Who better to give advice on being locked indoors for 14 days than a former quarantinee? Take a look at our 20 tips for staying sane at home during quarantine
Our friend and contributor Beth Wright from B Fit and Fabulous recently underwent 14 days in quarantine at her apartment in Hong Kong. While we’ve already shared stories on the best free things to do online, where to order groceries that deliver, and our favourite TV shows to binge watch, she’s sharing tips on how to get through those 336 hours alone.
20 tips for staying sane at home during quarantine
If you are home quarantined or simply self-isolating, here are some of the tips and tricks that really helped me stay SANE during this time, and trust me… there were definitely moments!
- HAVE A ROUTINE. For me, this meant getting up / going to bed at the same time no matter how tempting that extra Netflix show was (plus it has been shown that a regular sleep pattern can improve sleep quality).
- TAKE REGULAR SCHEDULED BREAKS. If working from home (or home schooling), take a proper lunch break / afternoon tea and switch off your (and your kid’s) computer at a set time at the end of the day.
- TAKE OFF YOUR PJs … even if just to put on your favourite athleisure outfit. How you dress / look affects how you feel! I like bright colours and throw on some lip gloss to make me feel semi-presentable!
- WORK EFFICIENTLY. I love using The Pomodoro Technique: work for 20 minutes / 5 min break. Walk around / grab water / drop some push ups, anything to re-energise! I promise you will come back more alert.
- HOME WORKOUTS. Social media is giving away hundreds of amazing workouts aimed at all levels. Have a browse and try something entirely new…no better time (especially if no one’s watching ;-)) (Psst… we have a whole story on the best online fitness classes too.)
- MINI WORKOUTS. No time for a full workout? No problem! Add in a set of body weight squats / push ups / sit ups every time you go to the bathroom / grab a cup of tea or (especially) each time you open that fridge door!
- READ A BOOK. Pick one you have always been meaning to read (or if like me, has sat by your bed for the last year!) Handy hint: Bookazine is currently accepting orders for pick-up or delivery over WhatsApp – +852 6468 8556
- LISTEN TO A BOOK. Sign up to Audible for a FREE month trial of unlimited audio books. (I’m currently listening to Ben Greenfield’s Boundless which will keep me going until Christmas!)
- LEARN SOMETHING NEW. Sign up for a free course on Coursera. There’s no better time to master a new skill or learn something entirely new.
- SUPPORT GROUPS. Join any of the online support groups on Facebook etc. (I found the HK Quarantine Support Group especially helpful!)
- STAY CONNECTED. Reach out to friends / family / buddies who can help with food or supplies, a friendly voice, workouts, or even just Netflix recommendations. Isolation has also been shown to increase anxiety and depression so keep in touch with family and friends (they probably need to hear from you as much as you need to speak to them!)
- STAY POSITIVE / REFRAME. Try saying “I get to do this” rather than “I have to do this” or “Not doing this allows me to be /do /feel this” as opposed to “I can’t do this”.
- GET SUNLIGHT. If you can get outside for even just 20 minutes in the morning (or simply sit by an open window). The morning light helps reset your circadian rhythm which sets you up for the day and will improve the quality of your sleep, can reduce anxiety, and improve feelings of wellbeing. Not to mention our body creates Vitamin D from exposure to direct sunlight!
- TRY SOMETHING NEW. This can be a time to work on things you don’t usually have time for / not good at. Stretching / mobility / handstands / ab work / cooking / meditation/ breath work, there are so many options.
- GOALS. If you are goal orientated, set new goals that you can achieve at home. Go to bed earlier, learn how to do a headstand (crow pose anyone?) perfect a dish in the kitchen, clean out your wardrobe (or any cupboard), plank for a minute (or 5) – trust me I have tried them all!
- SLOW DOWN. Reducing cardio and focusing on slower muscle work with lots of recovery can not only make you feel stronger but can also provide a new stimulus for the body and potentially can increase the number of circulating immune cells that help protect the body against infection.
- GRATITUDE DIARY. Do it daily – even if just three things. Write down something that made you smile or feel good before you go to bed and reread when you wake up to put a spring in your step and start the day feeling positive!
- NETFLIX DETOX. I am not saying don’t watch it, but don’t let it dominate your day or night. If you are watching TV at night try wearing some blue light blocking glasses as the blue light can really affect your sleep. Most opticians sell them or I bought a cool and reasonable pair online.
- WORKOUT WITH A PARTNER. If you can, take your partner and have some fun outdoors with a partner workout, kick a ball around or even just go for a walk. The outdoors is incredibly grounding (and if you see grass take off your shoes for a real earthing experience).
- DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Science shows that doing something for someone else not only makes them feel good but triggers a natural release of oxytocin which boosts your mood and helps counteract the effects of cortisol (the dreaded stress hormone).
In short, this is a challenging time for all of us, but with the right attitude and some positive thinking maybe this period of enforced quiet time can be good for all of us. I hear the birds singing more loudly, the skies are bluer, I sleep better, worry less about social scheduling and for the first time ever I am up-to-date with my studying. I might well enjoy this period for a few more weeks yet!