An increasing number of people seem to be losing it in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. It’s only to be expected that sudden disasters like this one (and I like to observe it as a preview into global warming, if we don’t start changing our habits) will leave people at a loss in case of numerous things.

For one thing, we have all realized that no medical system can cope with large numbers of patients simultaneously, and for another – there’s no helping social distancing.

For some countries (yes, we’re still dealing with it at an individual level, sadly enough) this means staying at home most of the time, for others – limited isolation.

Regardless of where in the world you are, you are likely to be facing the same issues on an existential level. Some people cannot work from home, while others have difficulties adjusting their lifestyle to work from home.

Make a Schedule

The single most important thing is to change habits. The trick is in finding the best concoction so that you will be able to balance between work, exercise, house chores and socializing. Yes, socializing is going strong; the only difference is that it has shifted to the virtual world.

So where do you get started?

For many people, making a daily schedule does the trick. I don’t mean just work-related tasks, but everything. This will help you keep your life organized, while at the same time efficiently adjusting to the situation.

For example, some people translate their newfound freedom into not having to change out of their pajamas in the morning. And while keeping things relaxed is the key to prolonged sanity, being too relaxed in this regard spells becoming lazing and lax in the long run.

Some people wear their business attire to invoke the right atmosphere. While this may work for them, not everyone is in agreement. I, for one. Having been a freelancer for years beyond count, I find that wearing leisure clothes works best. The trick is in adjusting your mindset for the “work mode” and the “leisure mode.”

So, the first piece of advice would be: take a shower when you wake up and dress. Seriously!

So, an example schedule looks something along these lines:

  • 7 to 7:30 AM: waking up, taking a shower, dressing
  • 7:30 to 8 AM: breakfast
  • 8AM to 1 PM: work
  • 1 to 1:30 PM: lunch break
  • 1:30 to 4 PM: work
  • 4 to 5 PM: leisure activities
  • 5 to 5:45 PM: workout
  • 6 to 6:30 PM: dinner
  • Afterwards: house chores and leisure activities of your choice

Learn to Use Free Time Efficiently

Office workers often realize that they have more time at their hands once they start working from home. As a matter of fact, this counts in hours. Just think how much time you waste on commuting, getting ready for the job, daily shopping and other activities and duties.

Because people need adjusting to different routines, even this benefit can be wasted (and indeed often is). Two of the most common practices are wasting time on incoming emails and wasting time on social media timelines.

For the latter, the trick is in allocating a time slot (add it to your daily schedule, if it makes it easier for you that way). For the first, there are a couple of tricks, but one extremely efficient one is snoozing emails and checking your inbox during designated time slots. For most people, two time slots a day will suffice, commonly once in the morning and once after working hours.

Staying Visible Online

If you are running an online brand or earning money online in any other way, it is important to remember that the newfound excess time would best be used to increase your online visibility. Such things take time, after all, especially if you’ve been slacking off with SEO.

Optimize the existing content, add new posts, keep in touch with customers, clients and followers. With large audiences now sitting increasingly in front of their screens, now is the optimum time to boost your online presence.

Don’t Forget Exercise!

It’s all too easy to allocate the extra free hours to the activities you normally don’t have enough time for. There’s nothing wrong with that, but, again, moderation is the key.

So, instead of binge-watching your favorite TV shows on Netflix (not to mention free streaming services that have now become globally accessible just to keep the masses engaged and put at home), add gas to your workout routine.

Just like free TV shows, there are numerous workout programs streaming online for free. It would seem that it’s about time to try something new, especially since you have more than enough time to experiment these days.

Learn a New Skill

Learning new skills is always a good idea. The only difference as to why now is better than at other times is because now you can find all kinds of free content online.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone should learn to sew, especially not if you have two left hands (like the writer of these lines). Rather, choose a skill that agrees with your interests and give it a go.

Not only will the practice make you more relaxed, but it will also make your time spent at home more meaningful. Not to mention that once this crisis is over, we’ll all have to re-think our way of life and, notably, our way of doing things for a living.

Stay Open-Minded

There’s plenty of examples in literature describing pandemics (think Kafka and Defoe, for example) and how they shape history. What you’ll notice is that it is common for fear to take over. Just like nowadays, when we’re witnessing unanimous racism against Asian people across the globe (many predominantly white nations cannot differentiate between Asian nationalities).

Staying sane in abnormal conditions is a challenge in its own right, which is why it is even more important to stay open-minded. The crisis will pass. It always does. When that happens, we’ll need to re-adjust to whatever future is awaiting. Maybe learn the art of critical thinking while it’s freely available? Just think about it.