Before you begin going through this epic list, please go to YouTube.
Search for the song Weightless by Marconi Union.
Play it in the background as you read this article.
Staying and working from home felt chaotic during the first two weeks. The two weeks flew by in a flash and I realized that I hadn’t achieved much. I was having a hard time doing basic things such as eating a healthy meal. My anxiety was over the roof.
Have you been feeling the same?
Staying sane during social distancing has become a mainstream challenge. This situation is new to all of us.
This article will get you unstuck as I share the 15 tips I’ve tried that have moved my mindset from panicking to ‘life is still happening now and I’ve got this!’
1. Use a habit tracker
A habit tracker is simply a custom-made calendar where you write a list of productive habits that you want to do daily or every other day.
This list could include activities such as drinking water, eating a healthy meal, exercise, meditation, taking multivitamins, reading, or work.
Hang the list on your fridge or wall.
Any time you perform any of the habits, use a colourful highlighter or pen to mark against the habit.
This has been the most life-changing trick I have used to get things done during this self-isolation period, and I’m planning to keep using it when life gets back to normal.
This trick works because it makes your achievements, even the smallest ones, visual.
Celebrating yourself every time you perform a habit also encourages you to keep going. It reminds you that no matter how bad things seem on the outside, you can control your here and now.
I learnt through reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits book. It’s a very easy to read and practical book that I highly recommend since you now have time to read all those books you’ve been procrastinating 😉
2. Perform a karaoke
If you live alone during this social distancing period, you will often feel lonely.
To get unstuck, I randomly started playing RnB music with lyrics from the 90s. I use my remote as a microphone and perform for myself. Sometimes I imagine that I’m a star on stage and perform for my imaginary audience. It’s so much fun!
Learning how to enjoy your own company, to have fun with yourself, is the greatest life hack. We need human connection, but being able to entertain yourself reduces the worry.
You could also do this with your family where everyone picks their favourite song and performs for the rest. Play dress up, give prizes to the most dramatic performer.
It’s not about how talented you are as a singer, it’s about how much fun you can have to keep the worry away.
3. Cancel subscriptions
Financially, this is the time to keep your expenditure as low as you can. Since we do not know how long this pandemic will be with us, managing your money so that it can stretch for a longer period is important.
Cancel any subscriptions that are eating into your money.
4. File for unemployment benefits in your State
Millions of Americans have been laid off due to the pandemic. While it’s a terrible situation to be in and might lead to depending on freebies from relatives, friends and the government, remember it’s okay to ask for and accept help.
During the COVID-19 period, the federal government allowed states to change their labour laws so that you can access unemployment benefits.
Through the usa.gov website, you can learn how to apply for these benefits, either temporary or welfare if you lose your job. Every State has it’s procedures to help you apply, so be sure to head on to the website to learn more.
Go ahead and ask for all government assistance programs that are available to you and apply.
Remember that it’s your taxes working for you, don’t be afraid of filing for unemployment and enjoying the benefits.
5. Prioritize your bills
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by bills that are due this month and the coming months, make a list of all the bills. Arrange them in order of importance then start by paying those that are an emergency.
This will leave you less stressed especially if you prioritize those that your life depends on e.g groceries, rent and medication.
A lot of people are empathetic during this period, so another trick you could try is calling the organizations that you owe and asking them to extend the payment periods. This will give you a little more time to plan and prioritize.
6. Build a side hustle
By including your side hustle on the habit tracker mentioned on 1 above, you can put in an hour or a few hours every day to build it. Small changes make a big difference over time.
I have observed that a lot of people are signing up for online courses to stay busy while at home.
How about you choose a course that teaches you a skill that you can use to build a side hustle? You can later monetize this skill and make some extra dollars!
There are many online courses available for free right now, including these 450 Ivy League ones. Check them out, put in a few hours per day, and who knows? This might be your big break from job hunting after this is all over.
7. Don’t waste food
Go through your pantry and remind yourself all the spices and condiments that you own. Use these to google for recipes that make use of them.
