Top tips on adjusting to lockdown

1 April 2020

Adjusting to self-isolation involves overcoming a few unique challenges that you might not have come across before. So here’s a guide to what to expect – and how to adjust. 

Tackling a lack of structure 

The challenge: When you’re unable to leave the house, suddenly the day can feel like one long stretch to fill. Being in work makes things easier, but it’s hard to keep work and home life separate when they occupy the same physical space. 

How to adjust: 

  • If you don’t currently work, make sure you make a routine. It breaks up the day and means you don’t have to keep making decisions about what to do. Don’t be afraid to shake things up from time to time (e.g. the weekends) if you start to find it monotonous! 
  • If you do work, keep things consistent – avoid taking random breaks whenever you finish a task, then feel guilty about procrastinating. Plan in your breaks so that you don’t feel like this! 
    Give yourself a break for lunch. Too many of us avoid taking a lunch break at work – but it’s a good way to divide up the day. 
  • Don’t worry if you find yourself taking breaks more often than when you were at work. Working in an office we often have conversations throughout the day that give us our social contact. You won’t get this at home, so don’t feel guilty about taking the time to talk to people on the phone or via video during your breaks. 

Tackling a lack of plans 

The challenge: You’re facing the prospect of your weekend nights at home. Holidays, concerts, gigs, and restaurant outings have all been cancelled. You probably have a calendar on your wall which is full of crossed-out plans. 

How to adjust:  

  • Make plans with people anyway! There are lots of things you can do “virtually” – you can have a “film night” where you video call someone then watch the same film at the same time. With a little more organisation, you could run a virtual quiz night.  
  • The main thing is to schedule these things and treat them like an event you’re going to. So put them in your calendar, or diary – whatever your use. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can fill up the week. 
  • If you make a regular call to someone, schedule this in too. You’ll appreciate having these little things to look forward to. 

Filling your time 

The challenge: Even with work and “virtual events” you’ll often find yourself with a lot of new-found time on your hands. It’s important to stay as busy as before, but when you’re stuck at home you might have to be a bit creative. 

How to adjust: 

  • Learn something new – it’s a great way to make use of the extra time, and it’s easier to learn online than ever. Coursera, Udemy and Edx offer thousands of free courses. You could even make it social by starting a course with a family member or friend. 
  • Find something creative to work on – such as a book you want to read, a drawing you want to do, a song you want to learn on an instrument, or a crafting project. 

Staying connected to nature 

The challenge: We all need to interact with nature – it’s good for our wellbeing. But staying in the house can make this difficult. What can you do when you’re not able to go on walks? 

How to adjust: 

  • If you have a garden, use it! Plant some flowers or vegetables to give yourself something to do in the garden, or just sit out with a book when the weather’s good. 
  • Even if you don’t have a garden, there are things you can do. If you’ve never had houseplants before – or you tried and haven’t been able to take care of them – now is the time to get some. Even if there’s not much natural light in your house, there are plenty of plants that will survive. And make sure you ventilate the house regularly – a good breeze can work wonders on a sleepy afternoon. 
  • Even connecting with nature virtually can help. Rewatch your favourite David Attenborough series or watch a livestream of an animal webcam. If you have a VR headset, you can immerse yourself in a natural environment with apps such as Nature Treks VR

Final tips 

  • Take care of your environment – You’ll be spending a lot of your time in the same spaces. Keeping things clean and tidy can help you avoid feeling too cooped up.
  • Take care of yourself – The simple things make a huge difference: drink plenty of water, try to keep to a consistent sleep schedule, and eat regularly.
  • Do whatever you can to be physically active – You won’t be walking anywhere, so use the stairs, do some gentle exercises, and get up to clean and cook as much as you can! If you find yourself sitting a lot, make sure you get up now and then and change where you sit.