This ultimate coronavirus lockdown guide provides tips for working remotely, exercising, dealing with boredom, entertaining your kids, shopping for food and coping with isolation
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has drastically shifted society and every part of our day-to-day lives. We are all creatures of habit and having a daily routine helps us feel productive, safe and secure. When those routines are disrupted, it can create a sense of uncertainty, stress and anxiety. In this blog article, you will find the ultimate coronavirus lockdown guide with tips to help address almost every facet of your life.
All of this has been assembled for you in one place so you can access whatever you need to help you and your loved ones get through the coronavirus lockdown in the best way possible.
Table of Contents
- How to succeed with working remotely
- How to exercise and stay physically active at home
- How to cope with social isolation
- How to cope with your stress and anxiety
- How to prepare for grocery shopping
- How to eliminate boredom
- How to entertain and care for your kids
- How to homeschool your kids
- How tween and teens can stay engaged
- Share your ideas and resources
How to succeed with working remotely
The coronavirus lockdown has forced numerous companies to require employees to work from home. Whether you are familiar with working remotely, or this is a new experience for you, try to reframe it, and think of it as an exciting opportunity.
You can learn new skills, assess your practice and create optimal systems to help you be productive, focused and motivated for working remotely.
Working remotely as an online professor for Simmons School of Social Work has been a great learning experience for me. I was nervous at first to work remotely, since it was unfamiliar.
I quickly figured out a system that worked well for me, and started implementing it regularly. As a result, I saw an increase in my productivity, and decrease in my stress.
In short, my best practices and tips to work from home during the coronavirus lockdown include the following:
- Create a daily schedule and follow it
- Shower, get dressed & look professional (no pajamas & funky hair days)
- Establish a work station (not where you sleep or relax)
- Take your lunch & coffee breaks
- Prepare healthy snacks & don’t visit the fridge every 5 minutes
- Get some exercise, stretch & move (don’t just sit on the couch all day)
- Go outside and get fresh air
- Keep regular & frequent communication with your team & supervisor using Slack, secure chat, etc.
- Schedule time to connect virtually with colleagues via Skype, Zoom, etc. (it makes a big difference to see someone)
- Set boundaries (i.e. time you stop working, change into leisure clothing & relax at home)
Whether you’re new to remote work or a seasoned one, check out these awesome free online courses you can take from Lynda.com. These courses explain everything from time management, productivity, stress management, developing resourcefulness and more.
In addition, my friend Catherine Beard wrote this great article about being productive when working from home. She has some great tips including remembering to take breaks, clocking your hours, and creating a peaceful work environment at home.
How to exercise and stay physically active at home
One important tip during the coronavirus lockdown is to take care of your physical health and manage your stress, while respecting social distancing. Exercise helps with stress management, reducing anxiety and bolstering your immune system.
Remember, if you’re permitted, go outside, walk, run, ride your bike, go hiking and spend time in nature. This is the best time to support small business owners, so sign-up for a virtual classes being offered by your local gyms, yoga studios and fitness instructors.
Undoubtedly, we’re all experiencing the frustration of not being able to go to the gym because of the coronavirus lockdown. Fortunately, there are plenty of no-equipment-required exercises — like squats, burpees, sit-ups, planks, push-ups and mountain climbers — you can do. You can also access these 7 workout videos for free to try in the comfort of your own home.
How to cope with social isolation
We are all hardwired for connection. Right now, we’re all experiencing the stressors of social isolation because of the coronavirus lockdown and social distancing.
Remember physical distancing does not mean actual social distancing. It’s important for you to connect with your friends, colleagues and family members. You should also reach out to anyone you’re concerned about.
Currently, I’m working remotely as a medical social worker. Since I miss my daily in-person interactions with my colleagues at the hospital, I have set up weekly Skype meetings to maintain our connections and friendships.
“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”Brené Brown
In fact, I have started scheduling dates with my friends through FaceTime, and notice that I feel significantly better after we see and talk to one another.
Without a doubt, you too can stay connected by utilizing social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Whatsapp. You can see your loved ones face-to-face using apps like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom.
Start a routine
Naturally you may be tempted to stay in your pajamas and binge watch your favorite TV shows all day during the coronavirus lockdown.
This is not a good idea.
It is crucial to get into a new routine and create a schedule that includes physical activity, social connection and self-care activities. This will help you cope better during the coronavirus lockdown. I loved the suggestions by Dr. Elizabeth Markle on Four Things to Do Every Day for your Mental Health.
Enjoy a home retreat
Since we are all encouraged to stay home, now is a perfect time to create a home retreat for yourself. The purpose of this retreat is to slow down, connect with your body, learn to relax and let go.
Two of my favorite meditation teachers, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach have created a free half-day home mindfulness retreat. You can find more information on how to create your own home retreat, including a schedule to follow and meditations to listen to.
Limit your coronavirus news exposure
It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of news and social media right now. There’s emerging coronavirus updates, every minute of the day. Yet, how much value does this actually bring you? Does it help you feel better or does it amplify your stress, fears and anxiety?
