Tips to Surviving WFH During a Social Lockdown
Are you sent home from work/school/coffee shop and forced to sit around your house with your loved ones? Me too, it stinks. As someone who thrives on being in the office with my colleagues and also a father of two young children, I’ve had to get creative on not going nuts working from home unexpectedly. Here are some tips that I’ve come up with to keep your mind right during what is possibly total social and economic collapse.
Move your body around
Exercise is the first thing to go when you’re at home. You’re used to walking to and from the car/train/office. Now you walk from your bed to the toilet to the kitchen to the desk. 100 steps max unless you live in a lavish estate or castle. Take time in the morning before you start to get your body moving.
- Pandemic Burpee Ladder — every day of the lockdown, do a burpee, adding one each day. So on the first day, do 1 burpee. On day two, do 2 burpees. Day three, do 3. And so on! On the tenth day, you will have done 55 total burpees. Not bad!
- Walk around your neighborhood at lunch time. Just don’t touch or kiss any strangers you might see. Breathe that deep outside air.
- Every half hour stand up and do 10 jumping jacks. Even if you are on a video conference.
Do Crafts! Color, paint, draw, sing, play music, build Legos
Yesterday I went to Michael’s (while liberally dousing myself in hand sanitizer every five minutes) and got paint and foam board. I cut out pictures of fashion people from a magazine and glue-sticked them to the foam board, then with my 3 year old we painted wild sh*t.
Later in the afternoon, we built Anakin’s Jedi ship. I explained to her that later he got most of his skin burned off and his legs cut off. I’m trying to get her to join the Dark Side, so this felt like a pivotal moment for us.
Long story short — you need to stretch your creative brain. You will have less in-person conversations, less stimulation. Keep your spirits up by creating and being creative. It doesn’t have to be a Picasso — you can even just throw it out. But put color to paper/wall/foam board and stretch your brain.
Another idea — bake! Cook! Make treats. Just remember if you eat a pound of sugar, get your ass down on the ground and do some burpees.
Read Books and Long-form Articles
This is a great time to spend time building up that smart brain. Grab some books off the shelf or on the kindle or the literary magazine and stretch things out. If you want some recommendations, look at the books I read last year. You’ll love some of them. Or, ping me in the comments for suggestions.
The brain is a muscle, right? Or at least that’s what teachers tell us when they catch us sleeping in class. Flex it. Come out of this pandemic a smarter better taller stronger you. Dab on the haters.
Keep a Pandemic Journal
I am already a fastidious journaler, writing something every night before bed about my day. I have started to write at the top “First Sunday of the Pandemic…” etc. It’s kind of ominous but I know that one day if I survive this I am going to be happy that I did it. Writing a few sentences every day about what you felt, what you did and saw, etc, is hugely enabling. Not only does it help you put words to your experience, it also helps you think more objectively about the world around you.
The way I like to start when I feel roadblocked is “This morning I woke up at X and then did Y.” Usually the words start to flow a little bit after. Or I will say things like “They are saying on the news that Y and Z are likely to happen.” It can be as simple as very straightforward record-keeping, or as in-depth as writing out your mortal fears.
Call people on the telephone
Texting is fun and good. But what about picking up the phone and calling mom/dad/cousin/friend/colleague/state representatives and talking to them? For many of us this would be hella novel. Now, when I was young we watched Dawson’s Creek while talking on the phone. But today I only get on the phone when it’s for a WebEx. I called my grandma just to chat. She hated it, but that’s fine!
Love you, Jo Ellen!
Don’t succumb to fear, but be a good citizen
You have a duty of care not only to yourself and those immediately around you, but to your fellow citizen. If you can help someone in need, a neighbor, a relative, do that. Bring over food or cleansers. Just be very careful you are not a vector for infection. Stay out of stores if you can. Is this all going to blow over and we will feel ridiculous? Maybe. Hopefully. But what if we don’t? What if we march this disease through to something worse? Don’t be that gal or guy.
After this is all said and done life will go back to whatever the new normal is. We will have to live with ourselves and with others. Let’s get there in one piece and with as much sanity as we can manage.