Since we’re in for an extended lockdown, it seems that we’ll be in our homes for the upcoming weeks as well. This indefinite isolation, panic over scarce resources and information overload is a recipe for unchecked anxiety and feelings of loneliness. The following are a few ways to survive spiraling negative thoughts in this uncertain time:
1) Instead of thinking “I am stuck inside” think “I can finally focus on my home and myself”
The world may feel dismal right now, but try and focus on the mandated work-from-home policy as an opportunity to distract your attention from the external to the internal. Doing one thing that is productive per day leads to a more positive attitude. Finish off on long-avoided tasks, reorganize, or make something that you’ve always wanted to. To approach this time with a mindset of feeling trapped or stuck will only increase your anxiety. This is your opportunity to slow down and concentrate on self healing.
2) Stick to your normal routine
Try to have a similar structure from the pre-quarantine days. If you have children, sticking to a routine might be easier; however when you work from home, it’s easy to fall into a more lethargic lifestyle, leading to negative thinking. Maintain a morning and bedtime routine, eat meals, shower, adapt your exercise regimen, and change out of your PJ’s. Do your laundry on Sundays. Sticking to your normal routine will not only keep you active and less likely to spiral, it will also make it easier to readjust to the outside world when the time comes to get back to work.
3) Don’t obsess over endless Coronavirus coverage
Having no work or social obligations gives you plenty of time to obsess, and if you turn to consulting Google for every itch and sneeze, you may be over-researching the pandemic as well. Sticking to certain credible websites for a decided amount of time each day (perhaps two chunks of 30 minutes each) will be in your best interest during this time.
4) An unstable home can lead to an unstable mind
There is far too much uncertainty happening outside the home. So, try and keep the inside organized, predictable and clean. Make a schedule for daily activities to organize your day. Do not eat in bed or work on the sofa- instead eat at the dinner table and work at your desk. If you loosen these boundaries it will muddle up your routine and make the day feel unusually long. Also, a cluttered home can make you feel uneasy and claustrophobic so keep your home tidy.
5) Make a new quarantine ritual
Use this newfound time to do something special during these days of lockdown. For example, you can start a daily journal for writing down thoughts and feelings to reflect on later. Or take a walk on your balcony or roof, connect with your old friends over video calls, or start a watercolor painting to add to everyday. Doing something different during this time will let you look forward to each new day.