Covid-19 pandemic has left almost everyone stranded at home. The lockdown policy only allows the movement of the essential workforce that is needed to continue working to support necessary facilities such as hospitals, groceries, and supermarkets, food production companies, logistics companies, etc. For most people, we are asked by our respective governments to stay at home to help control the spread of Covid-19 and hopefully to help flatten the curve. The quarantine period is being extended and the end is still nowhere in sight for some countries.
It’s been more than a month since we have been placed in Enhanced Community Quarantine here in Metro Manila which took effect last March 16, 2020. Boredom and behavioral fatigue are both starting to wear us out. It’s also starting to cause stress and anxiety to a lot of people.
I’m not an expert in the medical field, but since I found myself with so much idle time recently, I started reading more about the history and timeline of past pandemics to learn how past generations have dealt with it. There have been numerous pandemics in the past which, unfortunately, caused the lives of millions of people. It made me realized that all of them have one thing in common. Just like many tragedies that befall mankind, we as a specie will always fight for our survival and move on and thrive. It may be an overly optimistic thought, but I believe that this current situation that we are all in is something that we as a specie will eventually recover from just like how mankind survived similar situations in the past.
Here are some links on history and timeline of past pandemics if you’re also interested to know more about it:
- Wikipedia – List of Epidemics
- WHO – Infographic of Major Infectious Threats in the 21st Century
- Visual Capitalist – Visualising the History of Pandemics
- History – Pandemics that Changed the History
And since many of us are stuck at home due to this pandemic, here are some ideas on how we could make the most of our time during the quarantine period.
Clear Out the Clutter at Home
Now is the best time to start cleaning our houses that we sometimes forget to do due to our busy lifestyles. We now have enough time to sweep, mop and disinfect every nooks and cranny in our respective houses.
Aside from cleaning, this is also the best time to start clearing the clutter in our houses.
Prepare three boxes to help you easily organize your stuff. And to avoid being overwhelmed, do this activity one room at a time. One of the boxes will contain things that can be donated or sold. The second box is for things that will be thrown away. And the third box will be for something that you’re not using anymore but you have not decided on what to do with them yet. Of course, the things that you are still using will stay in their current storage spaces.
If you have children at home, involve them with this activity as this is also a great opportunity to teach them the value of having a clean and organize living space.
Reflect and Focus on Yourself
After cleaning and organizing your house, this is a great opportunity to have a quality “me time”. Go take a long relaxing bath. Prepare a meal that is both nourishing and delicious. Prepare yourself a refreshing drink. Grab a pen and paper and sit in a quiet and relaxing space in your house away from everyone else.
Start with reflecting on everything that you are very grateful for. The things that you have achieved and completed in the first four months of 2020. Gratitude is one of the most powerful virtues there is and it helps people stay grounded and motivated.
Afterward, think about what you want to achieve in the coming months. It does not have to be too grand and ambitious. It can be simple things in life such as visiting one of your friends or family members who live in other towns or cities. You can plan about finishing a book that you have always planned to read. It can also be about learning new skills such as cooking or gardening.
For those who have the bandwidth to carry on a bigger responsibility, think about what you want to achieve in your career for this year.
- Are you thinking of getting promoted before the year ends?
- Or are you thinking of starting a side-income hustle to help you earn more money?
Write those ideas down and go into details if you can. It will make things easier and more digestible once you have decided to act on those plans.
Here’s a simple outline of how I usually do this.
Goal: To earn more by getting promoted this year
Decision: Can I take on a bigger responsibility at work and at the same time manage my responsibilities at home?
Things I Need to Do:
- Identify the next level position that I’d like to be promoted to
- List down the skills and competencies that are needed for that job
- Determine the steps that I need to take in order to learn the needed skills in the shortest possible time
- Research the key resources that could help me do this
- Know the barriers or hindrances to your plan
- Plot the timeline on how I could overcome those barriers
- Look for an alternative option: What would I do in case there’s no job opening for the post that I want? Will I look somewhere else? Or should I start my own side-hustle instead?
Develop New Hobbies
After you’re done with your “me time” to reflect. Try to engage yourself with new hobbies that could help you convert the “worried and anxious energy” that has been building up inside you since the start of the quarantine period. Turn it into a “fun and productive energy”.
Again, if you’re living with family members at home, this is a great time to not only learn something new but also create long-lasting memories with your family.
Do you want to learn how to cook? Write down your desired food menu for the week and look for Youtube tutorials on how to make those dishes. Delegate some of the tasks to your family members so everyone is involved.
Do you want to learn how to garden? This would be a nice activity with your family during the quarantine period. Start scouring Youtube for instructional videos on gardening. You will be hitting two birds in one stone by focusing on edible plants. Planting herbs, vegetables, and other edible plants will not just teach you how to garden but at the same time, it will provide food for your table in the coming months. And who knows, maybe aside from helping you save money, it could provide an additional income too.
Catch Up with Friends
If you’re not in the mood to do anything, you can also use this time to catch-up with friends that you have not seen or talked to in a long time. Thanks to the advent of technology, it’s almost free nowadays to make voice calls or video calls to almost everyone you know anywhere in the world.
Send them an email, text message, or DM. Schedule a date and time when you are both free to chat. Share updates about your life. Ask how they’ve been. Schedule a meet-up once the quarantine is lifted so you could have a face to face interactions. This is also a great opportunity to renew and rebuild your professional network. Send an e-card to everyone you wish to get in touch with again. This will be greatly appreciated especially during this trying time.
Get Enough Sleep
A lot of people in Metro Manila are working in the BPO industry and they often work at night. If you are one of those employees who work in various shifts, then this is a great time to catch up with some quality sleep. I believe that an ample amount of time should be dedicated daily to our rest and relaxation. Getting some proper rest will keep us healthy and more productive in the long run.
A stressed mind and body often lead to illness. And that’s the last thing that we want to happen especially during these times.
Turn off your phone for an hour or two before your bedtime. You can also listen to relaxing music to help you sleep better. Try to minimize your exposure to news to lessen your anxiety. The more we become anxious, the more it becomes difficult to sleep well.
Do you have any additional suggestions on what to do during the quarantine period? Feel free to share additional tips on how you could stay productive at home in the comment section below.