In Madrid, the typically busy city life is slowing to a halt and tensions are rising, as the Madrilenians adapt to their new normality.
Within just one week, Covid-19 has gripped the nation and the number of infected cases has risen substantially, forcing the government to take serious action.
Last Monday, the Spanish government ordered the speedy closure of the schools and universities, and companies working from home followed curtly behind.
Now, almost everything is closed bar supermarkets and pharmacies, and solely necessary trips for food or medicine are permitted.
While some wait on tenterhooks for signs of the virus slowing down and a hint of normality, the rest of us, and those lucky to have the ability to work from home, are easing into life within the confinements of our humble abode.
Initially, staying home every day doesn’t sound all that bad. It’s something we always long for, right?
But without a true end date in sight, it can seem a daunting and small space to hold, whether you’re sharing with others or living alone.
For those of you shocked by the idea of lockdown, or simply readily preparing yourself for the possibility, here’s a break down of do’s and don’ts that might make your hometime smoother.
- Brush your teeth.
In the mornings, like normal. And at night. It’s a surprisingly easy thing to forget when you don’t have to physically leave the house. As Lady Leshurr said, “That’s a dead ting, that’s a bad breath ting”.
2. Get dressed!
Staying in your pajamas all day may seem like a rare treat, but trust me, it doesn’t do good things for the psyche — or your hygiene. I’m not saying you have to doll yourself up, but at least change into some comfy leggings or loungewear… after a shower, perhaps?
3. Incorporate movement
— whether that’s jumping jacks, yoga or a private boogie to your favorite playlist, anything will do. Even if you wouldn’t normally exercise a lot, we sometimes don’t realize how much movement is involved in our normal day to day lives outside of the home — walking down the stairs, running for the bus or walking to the pub. It all adds up.
4. Forgive your neighbor
Have a noisy neighbor who irritates you even when you don’t spend 100% of your day at home? Stay calm. Forgive them for playing their music too loud or constantly moving their furniture. Allow them their overly loud conversations or arguments with their spouse. Before you resort to hatching out a plan of revenge, try open the lines of communication first. Maybe you annoy them, too.
5. Monitor your sugar intake
Do not reward yourself with chocolate every few hours. Sugar crashes are real.
6. Cook and eat carefully
Try to limit extravagant cooking expeditions or experimentations — though there isn’t necessarily a shortage of food, this is not the time to encourage unnecessary waste. Stick to what you know. Eat within your means. And most importantly; resist the urge to eat out of boredom (this one is particularly difficult).
7. Create a routine
If you’re like me, and your routine is normally haphazard and working hours are still so, it’s a vital time to work your own version of a 9–5. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time. Eat at the same time. Take breaks. Take breathers. Schedule in chill-out time and productive time. Know the lines and the limits.
8. Keep it breezy
Regularly air the place out. Even if you’re somewhere with a perpetually cold climate, stale air lingers in your head like a tension headache and the last thing you need right now is another phantom symptom to add to the I-think-I-have-coronavirus-panic-list.
9. Schedule some “outside” time
Whether you have a garden, a balcony or just a poorly located window, find intervals throughout the day to grab a gulp of “fresh” air.
10. Slow down
Yes, you still have a million things to do or you finally have time to kick-start that hustle, don’t panic! You have time — -probably a minimum of two weeks. But take it day by day, find ways to calm and center yourself — meditation, a cup of tea or a touch of cleaning (get out the disinfectant and it’s two birds with one stone). Trying to do everything at once will give you burnout like it normally does, even when you’re at home all day.
11. Take up a new habit or kick an addiction
When’s a better time? “Probably when it feels like the world isn’t ending!” I hear you say. Wrong. Focus that anxiety on ditching a bad habit for the long term, or take up a good one. Cut down on chocolate (okay this one’s for me) lower your coffee consumption or up your water intake and make your bed every day. We all have bad habits worth letting go and new years resolutions we didn’t stick to. Let something good come out of this time.
12. Limit your news intake
Locked up, it can seem like a good idea to check the news of the world regularly, to enlighten yourself on the world’s comings and goings. Set aside a certain portion of the day to catch up, and leave it at that to avoid all the anxiety and fear it evokes.
13. Create strict zones
Bed is for sleeping, kitchen is for cooking — it seems straight forward right now, but when you’re at home 24/7, it’s tempting to eat in bed or to do some work on the sofa while watching Friends. Try to create loose work zones and relaxing zones — to help prevent your brain from making confusing associations that leave you paralyzed by laziness. It happens.
14. Keep it wholesome
Use social media for the greater good. Check-in on friends, skype family, and post silly cat memes or Instagram stories.
15. Treat yo’ self
Ultimately, this is a super stressful time whether we want to stay positive or not, and it’s important we are extra kind to ourselves too. Do what you need to do to keep calm — watch your favorite tv show, eat some chocolate (it’s about finding the balance, right?), have a bath or take the day off and read your book. Give yourself a little pat on the back. Whatever keeps you calm is worth doing, and that’s been my biggest lesson to date.