if you are feeling stressed, try to step outside of your own mindset and take some deep breaths. When you feel a lack of excitement, time or joy you will always have people around that you can lean on, vent your frustrations and support you. Remember to make an effort to stay connected with friends and family. Show your nearest that you love them, give them a call to tell them that you are okay.

Get creative and learn something new

How do we stay motivated? Why not spend this time learning something new, challenge yourself and growing a new skill? The only way we grow is by getting outside of our comfort zone. Suggestions? Why not take an online class, get a new hobby, do some volunteer work, learn a new language, make art or why not start a blog. Find something that is going to stimulate you. I have thought about picking up photography again. How about you? Do something that will bring you closer to what you want out of life.

I like planning and always having something productive going on so it made me realise what makes me happy and what to do with all this free time at home. Turn uncertainty into opportunity. Do what feels good. Anything from binge your favourite tv series, go on a date, start meditation, have a game-night or why not take a road trip?

Go outside and stay active

We will probably be stuck at home for a couple of weeks, maybe even months, so a move-your-body plan might be in place. Find something that keep the energy pumping and brings you joy. Like going for a walk to get some fresh air, doing a yoga flow or stretching before bed. When feeling stressed, practice breathing techniques: release your shoulders, unclench your jaw, take deep breaths – repeat.

How about an online workout class? Why not try this ’30 days of yoga challenge’ with Adriene to get started. Exercise can help you boost your mood, so roll out your yoga mat and start stretching now – release those endorphins.

But it is not only about staying active, you need to head outside too. My energy levels have dramatically improved since getting five minutes of sunlight. It is one of those simple pleasures that should not go unnoticed right now. Even though social distancing is hard, fresh air boosts your vitamin D and eases stress. Go outside (while being cautious, of course) even if it is just for 30 minutes for an instant mood boost. Suggestions? Well, you could go for a walk, sit in the sun or run while listening to an inspirational podcast or two.

Remember, keep your distance!

Backup your computer

You know you are going to regret it if you don’t. BACKUP NOW!

Practice self-care

I have been thinking a lot about self-reflection during the past years. How to learn from my mistakes and grow as a person. This has helped me a lot in working more on myself but also made me realise what makes me happy. But it is also very important to improve your overall wellbeing especially at these times. I think I will fill my 2020 with practicing gratitude to boost my self-encouragement and keep a journal on what I need to be happier.

How to start? Everyone is dealing with stressful situations differently. Are you having problems sleeping or feeling stressed? Maybe you should focus on getting enough sleep, read more books, start meditating or try to take a break from the news feed. Things are changing and it is hard to prioritise what to focus on, I get it. Think about the things you value and that you really enjoy doing. Make them part of your every day routine to improve your mental health. Think of it as a daily progress, give it some time and you will slowly turn it into habits. It will help you be more relaxed and productive but also bring more gratitude & awareness into your life.

Don’t panic

If you are like me and lost your job because of the coronavirus, it is hard not to panic! This situation is out of your control, it will be a big challenge and a mental struggle but renewer that it is only temporary – fingers crossed. Even though I know what I need to do, I still end up putting it off because it triggers a stress or can’t-be-bothered reaction. Will this be the year of procrastination? Hope not.

Let’s not enter panic-mode. Use the setback to strengthen the future. Spend some time reconnecting with your goals. Try to lay out your problems and start to tackle them one by one. Polish your resume, look over your finances and come up with ways to generate income. This is for sure a tough time, but you are going to get through this too.

Plan your trip of a lifetime

The urge to explore never goes away and having something to look forward to can really boost your mood! Not sure where you want to go? Get inspired by watching a travel movie or a Netflix documentary (how many of you have seen the ‘Tiger King’ raise your hand?). One of my favourite hobbies is to go nerdy and read up on a specific destination in detail. Pin interesting posts and bookmark Instagram pictures for later. Inspiration is everywhere so just go nuts. Don’t let this virus kill your dreams – start planning for your future now.

Support your locals

Because everything is slowly closing down, your local businesses will need your support more than ever. If you are able to, make a donation or volunteer. Even small actions can make a huge difference.

Last but not least, start on the Easter chocolate eggs! I won’t judge.



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