The Isolation Staycation
We are all still dealing with the unknown of Covid-19 and the massive disruption it has caused in every aspect of our lives. If you’re one of the fortunate ones, you are getting into a rhythm of working from home and balancing the demands of work, possibly homeschooling kids and avoiding other people. If you are one of the millions who are less fortunate, then maybe you are trying to figure out how to pay your bills now that you’ve received your last paycheck for an unknown period of time.
The stress and anxiety that many of us are experiencing right now can harm us physically and emotionally. So how do you stay healthy when you are locked down and dealing with so much change—even crisis?
My aunt sent me an email describing how she is taking advantage of her “Isolation Vacation.” Her idea is to be intentional about how she spends her time to ensure something positive comes from her isolation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This raised the question,How will I be healthy and creative with the stay-at-home order? I decided to reframe my “lock-down” and now look at this time as my personal Isolation Staycation. In that spirit, I’ve been pondering how to make the most of this time.
Here are my tips for creating and taking advantage of an Isolation Staycation:
1.Create a new schedule. Transfer time management and prioritization skills to the new work and life routine. I am setting aside specific time for working, being creative, exercising and spending time with family. It might be more important than ever to be disciplined about time.
2.Turn off the news. Although it’s important to stay informed of the changes that happen from hour to hour, it can be mind-numbing and anxiety producing to hear the 24-hour news feed. Give the brain a break. Check in at regular intervals to get important updates without overloading mental circuit-breakers.
3.Take a mindful minute. Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress and improve focus and memory. Who couldn’t use that right now? It’s easy to get started, and anyone can do it—not just monks and yogis. Sit in a comfortable chair, breathe in deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Do this several times and then return to normal breathing patterns. Focus on breathing. When the mind wanders, gently nudge it back to breath. Do this for two minutes every morning to get the day started right. Want to learn more? Turn to your phone. Yep, there are great apps to help you develop a mindfulness practice. Try Headspace or Calm to get started.
4.Move. Physical movement and exercise are important. Whether it’s taking the kiddos or dogs for a walk around the block or putting on your favorite exercise video, do something! Exercise produces endorphins which make us feel better about ourselves and can improve our mood. Besides, exercise is good for us! Just maintain the social distance barrier when outside.
5.Learn something. Many companies and schools are offering free online courses and webinars on a wide variety of topics. Search the web and find something interesting.YouTube is full of videos teaching you how to tackle projects and learn new creative outlets. Always curious about art? Break out the colored pencils and watch an online how-to video. Now could be a great time to let out your inner Picasso.
6.Use Technology to connect with friends and family. Use your favorite video-conference platform to set up a “Happy Hour” with your friends and colleagues after work. Why not enjoy some live conversation with a few of your favorite people over a beverage? Don’t forget to check in with loved ones. A quick phone call in the morning to say hello and check in is a great way to start the day.
7.Play! Playing is often underrated by adults. It has proven benefits to our well-being and happiness. Find something fun to do. Have kids at home? Tired of your kids’ favorite animated film on repeat? Turn the TV off and pull out some games. Being silly and laughing with the kids could be a great distraction from the reality of the outside world. Or maybe, break out a deck of cards and challenge yourself to an old-fashioned game of solitaire.
8.Read. If you’re like me there is a stack of 20 books around the house (or on your Kindle) waiting to be read. Schedule an hour a day to tackle that reading list.
9.Have purpose. Setting a clear intention for the day and having a plan to live up to it is imperative. Without clear purpose we may just squander our 24 hours each day with mindless coping, cleaning, eating or working too many hours at our desks. Instead, be certain to take time for the things that will sustain you.
10.Be thankful. Gratitude is an excellent antidote to many ailments. There is much grief and anxiety in the world right now. Taking a few minutes each day to express my gratitude is a way for me to focus my attention on the good in my world.
I wish you, your families and colleagues health and wellness now and always.
At Dorsey Management Consulting, we help our clients learn new skills and expand their leadership capacity to better lead their organizations into the future. We help leadership teams learn how to work together more effectively and efficiently, enabling them to make sound and timely decisions in pursuit of achieving greater success. We partner with our clients to design and build succession plans and develop their future leaders. We coach executives to achieve higher self-awareness and be more effective leaders of people. We do this in service of learning, helping each of our clients become better versions of themselves and achieving organizational goals.