To get through this coronavirus lockdown, the best tip I can offer you is to approach screen time mindfully.
Set limits for yourself (perhaps an alarm) on the amount of time you are going to look up news articles and read information. After your alarm goes off, you acknowledge that your time is over for the day, and focus on your self-care activities.
Get some sun and breath fresh air
Going outside can be a refreshing escape from being in a coronavirus lockdown, if you’re living in an area where you are still allowed to spend time outside honoring social distancing. If you can, get some sun, go take a walk, hike or simply sit outside and observe the trees, birds, clouds and sounds around you. Even if you’re in a lockdown and can’t leave your home, you can still open your windows once in a while and take a breath of fresh air.
Remember that this is temporary
When you are coping with social isolation, it is very easy to get wrapped up in the state of permanence. Your brain loves to examine worst case scenarios, and create terrifying stories in your mind.
To stop this from happening, you have to remind yourself that nothing is permanent, and that this situation is temporary.
You will have to remind yourself of this over and over again. This situation is temporary, and we will all get through it together.
How to cope with your stress and anxiety
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing a lot of uncertainty, anxiety and stress. It is easy to fall into ruminating thoughts, catastrophic thinking, and negative habitual behaviors. There are a lot of unknowns and it is challenging to find the answers.
Keep things in perspective
Your brain is unable to process many things at one time, so your full attention becomes focused on one problem. There is a lot going on right now, so your brain can make relatively small things look really big. To shift this, focus on keeping things in perspective and start a gratitude practice.
Start practicing gratitude
In positive psychology, clients are taught to identify and write down 3 things that they are grateful for every day. It can be as simple as watching a beautiful sunset, or drinking a warm cup of coffee. When you start a daily gratitude practice, you start conditioning your brain to focus on what is working and going well, rather than what isn’t.
Start practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness practice encourages non-judgmental awareness, seeing things exactly as they are, with openness and curiosity. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creates a lot of unrest and fear, especially if you are in a lockdown. Practicing mindfulness draws your attention to what is happening right here, right now, in the present moment.
Deal with ruminating thoughts and worries
If you are having ruminating thoughts, it is important to recognize them, and redirect your attention. Changing your focus can help interrupt those negative thought patterns.
As soon as you recognize that you’re going into an anxiety spiral, stop and check in with your body. I feel my anxiety in my chest and stomach. I’ve noticed that the anxiety feels like a small tornado. Where do you feel the anxiety in your body?
Remember if you’re freaking out, you are not alone and nothing is wrong with you. Right now we’re all facing uncertainty and anxiety. This will pass soon.
At the same same, try writing down a plan of small actionable steps you can take right away when you start worrying. Being proactive helps ease your fears. One step in my action plan is to practice square breathing, which helps me feel more grounded.
Seek mental health support
There is a significant difference between having emotional ups and downs, and a prolonged period of emotional distress. The main difference is that your daily functioning (eating, sleeping, moving, working, communicating) drastically change, and you aren’t doing those activities like you normally do.
“Getting help when needed is a sign of maturity and wisdom. And don’t wait until you’re at wit’s end; get help early and often.”Dr. Jay Winner
Reach out to a licensed mental health professional if you notice that your anxiety and stress symptoms begin to interfere with your work, maintaining close relationships, socializing or taking care of yourself and others.
There are several online platforms where you can get immediate access to a licensed mental health professional. If you already have a therapist, contact them and set up a virtual session.
How to prepare for grocery shopping
The key to grocery shopping is to have a plan. This helps you buy the right items and avoid panic-shopping. Remember, grocery stores are still open, and will remain open.
“We have been absolutely reassured that the supplies are there. There is enough for everybody. So plan, don’t panic is the key thing.”Dr. Christopher Hand
First, take a look at what you have in the pantry and write a list. Next, research receipes and create a solid meal plan before you go shopping. A helpful tip to follow if you’re sheltering in place is a list of foods to purchase.
Most importantly, your meals should consist of a starch, a protein and produce. Try to avoid canned foods and eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables, which are healthier for you and bolster your immune system.
How to eliminate boredom
Are you feeling bored and restless, not sure what to do to get through your days while you’re in a coronavirus lockdown? The tips below include a variety of activities you can do, ranging from volunteering to learning a new language.
- Get creative and reduce your anxiety and stress
- Volunteer at your local food bank, dog shelter or find a pen pal at a nursing home
- Attend a virtual concert or hear music at the Metropolitan Opera
- Take a virtual museum tour and check out 12 museums from around the world
- Travel to 20 Amazing Places around the world without leaving your home
- Look at cute animals via virtual zoo tours
- Take free online classes from Harvard or on Coursera
- Learn a new language or master the one you learned in high school
- Start a virtual book club and read free books on Hoopla or Google Books
- Write letters of gratitude to old friends, teachers or the post man
- Volunteer to teach a course online for kids that are out of school
- Make a home spa by assembling your own spa kit & get ready to relax
- Use this time to do a spring cleaning and use the KonMari method to clean out your closets, toiletries, garage etc.,
- Organize your digital photos by month, day and event
How to entertain and care for your kids
Now that schools and daycares are closed, parents are wondering how to manage this new and unexpected change to their daily life. I love how Brené Brown shares her experience about hiding in a tuba while dealing with the coronavirus lockdown in her home.