Do batch cooking and freeze the extra immediately to ensure that even when you feel overwhelmed or too lazy to cook, you have a healthy meal available for you.
Also go through your fridge to see which food is about to go bad, and prioritize consuming that first.
Remember that boosting your immunity is a priority to help you fight any diseases and infections.
8. Get a list of recipes that work for you
For those of us who are not naturals in the kitchen, the idea of cooking a healthy meal is often avoided by any means possible.
I find myself opening the fridge multiple times trying to figure out what to cook. The conclusion is always “there’s nothing in here that can work”. I end up taking milk and bread.
Here’s the thing, I realized that by doing this, I’m putting myself in danger. I’m making myself vulnerable to diseases by not eating healthy meals.
My friend told me to ‘give myself a fighting chance’ by ensuring that I do all that I can protect myself.
Get a list of easy recipes, especially those that you’ve tried in the past. Save them in one folder on your phone or write them down in a notebook. Any time you have to cook, don’t think about what to cook, just use your list. Make your life easier!
9. Negotiate debt payments
If you’re in debt, there are a few things you can do during this period.
Call all organizations or people you owe and ask if they have debt relief services. Explain your situation and ask if they can make any adjustments.
Can they extend your payment period? Can they stop charging interest for the time being? Can they reduce the interest rate? Can you stop paying for a few months then get back when you have a stable income?
Don’t be afraid to ask. Some institutions are usually receptive to people who are genuine enough to inform them of their situation.
Informing them might lead to penalties being lifted or penalties that are not too harsh.
Whatever they offer, try and negotiate and try to get the best deal possible. Root for yourself. You can do it 🙂
Related: How to get out of debt
10. Temporarily pause automatic savings and deposits
If you had started your financial wellness journey through saving before the pandemic, congratulations! Honestly, I was stuck in debt for years and worked my way out of it. I know how it feels to make progress with finances.
If you had automated your savings, it’s okay to call the bank and ask them to pause the automatic savings. This time, having as much cash on you as you can is important as you need to stock up on food, medication and be able to pay for any new expenditures brought about by the pandemic.
It’s a temporary pause to our progress but soon enough, we’ll get back there and amass the wealth.
11. Use Google calendar to create calling list
Since video calling is the new normal, you want to make sure you’re checking up on all your family, friends and anyone who’s dear to you.
To ensure you don’t miss anyone, make a list of all the dear ones you need to call. Use the calendar app on your phone to schedule the calls.
12. Organize photos on your phone & computer
Do you have a cluttered phone gallery? Screenshots that you’ve been meaning to go through? WhatsApp photos that you need to delete or backup on the cloud? Now is the time!
Give yourself the gift of a decluttered phone and an organized gallery. You will find some funny photos in there to make you laugh, special memories that were almost forgotten, and embarrassing photos of your friends and family to share!
13. Share old family photos
Be your family’s source of laughter and positivity by sharing old embarrassing photos in the family WhatsApp group.
You could also create a photo album to print while life is back to normal-how cool!
I don’t think we’ll ever have an opportunity to stay home for this long in the near future.
Buddy, please sleep! Sleep now so that when we’re back to the hustle, we can reminisce about the 10+ hours of therapeutic sleep we got during the pandemic.
15. Do a life review through gratitude
Life might seem to be all doom and gloom right now. But in the past, we all experienced some good moments and accumulated treasured memories. Stay grateful for the past and stay hopeful for the bright future that’s ahead.
Use a journal to write about these memories and to journal about the daily things that you’re grateful for such as having the strength to follow through the list on your habit tracker.
For sure, we’ll come out of this pandemic. But since life is still happening now, be responsible for yourself by aiming at getting 1% better every day. This could be mentally, physically or in gaining a new skill.
Stay safe. Stay home. Stay hopeful. Stay positive. Smile. 🙂
Take a deep breathe and appreciate your new calm mind if you’re still playing Weightless by Marconi Union