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How to stay motivated while self-isolating and social distancing

How can you help yourself stay motivated while self-isolating? Here are a few helpful tips to keep you focused on staying healthy.

We have entered uncharted territory. For most of us, staying completely confined to our homes without the ability to have physical contact with friends, let alone our own family members can be very distressful. Add to that the extra task of trying to maintain a normal life during this period where nothing is “normal” and everything we do has to be monitored to a certain degree. Life as we know it, at least for the foreseeable future, is completely derailed and if we don’t make a conscious effort to maintain some sort of control over it, it can be very easy to fall into unhealthy habits. How can you help yourself stay motivated while self-isolating? Here are a few helpful tips to keep you focused on staying healthy and positive while social distancing:

1.      Set a routine

Now that we are self-isolating and are all working from home and/or staying in 24-7, it’s important that we create an environment that feels productive in order to avoid feeling negative and down. The best way to do this is by setting a routine. This is especially important for those with children who are used to having the daily school schedule and who really aren’t able to create a routine for themselves. However as adults, creating a routine is equally helpful for us to avoid becoming depressed from the lack of structure in our own daily schedules. Nothing can be more daunting than waking up every day and having to figure out what to do with your time. Under normal circumstances after a long work week having nothing planned on a Saturday or Sunday morning can feel liberating. But on a daily basis, this can become a source of anxiety. I suggest creating a schedule around the staple daily activities: wake up time, meals, bedtime, etc. Maintaining the same schedule daily will not only limit the possibility of downtime, which can lead to emotional lows, it may also help the day go by quicker so you won’t have too much time to focus on the fact that you’re stuck at home.

Helpful tip: Make a list of your must dos everyday: wake up, meals, bedtime, etc. Set times for those activities and then pepper in your other responsibilities around them. Ideally, you want to set times that you’ll stick to daily.

2.      Make an appointment for your self-care

Self-care can be very healing during this time of self-isolation, because the more you do for yourself the better you may feel! And self-care can look any way you need. It could be making time for your favorite show, time for a call with your good friend, or my personal favorite, time to work out! Working out during this period has helped me tremendously. It is a known fact that exercise releases the feel good hormones in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and one way to tap into them is through exercise. The best part is when it comes to releasing endorphins, it doesn’t have to be anything too intense—even moderate exercise can help the release of these natural body relaxants. Moreover, the most important key in this suggestion is to actually make time for your self-care, whatever it may be. Nestled in your daily schedule, make sure you make an appointment with yourself for your self-care so that the day doesn’t pass you by without it!

Helpful tip: Think about what will make you feel good these days. It may be watching a funny movie, listening to some music or doing a workout. Then make an appointment with yourself with a time and reminder on your phone. For optimal benefits, try to schedule a feel good activity daily!

3.      Make virtual appointments with “feel good friends”

A lot of people are stressing out about the current situation as we are surrounded by bad news all day every day. Although it’s important to stay informed, it is equally important to try and occupy your mind with thoughts that don’t involve the crisis. This is a good time to reach out to your “feel good friends.” We all know that someone in our lives—could be any loved one, friend or family member—that is just super positive. These are the people you should try to spend some virtual time with right now. Make note of pessimistic people in your life who truly find it difficult to distract themselves from the worry of what is happening around them and inadvertently bring you down with their personal anxiety. We all know the, “life is terrible and there is nothing else to say,” people who no matter how much you try to make light of the situation, they just can’t seem to. This is the time to try to lessen your exposure to any negativity. I’m not suggesting you cut-off your “Negative Nancy” friends completely, but do try to reach out to the ones who are able to talk about something more positive these days. Yes, things aren’t great and right now there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel quite yet. However, life is continuing and we have to try to stay in good spirits as best we can so that we don’t compromise our immune systems at such a critical time when we need them to be strong! While self-isolating, make an appointment to talk to your feel good friends. If you are that person, try to lift the spirits of those in your life who have a hard time doing it for themselves. However, make sure you also take care of your own emotional health in the process!

Helpful tip: If you can’t think of anyone who could be a positive influence these days, this is a good time to see what people are posting. Look for people posting funny memes or positive anecdotes on social media and engage that way!

This is a crazy and scary time to say the least. For that reason, it is so important to make a conscious effort to stay healthy and positive. Try to incorporate good thoughts, good food and good energy into your life daily and before you know it, life will be back to normal!

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