Support anxious and worried kids
Remember that young children do not have the language to communicate their fears or anxiety.
Kids, especially young ones, are very sensitive to the changes around them, and may begin to act out, want to be held more than usual, or not want to follow their regular schedules.
Explain the coronavirus
It’s very important to talk to your kids and explain the coronavirus lockdown in developmentally age appropriate ways. If you need help with this, check out the CDC coronavirus (COVID-19) guide and tips. You can also read your kids this great free e-book called “I Have a Question About Coronavirus” written by social workers Arlen Grad Gaines and Meredith Englander Polsky.
Maintain your kids’ routine
Try to have as much normalcy in your kids routine as possible. This will alleviate their stress, worries and anxiety. Children need consistency and structure in their day-to-day life to feel safe and secure.
Although the coronavirus lockdown may have interrupted your kids daycare, school or after-school activities, it’s critical to work together and maintain as much consistency in their schedule.
Model good self-care
Entertain bored and restless kids
Are your kids bored, restless and driving you crazy while you’re trying to work from home? Try these tips to alleviate the stress and frustration you’re all experiencing during the coronavirus lockdown.
Make a schedule
All kids benefit from having a daily routine. Like the rest of us, they function better with structure, consistency and stability. Initially, when there’s no routine, typically during winter and summer break, kids stay up late, sleep in, and are able to spend their time leisurely.
Remind your kids that they are not on a vacation. Talk with them, and make a schedule together. My friends over at Okayest Mom’s have put together this amazing daily schedule that you can download for free.
Set limits on screen time
You may be tempted to let your kids spend all day on their phones and devices.
“Limitless screen time during an emergency that’s going to last for weeks is not reducing anxiety. It’s throwing gasoline on it. Let them read or do nothing.”Brené Brown
Many parents may resort to unlimited screen time because of their own anxiety and discomfort of dealing with their kids 24-7. It’s understandable, you did not foresee this pandemic happening and being cooped up inside your house all day with your children.
This is where your self-care practices come in handy to help you identify ways to calm down and ground yourself. Please don’t give into the temptation of unlimited screen time just to alleviate your own discomfort. The long term implications are detrimental to your kids physical, emotional and mental health.
Engage your kids in arts and crafts
Start a daily arts and crafts activity for your kids, instead of completely resorting to technology to keep them entertained. There are numerous benefits of arts and crafts, including stress relief, allowing your kids to express themselves in a creative way, and most importantly, having fun.
To get some ideas for craft ideas, check out this list put together by Good Housekeeping. Doing arts & crafts is also a great way for you to relieve some of your stress, take a break and engage with your kids in a positive manner.
Encourage physical activity
We all need to be physically active for our health and wellness. Kids need more activity, because they have a lot more energy than adults, and the coronavirus lockdown may activate and increase their stress.
To integrate physical activity in your kids’ schedule, you can use GoNoodle.com or Cosmic Kids Yoga which provide at-home exercise programs for free. If you are still permitted to go outside, you can all go on a walk, bike ride or hike.
How to homeschool your kids
How do you make sure your kids keep learning if schools are closed? Some kids love school, and the school closures are very challenging for them. Others may be thrilled that school is closed for the foreseeable future.
Talk with your kids and set some realistic goals about learning. Find two or three subjects they’re interested in, and focus on how they can master them.
Next, contact your local school district to see if there are any online home school options. You can also check out a comprehensive list of education companies offering free subscriptions.
How tween and teens can stay engaged
A really cool option for tweens and teens is to volunteer to teach other kids online. There are programs like Girls Rock SB which encourage teens to teach live online classes via Zoom. Classes are interactive and can be on various subjects like knitting, cooking or any subject that your teen is skilled in.
The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have impacted every aspect of our day-to-day life. Your regular daily routine, work, social life, connecting with your social support system and your children’s lives have significantly changed.
My hope is that this informative guide gave you the tools to help you find appropriate and relevant tips and resources to feel more connected with your loved ones, productive with your work, and integrate proven self-care and wellness practices for your physical, emotional and mental health.
I truly believe that we are all resilient. I know that we have the internal and external resources to traverse this obstacle, like others, that we have faced before.
By focusing on being kind to others, our self-care, social connections and well-being, we will not only survive, but we will thrive from the coronavirus lockdown and pandemic.
We will bounce back by riding this wave together.
I would love to hear about what resources you have discovered to help you with your work, exercise, grocery shopping, mental health and self-care. For parents out there, please share anything that you are using to keep yourself sane and your kids entertained. Share your comments, ideas and resources below.