Home Sweet Home – 6 ways to survive and make the most of practicing social distancing

Home Sweet Home – 6 ways to survive and make the most of practicing social distancing

We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation as we wage war on the global pandemic that is COVID-19. This pandemic has had devastating consequences for many people across the globe. We therefore owe it to those individuals and ourselves to do our best to flatten the Corona Virus curve through self-isolation and social distancing. For many of us this means working from home and children learning from home. As you can imagine,  a drastic change in normal routine combined with the high levels of worry can put a great deal of strain on families. Don’t despair, there is a lot that can be done to help turn a negative into a positive, see this as an opportunity to have quality family time together.

To start, develop a stay at home game plan. Take into account each family member’s strengths and weaknesses – ask each other about personal expectations during this time of being in each other’s space, while trying not to be in each other’s space! Knowing each other’s specific concerns can help you avoid unintentionally upsetting a loved one. It is natural that tensions are running high, be cognisant of this, give each other a bit more leeway than you usually would.

Make sure that you have an open and honest conversation with your family, especially younger children. Knowing why it is necessary and how much it is helping can reduce the frustrations that will naturally crop up. It’s also important that you help your children separate fact from fiction as there is so much misinformation being put out by the media. Use reputable sources such as the CDC to help you.

Once everyone understands why it is necessary to stay at home, prepare your plan of action, it will go a long way to stem any upcoming cabin fever and ensure we can stay positive while doing our utmost to fight this virus. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1) Set your daily routine:

– Many experts advocate keeping to as much of a normal routine as possible. During office hours make sure you are being productive. For your kids during school hours ensure they have enough to keep them busy, use resources such as instructional videos and online discussion so that they don’t fall behind. If you usually do an exercise class on a Tuesday evening, schedule that time and download an exercise app. Basically, anything you can do to maintain a level of normality should be encouraged.

2) Define your spaces:

– Try carve out an area in your home that becomes a dedicated work or study area. This can help you keep focused and away from the distractions that being at home provides. It also makes it clear to other family members that you are doing an activity that means you shouldn’t be disturbed unnecessarily. Setting clear boundaries is essential to ensure you can all work, if not together, at least in close proximity to each other.

3) Create a list of down time activities that you can do from home:

– Perhaps this is a good time for you to harness your inner master chef? Ever wanted to learn Spanish or French? – now’s the time. There are abundant tutorials and videos you can use to teach yourselves new skills. Learning a new language could be viewed as a way to connect with others in a way that you weren’t able to previously. Imagine ringing up a friend or colleague and asking them how they are in their home language? Use social distancing as a tool to better connect with those around you in the long run. This not only means you are being productive during this time but can also provide an inexpensive way to spend quality time with each other.

4) Go green!

– Seasons are changing so now is a great time to start that vegetable garden. Not only will this provide some much-needed time outdoors but can help supplement your fridge, giving you variety as you indulge your new found inner foodie or ensuring a good supply to fresh goods. Even if you live in an apartment, get a stacked growing rack. I have black thumbs and have managed to kill an air plant but even I have been able to eat spinach grown by my own hands. Some easy to grow options include spinach, carrots, tomatoes, radishes and bell peppers. If you have more than you need, share with your neighbours, it’s a way we can contribute to easing the economic burdens that come with social distancing and staying at home.

5) Check off your to do list:

– We all have tasks that have been on our to do list that we never quite seem to get to. I know organising my photos folder has been on mine for a few years. By staying at home, we gain time from not commuting and not being able to attend our usual activities, so don’t waste these precious hours. Use them to get to the things that are usually pushed to the back of the line. Organise your Tupperware draw (we all know we need to!), redecorate a room, clear out your cupboards – this is after all the right time for a spring clean. This can also benefit your mental state, a well organised or restful space can help you to cope with staying in.

6) Find a way to give back:

– Many of us have the luxury of working from home and access to entertainment and resources to ensure we don’t fall too far behind. Others are not quite as lucky, so try practicing Corona kindness. Offer to let your neighbour’s kids work from your home if their parents work in essential services such as doctors or garbage men and therefore need child care as they cannot stay home. Elderly friends or relations? Offer to organise their groceries for them as they are more vulnerable, assist them to use technology they might not be familiar with so they can stay connected to those around them.

So, stay informed, stay home, stay active, stay kind and give each other a break. We are all in this together and together we can get through it!

 


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ANRF
Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation
arthritisresearch@curearthritis.org

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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