Updated: Mar 25
I have a remote position developing distance learning courses from the comfort and convenience of my home. I have been working as an independent consultant since 2014. It wasn't always easy. Working from home has it's own unique set of challenges and if you aren't prepared for them, any number of things can turn a potentially productive day into another day where nothing gets accomplished.
For the first two years that I worked from home, I worked projects. Meaning I would contact potential clients and sign a contract to deliver a specific product. They would fund a certain amount of money for the project and I would estimate how long it would take me to complete the work. That was a double edged sword because at the time I didn't have a dedicated home office and tended to work from the sofa directly facing a smart TV loaded with Netflix and Amazon Prime. It took me a bit of time to become adjusted to my newfound freedom of lounging around the house working, grocery shopping, and doing chores on my schedule. Days turned into weeks and my projects would eventually get turned in within a reasonable amount of time but I learned a very important lesson about myself. I am a procrastinator. Big time.
Fast forward a few years. I am still an independent consultant but now I am tethered to a contract and paid by the hour. I am funded for 48 weeks out of 52 each year so I want to get paid for every hour. As a result, I have mastered the art of being productive and still switching the laundry, yay me! But my life is pretty quiet, I work from home, and don't have a large social circle locally so in my free time if I am not working my day job I am probably working on the yoga studio that I decided to open in "all my spare time" in December of 2018.
This leads me to COVID-19. And how rapidly this has impacted every person across the globe. The only word that comes to mind is surreal. Schools are closed. Shops are closed. Restaurants are closed. There is a ban on travel. People have been laid off from their jobs while others are now teleworking for the first time with a house filled with family and responsibilities. The stress is unfathomable. For some it has created a fear of the unknown. But for most on top of all of that is the feeling of isolation that has crept in a little more one day at a time.
How do you keep from becoming depressed and feeling lost when everything that is "normal" is no longer a part of your daily life? I wish I had the answer, I really do. I don't. What I do have is a list of lessons learned that I would like to share with you to help to keep from getting that "cabin fever" as one of our yoga studio clients called it the other day.
Keep to a schedule. You are less likely to feel lost if you structure your day around activities. For example: wake up at 6:30 and do some light movement make the bed make a light breakfast practice yoga at home or join a class online (live to get a sense of community and to feel connected
Video chat with friends and family members who you will not be able to see for awhile
Stick to regular meal schedule to avoid snacking out of boredom
Read books or search online for topics of interest to stay productive
Practice a hobby or start a new one
Find something each day to be grateful for and smile
While we are "all in this together" we are all in this alone in many ways. If you find yourself with a lot of free time on your hands and you don't know what to do, contact a food bank or one of your local charities and ask what donations they are in need of right now. Using this time to go through your closets and storage and collecting things that you no longer need can help you to feel useful and feel good about yourself producing endorphins which can help fight off depression.
Finally, make a list of all of the things that you are going to do once this pandemic has passed. Be realistic and think about what is really important to you when you consider this list and be prepared to do those things because that day will be here before you know it. That day is coming and you will be prepared to start living your best life once again!
Be well and stay present. You've got this!