Alone time can seem daunting. And right now, many of us don't have the option. Without being a Pollyanna, we try to focus on the positives when we can at MamaSezz and we've been sharing with each other the things we've found to be most helpful during this time at home. Here are some of the ways you can make the most of your alone time.
But First: Our Gift To You
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Working from home?
As companies nationwide work to prevent the spread of coronavirus, more people are working from home. While remote work may have once been a company perk, right now it's a necessity that is often easier said than done if you're not really set up for it, having to juggle family and kids at home, or simply overwhelmed by the global pandemic. Here are our top tips to make working from home more productive right now.
Bored at home?
Quarantine may be especially difficult for extroverted people. Social stimulation and group events help to spark creativity, develop a sense of flexibility, and keep us grounded. When that is taken away, you may find yourself feeling “bored” or even depressed.
One thing we've found helpful is to schedule your day (with some flexibility). Things like projects, meal times, and even downtime can be put on a schedule to help give your day some structure and make the time go by faster.
Here's a sample quarantine schedule:
8:00am Set an alarm to avoid sleeping in and throwing off your schedule
8:15am Get dressed and ready for the day
9:00am Prepare a healthy plant-based breakfast, eat breakfast, and clean your dishes
10:00am Meditate or do yoga (find at-home workouts here)
11:00am Pay bills, do paperwork, respond to emails, work on your puzzle
12:00pm Prepare lunch, eat a healthy lunch, and clean your dishes
1:30pm Take a walk (if you’re able to leave your house)
If you’re unable to take a walk, sit by a sunny open window, or on a porch.
2:00pm Creative time: Develop a new skill or work on a project (see section #2)
3:30pm You time: this is an opportunity for you to write letters, watch an episode of your favorite show, exercise, check social media, nap, enjoy a healthy snack, or call your parents/children.
5:00pm Prepare dinner, eat a healthy dinner, clean your dishes.
7:00pm Set up a Zoom or FaceTime call with your friends or family.
8:00pm You time: this is an opportunity for you to sit back and relax, maybe take a walk, read a book, or watch an episode of your favorite TV show.
9:00pm Shower and get ready for bed. End screen time.
9:30pm Read a few chapters of your favorite book or journal.
10:00pm Lights out and rest up for tomorrow.
Creativity blossoms in solitude. With less to distract you, and more time alone with your thoughts, you are more likely to let your creativity shine through. Weather you’re expressive and bold, or more of a “draw in the lines” kind of person, there are plenty of new skills to learn and free resources to help you reach your goals (HINT: Youtube is great for step by step tutorials).
New skills for those who like structure:
New skills for expressive and creative individuals:
New skills for everyone:
Learn to cook healthy [our favorite plant-based recipes here]
Learn a musical instrument [learn piano in 4 minutes here]
Make home repairs [guide to simple home repairs here]
Yoga [try this beginner's yoga flow here]
Meditation [guided meditation with Deepak Chopra here]
Start a garden [how to begin organic gardening here]
Tai Chi [beginner program here]
Learn a new dance [3 beginner dance moves here]
It’s easy to lose yourself in your relationships, whether romantic, platonic, or at work. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in your job, or even your role as a parent or spouse. We have a tendency to identify ourselves by the relationships we have: mother/father, wife/husband, daughter/son, employee, etc. While it's wonderful to take pride in the relationships you've built, it’s also important to be proud of yourself as… just yourself! Take the time to reunite with you. Here's how.
Before you brush your teeth in the morning, tell yourself one gratitude. It could be as simple as “I am thankful for the sunshine that comes in my windows” or “I am grateful for my fuzzy bath mat.” Starting your morning off with a positive comment is a simple way to incorporate the habit of gratitude into your daily routine. Here are some more ways you can practice gratitude daily.
Give yourself a compliment..out loud. This may seem silly at first, but giving yourself complaints can boost your confidence. Tell yourself “I have a beautiful smile” or “wow, I’m witty and quick on my feet!" You compliment others all day and you deserve some love, too. Take this time to appreciate all it is you have to offer.
What better time to brush up on your dance moves than in isolation? Dancing can boost your confidence and is a great way to exercise without access to a gym. Pick your favorite music video on Youtube and try to copy the dancers, or make up your own moves! They even have slow motion tutorials and dance challenges. Draw the curtains if you feel embarrassed, start slow, and find your expression!
Revisit old hobbies.
What did you use to do that you loved and were good at? Perhaps you used to bead, play pool, craft, or woodwork...but life got busy and your hobby fell through the cracks. Now's the time to reignite it. Set aside 30 minutes (or more if you have the time) each day to revisit your old hobby! It’s often easier to pick up an old skill than to start a new one entirely.
Take relaxation time.
However busy or under-stimulated you may be, block out some time every day to just sit and think. For over-thinkers, this can seem daunting, especially if you use social stimulation to distract yourself from internal issues that you’re struggling with. Taking the time to let your mind wander and work through those problem is healthy, and it’s something that doesn’t often happen in the fast pace of today's culture.
Write a one page entry at the end of the day before you go to bed. It’s okay to just write a stream of consciousness, but if you're looking for more structure, try this easy journaling exercise:
- Write about something that upset you during the day and how you feel about it.
- Then write about a highlight of the day and why that moment stood out to you.
Remember to date each entry-- and then you can reference it later if you’re unsure how you feel about an ongoing situation, or you need to relive a happy memory. Studies show that journaling can actually help you cope with depression, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Our Gift To You
This is a stressful time for many but there are silver linings to alone time. Here are some ways you can benefit from your time at home:
- Practice time management and productivity with our work-from-home tips.
- Develop a new skill like yoga, painting, knitting, plant-based cooking.
- Get to know yourself without distractions by practicing gratitude, complimenting yourself, dancing, revisiting old hobbies, relaxing, journaling.
By Caroline DiNicola Fawley
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies