The coronavirus outbreak restrictions in place for the past eight weeks, here in Shanghai China, were and still remain stifling. Fears about catching this new virus, passing through multiple temperature reading checkpoints, and hearing newly infected numbers in our neighborhood; were all challenging to adjust to. Staying in our homes on a daily basis was the toughest change and had the biggest impact on our lives.
I wish I could say that by the 4th week of the lockdown being inside all the time felt normal, but that would be a big fat lie. In reality it felt like the longer my family and I stayed inside the more difficult it was for us to remain in high spirits, be productive, and not get overly anxious from the constant stream of doomsday coronavirus news reports. We started to go stir crazy as each day felt like a repeat of the previous one and on several occasions, we couldn’t even agree on what day of the week it actually was. Luckily around week 6, the outbreak restrictions that we had been following finally felt normal. We finally regained our laughter and became more productive. We were able to be concerned but not anxious about the coronavirus outbreak. Since that breakthrough we have remained positive, and continue to enjoy each other’s company.
I have listed a set of tips that I compiled with my community of neighbors, friends, and clients on how to quickly and successfully adopt and thrive with life indoors alone or with your family. Although the infection rates here in China are much lower and people are now starting to return to their offices, we are still following most of these tips daily.
Being Productive and Getting Work Done
- Remind yourself daily that you are working from home and not on a home vacation.
- Wake up at your usual time and change into casual and comfortable work attire.
- Start and stop working at your regular working hours and take frequent breaks to refresh yourself and stretch your body.
- Use web-conferencing and real-time chat tools and applications that allow you and your co-workers to stay in contact throughout the day.
- Work in a room that has limited disruptions and adjust your work space so that it is ergonomically comfortable. Avoid working on a bed or sofa, or in front of the television.
Keeping Your Children Occupied and Engaged in Learning
- Set daily tasks like house chores.
- Develop weekly learning goals that include school work along with at least one other subject of their choice.
- Monitor their online learning sessions and ask them to share with you what they learned that day.
- Provide enough reading, writing, and drawing material for them to use and monitor the amount of time spent in front of a screen (tv, mobile, computer, etc.…).
- Allow adequate time for your child to do as they wish and let them be bored so they have the chance to find fun and innovative ways to occupy their time.
Maintaining a Positive and Healthy Mindset
- Boost your immune system by eating foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising indoors several times each week.
- Block out ample time together as a family doing fun activities such as playing cards, board games, jigsaw puzzles, or watching funny movies.
- Communicate frequently with family and friends, keep the conversations positive, and avoid negative talk.
- Choose a trusted source and limit the amount of virus-related news that you and your family watch so that you are informed, but not over-loaded.
- Share words of encouragement and appreciation to your family and let them know how much you care for and love them.
The lifestyle changes that were initially thrust upon us at first made us feel trapped and frustrated. However, in time and by following these tips we were able to remove the frustration and get even closer to our families. We learned that the situation which we are still in, is temporary and that things will eventually return to normal. From all of us here in China, we hope that these tips allow you and your loved ones to thrive through the coronavirus outbreak restrictions while maintaining a healthy body and mind.