Whether we like it or not, everything has changed. Almost overnight, millions of people have found themselves locked down and facing new challenges. Many children have needed to be homeschooled by parents who have work of their own to do. Money worries have abounded and many businesses have crashed. In addition to worrying about one’s own health, there is the added concern for elderly relatives or those with existing medical conditions.
Can this cloud have a silver lining? Can any good come from it, and how do we make the most of our new situation? Let’s take a look at six strategies right now.
1. Seek professional help
Fortunately, there is far less social stigma for those struggling with anxiety or depression. Some people already had these issues before the pandemic, and their symptoms have now become heightened. For others, it may be a totally new experience. It is comforting to know that psychiatrists are qualified people who can help in these circumstances. Lockdown doesn’t have to be a barrier, because many professionals offer an online service. They can communicate through secure videos and even prescribe medication where appropriate.
2. Strategically communicate
Without the usual avenues of chatting to colleagues at work or socialising in the evenings, we have to become strategic. In order to fight off the understandable feelings of loneliness and isolation, let’s harness such video platforms as Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime or Zoom. They can help us to make face to face contact with other people, even if we are apart.
It’s wise to make a note in our diaries to regularly contact people – be they friends, family or colleagues. Let’s also use phone calls and social media in order to connect with others.
3. Optimise the working environment
If a person is working from home, the ideal is to have a room that is devoted to this purpose only. It’s hard to switch off and sleep in a room that has been used all day for work. Keep tight working boundaries as well. Choose the start and finishing times and stick to them. Let partners and children know when they can or can’t access the room.
Even when an office is tailor made for purpose, it will still require the occupant to take breaks every thirty minutes. This is to stretch the legs and rest the eyes. If it is possible to go into the garden for half an hour during lunchtime, do this. The fresh air will pay dividends.
4. Recognise the opportunities
What dramatic change does is present challenges, but also opportunities. As amazing as it sounds, some investors have been waiting decades for this moment. Companies like Zoom have grown exponentially because of COVID-19, and Amazon deliveries have gone through the roof.
People who upload digital pictures online have been making face masks. Game creators have been publishing pandemic versions. Companies have had to find ways for employees to work from home. Restaurants have begun to offer home deliveries. The world of freelance is growing at a dramatic rate as people are finding new ways of working from home.
5. Improve your home
Some people have extra time on their hands, which they can use to do some much needed home decorating jobs. Others can look at decluttering. What about selling some unwanted stuff online, or buying some new storage units? Perhaps a coat hook or two for the home’s entrance hall, or a basket to hold peoples’ shoes?
People with hobbies they can do at home can also look to spend more time with these. Perhaps they can be used to create a side income, too.
Many people have paperwork in huge piles. Why not spend some time organising this? Remove the obsolete paperwork and store the rest in a way that it can be easily accessed. When a home feels systematic and organised, our lives will feel more under control.
6. Stay healthy
With COVID-19 being active in every town, it is really important that we have strong immune systems. Let’s keep fit by taking regular exercise. Not just a slow walk, but an activity that gets our hearts racing. Do this for thirty minutes each day during the week. Consider buying an exercise bike or rowing machine to use indoors, if in lockdown.
Stick to disciplined sleeping patterns, even at weekends. Eat healthily (plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables!) and stay off the alcohol or cigarettes if at all possible.
Many things happening in the world today are beyond our control. Fortunately there are things we can still do, such as those we’ve discussed. Let’s take responsibility over our lives and take active steps. When this is all over, we can be better and stronger.