It seems like every other post on Facebook is about being bored. Then again, maybe that's how Facebook is all of the time and I just haven't had 12 hours a day to take inventory of repeating posts. Nevertheless, here I am, mindlessly scrolling through yet another ranting post about how there's nothing worse than being stuck inside.
Frankly, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the headlines. I'm sick of the rants. I'm sick of all of it and for goodness sake, PLEASE do not say the following words around me for the next 24-48 hours; coronavirus, COVID-19, social distance, stimulus, press conference and last but not least failing job market. Ah yes, a failing job market, exactly what a graduating college student wants to hear one-million times a day.
I get it. You have me sold. I'm staying in. I'm all about flattening the curve and keeping my family safe but now what? How do I get past the mindless ranting on Facebook and progress from bored to restored? How do I make the most of my time at home without going totally insane? If you're ready to ditch the sore thumbs from too much scrolling or the pounding headache from more screen-time than sleep time, here are some potential action steps;
1. Section off your space
Now that we're done moping about being stuck inside, it's time to reframe our space from jail-cell to cozy oasis. Okay, maybe turning your house into an "oasis" seems like a stretch but we're doing the best with what we have.
Give each room or area in your home a purpose and use it for only that. If your bedroom is meant for sleeping, clean, de-clutter and make it the best dang bedroom it can be. If your office has never been suitable for actual work, now is the time to switch it up and make it somewhere you can be productive.
If you're going to spend all of your time inside, maybe it's time to make "inside" somewhere that doesn't make you want to rip your hair out.
2. Make use of online ordering
Now may not be the time to go crazy with impulse online purchases but if there are things you're missing from your office or classroom, it may be worth the few bucks to recreate those atmospheres in your home.
For me, this meant spending a whopping $20 on two new whiteboards for my make-shift office space. Being able to organize in the same way I do at school completely changed my productivity mindset.
3. Set realistic goals and don't break them
NOW is the time to do all of the things you didn't have time for before. I know this may not be the ideal circumstance but why not give it a shot? A huge mentally calming practice for me is to create 5-day goals. Each week, I set between 7-10 goals and try to meet them five out of the seven days in the week. Being able to feel like you're accomplishing goals to better yourself is exactly the motivation we need to sit through yet another zoom meeting.
If you really struggle with breaking the goals and promises you set for yourself, set those goals with someone else. Either call a friend or work with someone in your home to create a plan and hold each other accountable for said goals.
4. Pretend you're in the stone age (or the age when people actually wrote to each other)
According to my elders (sarcasm, intended), there once was a time when people actually documented thoughts and emotions on paper rather than via text message. I've always respected the practice but rarely participated in it myself. If you feel the same way about some of the more intimate ways of communication, now is the time to give it a shot. Write a letter. Write a poem. Journal your thoughts and frustrations. Document your five-day goal success.
Also, since there's quite literally NOTHING to do but walk to the mailbox, writing a letter to a friend will be like sending a hug from afar. Do something kind. Take the time to write to the people you love.
5. Do something that you'll thank yourself for in a month
Let's say, a month from now, we get released from our quarantine "oasis" and are finally ready to begin the process of reacclimating to human life. Wouldn't it be great to look back and say, "I am so glad I did ____ for myself." How many times in life have we wished we had the time to declutter, exercise or start cooking? Um hi, it may not be glamorous but we have been given the gift of time.
We don't get a re-do when it comes to spending or wasting our time. I know for most of us this isn't how we pictured this time passing but there's nothing we can do about that. We might as well control what we can and go from there.
6. Embrace the lazy
The previous five suggestions have been based on productivity. I chose to take that route because, at least for me, being productive right now is really hard and while that's something I am trying to improve, it's also totally okay. What we are living through right now isn't easy. A lot of things in our lives have been totally changed. For a planner like me, this isn't a settling time. Through it all, your mental health and your ability to process everything happening around you is more important than your productivity.
Be lazy. Lay on the couch until noon and don't shame yourself for the second serving of dessert. If you don't feel like using this time to stress about your weight or learning a new instrument, don't. Leave all that crap to Mary Poppins and focus on being the best version of yourself you can be during a worldwide disaster.
No matter what calms you; redecorating or reorganizing, reading or watching, desk-sitting or couch-zooming, do what works for you. After all, we're all inside together.