Stuck at home. Safe at home. No matter how you label it, it looks like we’ve got at least another three to four weeks of staying at home ahead of us. And after just a week, I know a lot of people who feel like they are going to go crazy without being able to get out, connect with friends, family or even random strangers in line at the local coffee shop.

I get it. I’ve been home for over four years now. Okay, so maybe the stay-at-home wasn’t as strict as the current order, but in most ways, this hasn’t impacted my life as much as it has so many of yours. So I wanted to share some insights with you on how to survive this time of staying at home. (And maybe you might even find yourself thriving.)

I’m sure you’ve seen a hundred lists like this one, but these are my personal tips to living the stay at home life and not losing your mind.

GET DRESSED

You will see this at the top of almost every list like this, and it’s there for a reason. There is a psychological shift that happens when you shed your PJs or yoga pants and actually dress for the day. Your mind will (usually) register that it’s time to be active/productive/engaged. This really is the most vital step you can take toward making your stay-at-home time feel less like a prison sentence and more like an opportunity.

BONUS SUGGESTION: Ladies, do your hair and makeup. I don’t do this every day, but I’ve noticed a big difference in my productivity on the days I do.

MAKE YOUR BED

It’s easy to skip this one on a normal day when you’re rushing to get you (and maybe kids) out the door, but if you’re stuck at home all day long, there’s no excuse not to take an extra 3 – 5 minutes to make your bed. Make it the first positive thing you accomplish for the day and let it set the tone for productivity for the rest of your morning.

CREATE A ROUTINE

You’re used to routines, whether you realize it or not, and suddenly that’s been stripped away. That can leave everyone in the household feeling lost. If you have kids, they’re used to knowing when they’re expected to get up in the morning, what the getting ready for school routine looks like, what to expect from their school day, and what to expect when they get home. And, like them, you usually have a sense of structure to your day as well. But now you find yourself with nowhere to go, no priorities and few demands on your time. (Binging Netflix does not constitute a demand on  your time.) 

You need a routine. Children thrive with structure and knowing what to expect, but so do you. It helps you know how to process your day and make the most out of it. So get in a routine now. Some of the things I typically do are:

  • Set an alarm for the same time every day. (Usually 2 hours before I plan to start work.)
  • Get up and shower/brush teeth/get dressed. Do the same for the kids.
  • Make the bed.
  • Clean up the kitchen. Wash any unwashed dishes, etc. that make my house feel cluttered and will be a distraction throughout the day. (You have to cook/eat at home for the most part. A messy kitchen makes that tough.)
  • Start work by 9:00. I always start my work day by making a list of everything I need/hope to accomplish that day to give me goals and drive my time management.

These are just a few suggestions. Obviously if you’re not working from home you won’t have the same demands on your time, but there are so many other ways you can provide structure. Plan a time for chores and make a list of chores that should be done every day. Set a schedule for play times and creative pursuits. Plan meals. Find ways to make all of this free time productive. (And, yes, schedule in times of rest as well.) 

SET GOALS

Time seems to be stretching out endlessly in front of you. I get it. But if you set goals for yourself and then set steps for achieving those goals you’ll suddenly find that the time seems less infinite than you initially thought. I recommend setting weekly and daily goals. And be forgiving if you don’t accomplish everything you set out to do in a particular day as long as you don’t waste all of the time you’ve been given. All those things you wanted to do but never had time to do before, well, you’ve got time now. What’s stopping you?

BE CREATIVE

This is a time of stress and anxiety for a lot of people. So find a creative outlet that you can really invest your energy and emotions into. Include your kids in your creative pursuits or encourage them in their own. Creativity has its own form of healing power when we’re struggling emotionally.

DITCH SOCIAL MEDIA/NEWS

I am as guilty of this as anyone. More so than most. And here’s the deal: You don’t have to live in a vacuum, you don’t have to be blind to what’s going on around you, but you don’t have to dwell on it every minute of every day. That’s a recipe for anxiety and depression. So don’t live online and don’t wallow in the negative news swirling around us. Yes, social media is a great way to stay connected during this time of isolation, and I highly recommend using it to connect with others. Just be guarded about how you use it and how much you let social media and the news influence your time throughout the day.

EAT HEALTHY & EXERCISE

I get that food options may be limited right now. We’re running low on fresh fruits and veggies in our house and we’re trying to avoid shopping as much as possible. But if you do go to the store, skip the chip aisle and opt for healthier alternatives. When you’re filling your body with junk you’ll start to feel like junk. There’s a psychological factor to what we eat as well. Eat and apple and you’ll find you have more positive energy. Eat a bag of chips while sitting on the couch in your sweats watching five episodes of your favorite show and you’ll not only look like a slob, but you’ll start to feel like one as well. Get up. Move around. Have dance parties in your kitchen. Do a scavenger hunt in your back yard. Take a walk. Get your blood pumping, your endorphins flowing, and keep your body feeling healthy. Healthy body, healthier mind.

These are just a few of my suggestions for surviving the slump of the stay-at-home order. Please comment and share your suggestions as well. And remember, if you’re struggling, reach out! We’re all in this together right now, and there are people who love you and want to help. So don’t suffer in silence. Don’t let isolation lead to depression. This is only for a season.

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About the Author

Hello! I’m a wife and mother, a mastiff lover, a believer, writer, designer and small business owner. I love cheesy movies, bike rides and chocolate. Welcome to my world!