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With much of the world’s population ‘staying home,’ it’s important to consider how we will all continue to be productive, as we adjust to our new normal. For now, gone are the days of commuting to work, giving you more time back into the day to take care of business. With your newfound spare time, think of everything you can catch up on. Catch-up on so many things like; sleep, hobbies, reading, correspondence with old friends/ family, laundry, DIY tasks, or even your dreaded taxes (which we are all putting off).
Here are some suggestions from your friends at Big Fish to help you thrive while being home.
CLEAN & ORGANIZE
Spending more time at home, you may be looking around your house and noticing how much clutter you have. Why do you still have these jean’s in the back of your closet from 2003, you know the ones you haven’t tried on in a decade? When is the last time you saw [INSERT MISSING ITEM HERE] somewhere in the back of the garage, but don’t have energy or patience to find it?
Dedicate some time to cleaning, simplifying or decluttering your home. Dive deep into closets, crawl spaces and junk drawers to sort all the items you have accumulated over the years. Take time to walk (or run) down memory lane, then divide things into categories; keep, trash, donate. Organize items you do choose to keep, making sure each has a ‘place’ that it belongs, to avoid falling back into the bad habit of having cluttered space. While local charities are currently closed to receiving donations, we trust they will reopen again. With that in mind, you can begin your ‘spring’ cleaning now, storing items until you are able to donate for the time being. Your donations will be passed along to welcoming hands, and it frees you from the clutter. If you really catch the cleaning bug, you can move onto areas like; the garage, backyard, shed, pantry, fridge/ freezer. Organization and cleaning will invigorate you with a positive feeling once you’re done, and let’s face it, feels much better to stay home when you’re in a clean organized space. Tidying up should bring you joy, both during the process and most importantly when you have finished.
Once your home is more organized, it will be easier to notice all those projects you have been wanting to dive into. Is there an area of your home you have been wanting to add an extra touch too? Maybe it’s adding extra storage shelfs in the garage, hanging curtains in the spare bedroom, or adding a new splash of paint to the interior (or exterior). Even create a whole new work from home (WFM) office space, since it may be a while before we are commuting to work again. Now is the time to take on this DIY project! Order the supplies you will need for this home improvement project at your local hardware store (online) and start your handiwork. Even if you are a beginner, there is no better time to start a new a fun project, you may end up finding a new hobby you love.
With your ample time staying home, now is the chance to get those creative juices flowing! Get involved in some creative activities or hobbies, which you may not have had time to juggle prior. You can start with options like; photography, knitting, painting, pottery, coloring, doodling, journal writing, or scrap-booking to name a few. The possibilities are truly endless, even resurrect old hobbies you may have previously not had the time for.
Start a COVID-19 memoir to document your experiences and keep yourself entertained. Read all those books you have been meaning to get to. Sift through your thousands of photos you have taken over the years, sitting in your phone, even organize them into albums. Work on a puzzle, play board games or even contact your quarantine buddies for a virtual card game. Even expand your knowledge and learn a new language, with classes online. While gatherings are not advisable right now, thanks to the internet, information and classes of all sorts are still accessible. Learning something new and critically thinking are great ways to avoid cabin fever, remember to exercise your mind in addition to your body.
Life is all about balance, so during your numerous ‘stay home’ days, you may feel the occasional need to just lay on the couch, with a pint of ice cream (Breyers or Dreyers), binging shows or movies you love, just for your own sanity – this is totally normal. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon are great avenues to keep entertained when being stuck at home. Even watch a documentary, or something educational to increase your knowledge during this time. A healthy alternative is listening to music, have on your favorite playlist in the background while you work and take time for the occasional jam session. Studies also show that working in complete silence isn’t the answer to being most productive. According to recent studies, having on music or TV in the background helps to promote creative thinking. During your time spent at home, be sure to keep a healthy balance of entertainment in your routine.
COOK or BAKE
Research shows there are financial and nutritional benefits to cooking from home. According to a study published by the Journal of Positive Psychology, cooking can be therapeutic; as it promotes creativity, while making people feel relaxed and happier. While you are staying home, why not take some time to really master your way around the kitchen?
Instead of relying on Amazon Fresh to stock up, take the time to see if your local independent grocers or farmers markets are delivering. If possible, try to order ingredients outside of your typical quick-meal rotations, branch out and create something new, even working with the unusual supplies you have in the back of your pantry.
Use this time to prepare and try new things, learn to truly appreciate cooking or baking. Enjoy family meal-time together by cooking as a team. Experiment and practice new recipes as a family, you can even make it into a competition by assigning different days of cooking or different people tasks for each meal.
While we are not able to get out as we normally would, it is still crucial to keep moving – don’t let the extra time you are spending at home make you sluggish or lazy. It is easy to fall into the bad habit of couch sitting and Netflix surfing your way through the day (or week) instead, start a healthier routine, by getting out each day to move your body!
Walking and getting outside not only counts as physical activity, but provides numerous benefits like; boosting to creativity, reducing boredom and anxiety, all while making you feel happier. Feeling stiff from sitting at your WFH station? Consider stretching or doing a 10-minute yoga routine (which can also boost mood, while lowering stress & anxiety). Once physically active, your body will release natural endorphins, making you feel much better than you would by just sitting on the couch. Get active each day and start a new routine, here are some things you can try; bike, play sports, do yoga, walk. Getting outside has numerous benefits including soaking up sunlight and breathing fresh air, however you can also search platforms like YouTube for at home fitness tutorials. The benefits of physical activity are going to help us all move our way right out of this little slump.
It is normal to be stressed during times of uncertainty (especially a global pandemic), you may be feeling a range of emotions, but it is important to remember you are not in this alone (literally). Taking time to care for yourself is crucial, which equips you to manage this time and even help others. Self-care goes beyond physical health, as it’s also important to remember to care for your mental health as well. Take time out of each day to do a ‘mental check in’ and find what works best for you, whether this is yoga, guided meditation, writing in a journal, doing a facemask, or talking with friends. Be sure to take an extra moment to care for yourself. As they say, you must put on your oxygen mask before you are able to help others.
SOCIALLY DISTANT – PHYSICALLY CONNECTED
Worldwide, this pandemic has affected the way in which we live our lives. Stay Home orders have meant our ‘old normal’ is on pause, no causal dinners out with friends, or running into the grocery store without a giving it a second thought. While we adjust to our ‘new normal,’ and must remain physically distant for now (at least 6 feet). It is important not to socially isolate ourselves and continuously check in with those that matter to us. Take this opportunity to call, text, email or video chat with friends and members of your family. Being distant does not mean you cannot connect, and this connection is something that can help us all tremendously.
We understand, it’s hard to get anything done when your kids are running around, clearly not onboard. We hear them voicing their opinions on our zoom meetings, sometimes we even get a shot of them running through the background. While staying home, it is important to establish a ‘new routine’ to make this time feel as normal as possible, remember kids are used to social interaction all day at school with many chances to get their wiggles out. During this new normal, be sure to include them in tasks and things you are doing around the house (like cleaning, cooking and exercising). Make it into a game to entice their participation, children learn from doing, so if they see you having fun it is highly likely they will follow suit.