From new roommates, newly weds and battle tested couples with children/grandchildren/great grandchildren, many spouses and significant others are feeling the added stress of forced isolation, shelter in place and quarantine orders. These are unprecedented times for anyone outside of the oldest handful of people that were alive for the Spanish flu.
For many families, quarantines present unique circumstances that require house members to remain in close contact with one another for extended periods of time. Since this event is constantly changing and evolving, the exact amount of time is unknown. More than 80% of the United States has been instructed to shelter in place. However, it is a safe assessment that quarantine policies will extend past current expectations for much of the population.
During these times it's important to interact with our loved ones, but also find things we enjoy doing by ourselves or in isolation. If you are lucky to have a few rooms in your living domicile, be grateful for the extra space in times like this.
Family attorneys expect divorce rates to increase as a result of Covid-19. So to help avoid going through this difficult life event, implement the tools and techniques below.
Limit News & Social Media Consumption
Too much of anything can be an issue. There is no exception to social, local or global media consumption. The human brain is not programmed to consume and digest as much information as we have become accustomed to. We need to be cognizant of this fact and do our best to limit our news and social media consumption in normal times, but especially stressful ones.
This is not a suggestion or recommendation to go cold turkey on either of these platforms.The news and social media platforms provide productive and healthy outlets for many around the world. However, in excess, social media and news consumption can be problematic. Compound this to a global pandemic and large amounts of free time and it's a perfect recipe for information overload.
Most IPhones now have reporting tools on your data and browsing habits. This easy to understand report identifies where you spend the least or most amount of time on your phone, along with daily average screen time. Keep in mind that many individuals sleep for eight hours a day, work for eight hours a day and then look at some sort of screen for much of their leisure time. Try reading, exercising or starting a new skill! Your brain and body will thank you later :).
Get Back to Your Roots with Your Significant Other
Was there an event, hobby or activity that you and your significant other bonded over in the early days of your relationship? Try reconvening and getting back to your roots. Obviously, not all activities or hobbies are realistic in a time of quarantine, but many can be replicated, or at least some similarities to these events can be implemented. Going through videos and photos of these times can help you walk down memory lane while also helping to flatten the curve.
If the two of you bonded over local farmers markets and concerts then unfortunately these events are out of the question for an indefinite period of time. However, if you and your significant other originally bonded over sports, hiking, cooking or anything else that can be performed in small groups then use your best judgement, and follow the CDC's guidelines and local and state laws.
Unfortunately, if you had a trip planned, it is strongly encouraged to postpone or cancel the trip. In these historic times, it's imperative to limit our travel and only to travel if it is absolutely essential. Flattening the curve has trickle effects that bleed into several unforeseen industries. The worst thing that can be done is to inundate the healthcare system with preventable Covid-19 exposures. Resources are thin and Covid-19 can cripple small resort towns that rely on tourism in non-pandemic times.
Digital Social Interaction With Co-Workers, Friends & Loved Ones
Many individuals under quarantine are feeling isolated at this time. However, relative to other pandemics, we have many resources and outlets to pass the time compared to past generations. I know it might be difficult to imagine, but we are far luckier than in years past.
During the 1918 flu pandemic, there was no TV, no internet, no computers. Most people relied on their local newspaper affiliates for their information and many were under informed regarding the severity of the virus or unable to terminate their normal day to day routine. This led to the virus largely being unchecked and led to mass population decline. Quarantines prior to the 21st century are far different from what we have to work with.
Play Video Games with Friends
To put this in perspective, we have this much easier than any other time of a pandemic in human history. Help pass the time by playing video games with friends, family members or loved ones. It can be a fun way to pass the time and helps reduce stress. This can be done either online or offline with a member of the same household.
From video game platforms like Playstation®, XBox®, Ninendo ® or playing free games on your computer and implementing video conferencing software can help make things more normal.
Interactions Through Facetime, Slack, Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts
Miss your bestie? How bout grandma and grandpa you've been avoiding for their own good? Try contacting them via applications like Facetime, Slack, Zoom and Skype. There are several video messaging platforms around today and these applications help connect with one another when we can't in person.
