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The novel coronavirus has been causing panic all over the world. Many countries have been put on complete lockdown, cases of the virus are increasing … we are all looking to hold onto a sense of stability and normalcy during these changing times. 

This article is not about adding to your stress or preaching about the ways to ‘flatten the curve’ or keeping yourself safe (well, maybe a few suggestions). There are enough reliable news sources sharing that information. Instead, we are here to share how you can manage your time under these new “self-isolating,” “physical distancing” or “quarantine” restrictions. 

While not all employees are allowed to stay at home and telework, many of you have been – newly – limited to the confines of your home for both work and family/leisure time as we practice physical distancing. That change can be challenging and strange. Here are a few tips and resources to help you make the transition a bit easier and the unexpected time at home productive and healthy.

Plan out your days. 

Create a morning routine. We are creatures of habit. What do you want to do in the morning before you start your day? Drink a cup of coffee. Some morning stretches. Read the paper. 

Remember, even if working from home, being productive in pj’s will only work for some. Showering and putting on ‘day clothes’ may help you keep a routine and schedule out your days, despite never having left home.

Keep regular working hours. 

Keep a schedule – allow yourself to work from a certain hour to a certain hour. If you allow yourself to work all day or night, you will end up with tasks left to do at 11pm! Once that hour hits, put the work away – just like ‘clocking out’ or ‘logging off.’

Schedule breaks. 

Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you have to work without breaks. Plan out your lunch break – a full hour to make a delicious meal or put on a TV show as a reward for the productive morning. If you need a change of scenery, allow yourself a 15-minute walk around the block – while respecting the local quarantine or social distance regulations. 


Limit your social media consumption.

Since we are at home, it may be tempting to stay glued to your feed. While it may serve as a distraction, it could also lead to comparing yourself to others – questioning how you are spending your time, if you are being productive enough or getting that 6-pack that Cindy somehow managed overnight. The experts say: 

“Limit your amount of social media every day,” Jameca Falconer, clinical psychologist, says. “That’s going to help some of this social comparison.”

“I think for many people right now, folks are feeling like they don’t have a lot of control of what’s happening. They don’t really know what to do. But you do have control over what you do online,” Lynn Bufka, clinical psychologist at American Psychological Association, says.

Now that the “work day” is over, spend your free time intentionally…

Don’t lose connection. We may be stuck in our homes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected! 

Take some time to video call one friend via Skype, Whatsapp or Facetime. Chat about your day just like you would if you were meeting up for a coffee! 

Brush up on those extra skills. 

With this extra down time, take advantage to learn a new skill, like …

  • Download the app Duolingo and learn a new language
  • Look up recipes and take time to cook some fun new dishes
  • Brush up on your musical skills with an instrument you used to play
  • Download Audible to explore topics where you want to expand skills


Do you want to look inwards during this time? Take a weekend day or even just 5 minutes at night to … 

  • Journal
  • Meditate 
  • Take up “Tapping”


Allow yourself to have fun! 

Not everything you do during this time has to be about productivity or bettering yourself. Take a breath and find something fun – maybe even silly – to do. Like: 

  • A puzzle
  • Watch that movie you never seem to get to watch 
  • Get craft-y

Want another 100+ recs? Check them out here


And remember…

You do not have to ‘make the most’ of this time. We are living in a global pandemic. Your reactions and feelings are valid and important. If after your day of teleworking, you are feeling down or overwhelmed, embrace that. What are your coping mechanisms? Communicate with those around you. Ask for help or suggestions. If you need to sleep, do some yoga, watch a silly movie – there is no judgment! Do what you need to be able to get through these moments…this is a marathon, not a sprint. 


Works Cited

“100 Things to Do While Stuck inside Due to a Pandemic.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 20 Mar. 2020, www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2020/03/16/coronavirus-quarantine-100-things-do-while-trapped-inside/5054632002/.

Locke, Taylor. “How to Deal with Productivity-Related Anxiety during the COVID-19 Pandemic, According to Experts.” CNBC, CNBC, 23 Mar. 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/03/23/how-to-deal-with-productivity-related-anxiety-during-covid-19.html.

Mar 18, 2020. “Working from Home: Tips for Productivity, Mental Health and Staying Healthy.” Occupational Health & Safety, ohsonline.com/articles/2020/03/18/working-from-home-tips-for-productivity-mental-health-and-staying-healthy.aspx?m=1.