This is a very tricky time for us all – none of us ever imagined we’d be working from home indefinitely while keeping ourselves isolated from friends, family and loved ones. The feeling of isolation can have a big effect on our mental health and cause anxiety levels to soar. The team here at Rate Wise are busy working from home and happy to provide any support or advice to any of our clients, but we have also put our heads together and come up with a list of things we’re doing to try keep ourselves ticking over while we’re all playing our part to flatten the curve.
It may sound a bit ridiculous, but getting up and making your bed, then dressing helps you start the day off with a bit of structure. Getting up around the same time each day and starting it this way means you’re setting clear boundaries for yourself so you can sit at your desk or the kitchen table and start your work with a clear head. Some people have set up their work station at home the same way as their office, and have brought things like their reusable bottles from the office to help get them in the working mindset – we’ve also seen on Twitter where some people are wearing their name badges or swipe cards so their family or housemates know when they’re working!
THE WORKING DAY
Set out start and finish times for yourself, and pencil in tea/coffee breaks and lunch times to keep yourself on schedule. Our team at Rate Wise start the day with a team call. It’s a great way to kick off the day, giving structure and focus to the hours ahead by setting up tasks and sharing information. There is lots of software out there to help with this such as MS Teams, Skype and conference lines.
This is now a reality for a lot of parents out there who now have to find a balance between getting their own work done and keeping the kids occupied and entertained, and the first thing parents need to remember is to give yourselves a break – you’re doing a great job in difficult circumstances so don’t be too hard on yourselves! In line with your working day, make sure to add in an hour of dedicated time to sit with your kids and go through their schoolwork with them, and there is a wealth of options out there to help with this. Here in Ireland we’ve seen an outpouring of teachers offering video calls and tutorials to families on Facebook and Twitter, and teachers are offering lesson plans online as well.
Make sure to look out for something in your local area or check and see what online resources you can tap into to give you all a helping hand – Folens Publishers have set up a code so teachers and parents can access their digital eBooks and resources online and you can sign up using this link.
KEEPING THE KIDS ENTERTAINED!
Once the home schooling is done, the kids will still need some entertainment as hanging out with their friends is a no-no at the moment. Here are a few quick ideas!
A. Check the websites of your local sports clubs such as your local soccer or rugby clubs – while they don’t have their facilities open in line with social distancing guidelines, a lot of them are offering 12 or 14 day challenges to help keep the skill sets up. One local football club we’ve seen has set a different challenge each day including wall balls, volleys and knee bounces.
B. The Kennedy Centre has a free YouTube channel set up where they’re teaching kids how to draw – there’s a different video posted each day and you can follow the link here
C. Becoming a member of your local library is also a good way to keep kids entertained and keeping them away video games for a little while – some libraries allow you to download books using the Borrowbox app which you can add to your smart phone or tablet
D. Build Lego! Or do a jigsaw – these are both hard work and entertaining, and everyone can join in on them so it’s ticking a couple of boxes all at once! These activities aren’t strictly limited to the kids either!
Some people find cooking very therapeutic, and a lot of chefs (and celebrities!) are taking to social media in their droves to share recipes for a whole host of meals and dishes to keep everyone fed on all kinds of budgets. Some are also doing live video streams on their social media pages so you can cook along with them; they’re posting the recipe and method a couple of hours beforehand to allow you gather your ingredients and utensils so you’re ready once they go live. Just some of these include Matt Adlard on Instagram and Paul Treyvaud or Iliza Shlesinger on Facebook and Instagram live, who has set up Don’t Panic Pantry along with her husband Noah Galuten.
While we recognise some regions are in total lockdown at the moment, others can still get out and about. It is good to put exercise on the agenda daily, whether it be getting outside for a walk or a jog or a cycle, following an exercise programme online or having a dance off with your children.
Including it daily is important, and ideally at the same time every day to help with your daily structure and routine. Some examples of ways to mix things up a little are:
Joe Wicks, aka the Body Coach, is posting a free PE video online Monday – Friday at 9am and these are suitable for both adults and kids. You can find his YouTube channel here.
If that level of workout isn’t to your taste you could try Yoga with Adrienne – she’s a yoga instructor with her own YouTube channel with dozens of free videos which are suitable for all yoga levels from beginners to advanced, you can find everything on her YouTube channel.
Look closer to home as well – a lot of gym instructors and personal trainers are moving to social media now that their gyms are temporarily closed and are posting content and workouts online as well making themselves available for one to one video chats to offer support and advice.
READ A BOOK
Now is a good time to catch up on that pile of books you’ve been meaning to read while our social calendars have taken a bit of a battering. Sitting down for an hour in the evening with a cup of tea and a good book is a really good way to unwind and switch off after a difficult day.
Take a break from Social Media. We can’t stress how important this is for your overall wellbeing and mental health. There are a lot of fake stories and messages floating around, and our advice on this would be only get your news from reliable sources – reputable news sites, HSE here in Ireland and WHO as well as your local government sites are the only places you should be looking for information. Let’s be honest here, it’s highly unlikely your uncle’s friend’s sister has sat in on any “top secret” meetings lately and it’s even less likely that that information is now available in a dodgy Whatsapp voice note!
LEARN A NEW SKILL
While we’re all essentially housebound it might be a good idea to learn something new that you haven’t found the time for before. Learn the language you’ve been meaning to learn or take up knitting or crochet – these are great for keeping focused on one thing for a prolonged period of time, and they’ll keep your hands busy so you’re staying away from your phone!
Check in with your elderly or unwell friends, neighbours and loved ones. If you know someone who is in a high-risk category and has been in isolation for a couple of weeks, make sure to check in with them to see how they’re doing. Calling to their house isn’t currently an option but a phone call, facetime or text message here and there will help them stay connected to the outside world and will mean a lot to them. And make sure to check they’re stocked up on groceries and any other essentials they need to help get them through – you can pick these up and drop them to the house without having to have any contact with them. Get in contact with your local supermarket and offer to collect and drop off groceries for the at risk members of your community as well – these shops are finding it very tough at the moment and any help would be greatly received.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
Finally, the most important thing to remember is wash your hands properly and regularly using hot water and soap, and for at least 20 seconds at a time. Please practice social distancing and avoid gathering in any kind of a crowd either in a public place or in your home. While the majority of us who catch this virus will survive, it’s our parents, our grandparents and the members of our communities who have compromised immune systems that we’re trying to protect.
We’re all in this together – let’s all do our bit to make sure we get through it together by helping to flatten the curve.