Yes, you'll probably have to walk grandma and grandpa through their almost inevitable IT issues, but it can bring joy to all parties involved. Putting a smile on a loved one's face can make anyone's day and improve morale!
Find a Routine
This can be difficult for a lot of people. If you're lucky enough to have employment and be able to work from home, it's highly advantageous to get into some sort of routine. Most people have routines during normal periods of time. A schedule of sorts for when to wake up during weekdays with when to get to work, eat lunch, pick the kids up, exercise, organize dinner and so on.
In the morning perform the same daily routines you would in times of normalcy. Do remember to shower, brush your teeth and put on some sort of normal attire. Wearing the same pair of sweats for a week is less than ideal, for both you and your spouse. However, studies have shown that dressing up for work while working from home can provide an improvement in overall performance.
It's great to be comfortable but it also provides benefits to have a professional persona. Some people work better from their pajamas, and others work better from normal work attire.If you're feeling adventurous, you can opt for the mullet outfit for your next video meeting. Find what works and roll with it but remember to look professional in your video meeting!
If you have any children, it's probable that they are spending time at your home. Continue to do whatever makes your home feel "normal". Make breakfast, encourage learning and school assignments and use this as an opportunity to spend valuable bonding time. If children ask about Covid-19, don't keep them in the dark. Although this can be scary, speak to them open and honestly about viruses. Game nights, video games, walks around the block (while having adequate space between members of your household and others) can help immensely.
Your gym shuttering its doors doesn't mean that you have to stop your exercise routine. If you have a garage gym then you're better prepared for this kind of thing than most. However, if you don't have any home workout gear, you can obtain affordable fitness equipment relatively easily. Outlets like Amazon can ship to you, and many storefront businesses are offering curbside pickup for consumers. A bench, adjustable dumbbells, and a pullup bar can all be obtained for roughly $300. These staples can help start your own home or garage gym.
Don't let this pandemic interfere with your exercise goals (as long as you are practicing safe distancing and following guidelines). Even if it's not the same level of intensity you can still get quality exercises in with no equipment at all! Plus switching it up from a normal routine, can provide benefits and implement muscle confusion to push you through plateaus!
Exercise routines can be implemented in times of pandemics with moderate adjustments. Avoid gyms for the intermittent period of time and find home workouts to do. There are plenty of resources out there and getting exercise is important to both your physical and mental health.
Weeds and unattended yard work at your place limiting curb appeal? How bout those clothes or old items you've been meaning to donate but keep getting pushed off? Now is a great time to perform these tasks.
Do this with your significant other and you will have a sense of accomplishment once the task is complete. An added benefit is you and your spouse work as a team, which in turn can alleviate stress and improve respect and the relationship.
Our minds endure unnecessary stress when we live in cluttered or dirty environments. By clearing out the clutter and eliminating or limiting excess items can really help our homes appeal but more importantly our own relationships.
Have something in mind you've been putting off for weeks, months or even years? Maybe you wanted to start a side business, learn a new skill or further your education but were strapped for time? What better place than home, and what better time than now? Now is the time to put in valuable groundwork for this project.
Even if you are planning on starting something like a restaurant, you can still do exploratory research for your passion project or next business venture. Take this time to better yourself and put in the ground work to better your future.
In 2020 our options are far superior regarding how we choose to pass the time. Given the notion that many of us have far much more leisure time than the early twentieth century, and are capable of working from home as a result of 20th century innovations, we have the upper hand opposed to yesteryear.
Find something you enjoy and focus your time and energy on it while complying with local, state and health organization recommendations and ordinances. Don't break any local laws and limit travel as much as possible. There's still plenty of enjoyable outlets we can implement in our daily routines and we have to be willing to adjust to these new challenges humanity is facing. We are all in this together and, although it might be difficult for some in the short run, it will benefit us all in the long run to quarantine and practice social distancing.