Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Coronavirus & self-isolation: How to make the most out of your time at home

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The coronavirus pandemic has obliged countries to impose new measures and restrictions in order to keep their citizens safe and remove the pressure off the health services. In the UK, the lockdown has been in place for barely a week, with people starting to self-isolate themselves even weeks before that.

After weeks of self-isolation, people working at home seem to lose touch and a sort of lethargy seems to be installing. Do you want to know how to beat it? There are only a few essential tips and tricks to keep in mind in order to make the most out of your time in self-isolation at home.

Beat the bad habits

For most people, it has been already 3 weeks of self-imposed coronavirus self-isolation at home. It’s understandable that you may be starting to lose focus. And it’s also important that you don’t beat yourself up for it. Just beat your bad habits!

You probably went into the coronavirus lockdown with good energy, excited to be working from home every day. The internet was inundated with coronavirus tips for working from home, people were sharing their working from home outfits and sharing their daily routine. It does seem like the eagerness has dropped a notch. The main cause is, of course, the lack of social interaction, lack of routine and time spent outside.

It’s important to keep motivated and beat bad habits. During this coronavirus lockdown, your motivation to do things, even at work, may be drowning. But there are ways to keep this at bay and to make the most out of your time at home so that when you come out of the coronavirus lockdown you feel proud of what you have done and do not feel like you have only been on lockdown. There is a lot of pressure to do things all around during self-isolation, so try not to beat yourself up if you aren’t 100% productive every minute of the day.

The key to a productive day starts even before the day begins. The previous evening, try to exercise for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Or even go on a run or cycle. During the coronavirus lockdown, in the UK you are allowed to go outside for one form of exercise. You may choose to go on a walk, run or even cycle.

Start your morning with a good stretch. You don’t need to do it for long - 5 or 10 minutes are enough. But this will kickstart your morning and give you energy for the whole day. Replace your morning coffee with tea. This will keep you energised until lunchtime comes. Also, it’s a way healthier option!

Pick up a new hobby or skill

Coming back to the point of making the most out of your time during the coronavirus self-isolation at home, it would be a shame to come out of this lockdown and not have learnt one single thing, right? If you are working from home, you may have won anywhere from 1 to 3 hours of time for yourself, if not, even more, due to the fact that you are not commuting anymore.

Why not use this extra time in lockdown to your advantage? Try something new. Do something you wanted to do for a long time, but couldn’t find the time to. Because now, you do have time. And plenty of it.

Coronavirus lockdown is a time for all of us stuck at home to work on ourselves. Did you buy yourself sketchbooks and pencils, but never even touched them? It’s time for you to dust them off. How about cooking? Remember how you wanted to learn to bake? Now is your time! This coronavirus lockdown and self-isolation doesn’t have to be so bad.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, a shed or a large enough space, you have the freedom to do so many other things: sculpture, pottery, dancing, you name it. Use the time spent in lockdown at home in your favour.

Even if you don’t have plenty of space, you do have a laptop, and most certainly some type of smartphone. Wanted to learn a new language? There are so many apps nowadays where you can learn any language you may want, at the touch of a button. You may use this coronavirus lockdown to prepare for your future trip.

Learn new ways of living

It’s already obvious to most people that the coronavirus lockdown has made us rethink the way we have lived our lives so far. We have only started to understand what is happening, yet the effects of the coronavirus lockdown cannot yet be felt.

But the changes we are making in our lifestyles today should be implemented even after the lockdown is finished. Letting go of our imperious need to shop, of incessant consumerism and the constant need for more than we actually need. What we have adopted now - living on less, and living on essentials - this is what we need to take with us after we come out of the lockdown.

The coronavirus lockdown, self-isolation and social distancing rules will leave their mark on us and the way we continue to live our lives moving forward. People are now learning or re-learning compassion for the ones less fortunate. They are learning gratitude for the ones putting their lives on the line every single day.

Moreover, since the coronavirus lockdown has been in place, people are now learning to break away from the bad habits they have gotten used to in the last few decades. They are learning that they don’t need innumerable food options and they can live on less. The coronavirus lockdown is teaching people how to be less greedy.

It is down to all of us to keep following the NHS and government advice in order to reduce the impact of the coronavirus and stop the further spread of the virus. Keep practising self-isolation and social distancing.

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