About 9 weeks ago, our everyday lives were thrown into a tailspin. Restrictions and protective parameters related to COVID-19 caused mass layoffs and an economic recession amidst social distancing rules in place.
Right now, we’re all wondering when life will go back to “normal” and whether or not it ever will.
As some states begin to ease restrictions and businesses open back up, you might be wondering if you used social isolation and “staycation” to your advantage, self-prompting questions like “What did I do with the alone-time I was allotted?”.
If you’re in a state understandably slow to reopen, you may be wondering what more you can do to better yourself physically and mentally.
Here, we list the top 10 ways to use social isolation to your advantage. For those of you in states allowing returns to the workplace, ask yourself: Did you do enough?
1. Reflect and Reevaluate
As we know our readership, most of you are between 18 and 30 years old. This means that the majority of those reading this are in seriously transitional periods of life.
If you are part of graduating class of 2020, this will surely be a year you will never forget. But for you, alone-time might be exactly what you need.
Social isolation may give you the peace and quite you need to focus on fine tuning that resume and figure out where exactly you’d like to take the first step in your career.
For those aged 25 to 30, you may be thinking of a career switch or going back to school. For you, alone time might have been exactly what you needed to stop hesitating and make the move.
In addition, social distancing may give you the opportunity to take a second look at your social crowd. Forcefully removing you from your social scene, social isolation may give you the much needed time for you to reevaluate the people in your life.
Are you surrounding yourself with individuals who lift you up or shoot you down? Think about it. The answer may prompt change.
On the other hand, you should take this time to look within and reevaluate your physical and emotional well-being. What habits can you kick and what healthy habits can you institute into your daily routine?
According to recent studies, it takes about 66 days to make something a routine habit.1 You might as well pick a healthy one and go for it if you haven’t already.
2. Re-connect with Family & Friends
Right now, letting the people most important to you know that you are thinking of them should be a priority. The mind wanders in isolation and it’s easy to feel lonely.
Humans, after all, are social creatures. Young or old, we all need constant social interactions to stay sane.
Reach out to the ones you care about and ask them how they’re doing. You might just make someone’s day.
3. Drink Less and Make Healthier Choices
Your social scene has inevitably become less active. On weekends, are you still drinking alcohol like a regular Saturday night out?
Everyone needs to blow off steam as of late, but if there was ever a time to drink less without peer pressure, it’s now.
Doing so may be beneficial for keeping up with your fitness goals. In fact, cutting alcohol from your diet helps prevent muscle loss 2.
Knowing that, this time might be the best time to take a break.
4. Pick Up a New Hobby
With gyms closed and general anxiety about group activities in the air, fitness enthusiasts are having to adapt to new ways of staying active. One way, is by performing home workouts, something that has become very popular as of late.
In fact, according to our own research, Americans are googling “home workouts” 350% more than average. If home workouts aren’t in your cards, try something different.
Step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself with something new. This might mean going for a PR in your running mile time or giving yoga a try.
5. Try a Social Media Detox
Stop scrolling and get out of the rabbit hole. You’re not missing out on anything with everyone staying home. Also, detoxing from digital devices may be beneficial for your mental health.
While this may not be true for all users, social media and increased “screen time” has been shown to increase levels of anxiety and depression3.
In isolation, we’re all particularly vulnerable to loneliness in a collectively anxious time period. Reducing your screen time may help reduce stress.
6. Try Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a hobby you should perform daily for it’s mental health benefits. Specifically, deep breathing for 20-30 minutes per day has been shown to increase relaxation and decrease stress 4.
There are lots of beneficial breathing exercises to try during lock-down. Check some out here.
7. Make Exercise a Daily Ritual
43% of what we do in a day is repeated in the same context.1 These may be daily rituals like brushing your teeth, taking the subway to work, and exercise.
Despite restricted access to gyms and gym equipment, 82 million Americans are exercising daily according to a recent Myprotein survey.
Are you one of them? If not, become part of the statistic and make exercise a daily ritual.
8. Read More
Join the pandemic book club. Feeding your mind is just as important as feeding your body.
Right now, online publications small and large are putting out book lists of the best reads for the lockdown period.
Check out what The Washington Post recommends here.
9. Start a Project
Everyone has the one Wayfair or IKEA box they haven’t opened since moving into their apartment. If that sounds like you, it might be time to start a project.
This could be something as simple as putting together a dresser, desk, or starting a creative endeavor like painting or photography.
Whatever it is, use this time to get something done you’ve been putting off for a long time.
10. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Surprisingly, younger Americans report a worse sleep quality during these last couple of weeks. There is also overlap between people that are eating worse during “quarantine” and people that report poor sleep.
In fact, “42% of Americans who’s eating habits have become less healthy also said the quality of their sleep had gotten worse” according to our recent survey.
In turn, if you’re sleeping worse, take a second look at your diet.
Want to learn more about how Isolation is affecting us? Check these out next:
Which state is most obsessed with home workouts?