It is important to stay active and engaged during this time. Below are some tips for doing this while adhering to the government guidelines.
The importance of a structured routine
Most importantly, maintain a structured routine – humans do best when in a routine. Make a plan for your week. Some suggestions:
Include regular sleep and wake times – don’t succumb to staying up all night and sleeping in as this will not help your body stay healthy and your mind happy.
Include exercise and fresh air each day. Consider times and places that won’t be crowded. A brisk 15-minute walk will help; copious apps and web sites, like Peleton and Beachbody on Demand, are offering free trials for two weeks
Plan your study times and set up an organised/distraction-free area to do this.
It’s easy to cut back on basic hygiene like showering when there’s no place to go, but you’ll feel better if you try to keep normal routines in place as much as possible.
Schedule time to keep in touch with friends and family online e.g. set up a group chat with your friends at lunchtime or have a virtual party on a Saturday afternoon.
Keep up a healthy diet.
Limit exposure to the news. Select one reliable news source and only check it once or twice (or less) each day.
Follow good news movements e.g. goodnewsnetwork.org
Limit your screen time – We could all easily get caught in a trap of spending too much time being ‘plugged-in’ while at home.
Schedule time each day to do an activity that you love/makes you smile/laugh e.g. watch your favourite comedy, play with your pets, talk to your funniest friend.
Schedule time each day to do an activity that you find really engaging. Some ideas are:
Do some online yoga
Make a new playlist (happy tunes) and share it with your friends
Gardening – you can buy seeds online. How about a veggie patch?
Art and craft
Find a new hobby
Redecorate your room
Learn a new song on an instrument
Learn a new language
Do a jigsaw
Listen to a podcast (Amazon has cancelled subscription of books and audio stories so you can stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet using the following link: http://stories.audible.com/start-listen)
Engage in mindfulness and meditation activities each day e.g. Smiling Mind, Headspace, Calm, Stop Breathe and Think
Approach the situation with a positive outlook and a helpful thinking style e.g. This isn’t forever; I can make the most of the situation; Things will be back to normal eventually; Consider those in worse situations; We can do this together. You could also start a gratitude diary to remind yourself of all the positives in life.
What others are saying!
Here’s some thoughts from those who have already been living in this situation:
“I liked not having so many time pressures. It actually made me more efficient with my schoolwork and I got heaps done.”
“All my schoolwork was done by midday and I had time to relax and do things I enjoy.”
“It was like an extended weekend. Some of my family were home too so we had a bit of time together.”
“My dad had to have time off work too, so I helped him with some jobs around the house. Sometimes it was boring but at least I was doing something.”
“I ran up and down my driveway and did weights in my bedroom.”
“I suppose I just accepted it and tried to make the best of it. Sometimes when I missed my friends, I had to remind myself that it’s not forever. So many people are far worse off.”
“Mum encouraged me to get some fresh air, so I walked the dog at times when nobody was around. I always felt much better after that.”
“Every day around 4pm I’d meet up with my friends online and play games. It was good to chat and know that I wasn’t alone.”
“I tried to wake at the same time each day and always got my schoolwork done first. I used my whiteboard to plan my schedule. I want to do well, and I didn’t want self-isolation to disadvantage me so I worked really hard.”
“On days that I just sat around doing nothing, I felt really low by the end of the day.” “Beware the Netflix trap!” “Stay active, it makes you feel so much better.”
“Have a daily routine and stick to it.”
“Stick to your normal sleep schedule.”
“After breakfast, I shower and put on comfy clothes (that aren’t pyjamas), then “leave for school”, walk around the block and then come home, having “arrived” to start my school day. Lunch outside for a full 30 minutes, no technology allowed. At the end of the school day another walk around the block, and I’ve arrived “home”. I’m also wearing my Fitbit all day and I’m not allowed to go to bed until I’ve hit 10,000 steps.”