So something happened recently that caused a lot of people to have to work remotely. Some kind of virus I think I heard them say on the news? Anyway, we're all meant to be in a lockdown state which is inevitably going to cause a lot of strain on people's mental and physical wellbeing. Perhaps not immediately, I think there'll be a bit of a novelty effect at first. But give it 3 weeks or so and I think you'll really start to see the effects.
In order to combat this, to look after yourself and those around you - I've co-written a list of ways to maintain your personal wellbeing in this uncertain period:
1. Drink lots of water/tea, this will force breaks
Keep your mind refreshed. It’s pretty rough trynna drink 8 glasses of water a day (if that statistic is even true which I don’t believe it is). BUT whilst in isolation, you may as well use this as an excuse to start drinking more towards this (things that don’t end in -cohol).
Getting up to grab a cuppa is a great excuse to help act as a scheduled break between whatever you’re doing too - working from home, spring cleaning or even watching TV. It gets you up and moving around to ensure the blood flow is still pumping.
Tip: If you’re familiar with the Pomodoro technique, use water as your break after 30 (or so) minutes.
2. Schedule meals, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating when you’re bored
Yup, we’re all guilty of not having anything to do and just raiding the cupboard for a cheeky bickie or packet of chips with aioli (yum).
Feels a bit shit in the long run though, doesn’t it? Try experimenting and scheduling exactly what meals you’re going to have at specific times. Play around so you’re not feeling hungry and you’re not unnecessarily snacking. This is the perfect opportunity to test out new recipes and foods that are tasty, fulfilling and quick.
Tip: The MyFitnessPal app is great at tracking every little thing you put into your body and how this impacts your health. Super quick and easy to do too.
3. Get regular fresh air and sit in the sun for 5 minutes every now and again
Explains itself really. Given how restricted we all are, we may as well make the most of the things we’re allowed to do. The UK’s even limited this to “out for one exercise a day” (good luck monitoring that!). Being cooped up all day is also rather maddening.
If you live in an apartment building or the weather’s cold/rainy, try and make do with what you can by either finding some outside shelter or going for a walk around the block.
4. Communicate with others over video call
In this time of isolation, it’s easy to feel really lonely and forgotten by everyone else. Communication is therefore more important than ever, whether this be via message, call or video call.
A nice twist would be to video call people who you haven’t talked to in a long time and check-in on them. They’ll actually likely take it as a really pleasant surprise and there’s always lots more to catch-up on after a larger time period apart.
Some apps to use:
5. Listen to the music that gets you in the zone
Get those beats down packed. You must have your own playlists by now that help put you in the right headspace. Again, if you don’t - now is the time to experiment and find out what helps you concentrate. Bit of Mozart? Ambient sounds from Yosemite? Dash of Lil Jon? Each to their own, just find out what works for you.
Tip: try some noise-cancelling headphones if your fellow quarantinees are taking every opportunity to piss you right off.
Here's some tunes as a kickstarter:
6. Exercise is the keystone
You were waiting for this one weren’t you? Such an original idea I know. But hang on a second, there’s a reason for this. Exercise really does affect your sleep, your mood, your sense of self-worth and is just generally good for you.
Sports are cancelled, gyms are shut, even general walking as part of your commute means it’s easier than ever to now be a big fat couch potato.
How about some calisthenics, doing some yoga, sprinting to the end of your drive or even just walking round the block if you’re really struggling for motivation?
Some resources to kickstart you:
Centr (Chris Hemsworth’s fitness app) has a limited time 6-week trial on currently for home exercises in isolation. It’s pretty neat and there’s a lot of content on there.
TVNZ have home exercises from Les Mills airing 9am and 3pm everyday. These are also available On Demand if the times don’t suit.
Local groups in your town might be offering online Zoom sessions so you can have an instructor check your form for you still. Check out these ones from Wellness Station for instance
One last thing...
When all’s said and done though, this could be just another article you read that makes you feel motivated in the heat of the moment. You’re like “fuck yeah, let’s go drink some tea now, do some push-ups, boom! Come at me isolation, hit me with anything!”. The next day you’re more like..."Ugh I just can’t be arsed with all this eh".
So it’s finding the ways that allows you to keep this up over time that is absolutely crucial to making everlasting change, otherwise what was the point in reading this? We’re in unstable times - nobody really knows what to do with themselves. Working on some of the basics now, that you wouldn’t normally have time for, can help you make a major improvement once we're out on the other side (whenever that may be).
This blog post was written in collaboration with Rob Besaans. Rob is a co-director at GeoInsight, a business that has worked remotely for the past 2.5 years. He has learned and utilised these techniques when first adjusting to life working outside an office.