Has the Stay Home Order turned you into a blob? On one hand it may feel like a much needed respite from the hyperactive pace society has had us hooked on for so long. On the other, you may be feeling some guilt for staring (once again) into the fridge for a snack before returning to the couch for some more Facebook. Maybe all this time with yourself is uncomfortable?
Gestalt psychotherapy says that “disrupting homeostasis” is a great way to ignite change and force adaptation. In other words, being quarantined may be just the time for you to grow and take care of some much-needed business at home.
The problem is that humans are creatures of habit, so when those habits are interrupted, we get all out of sync. The body and mind function best in the rhythm of routine. The following list of ideas are designed to help you do just that.
1. Morning Meditation And Mini Workout
This consists of 8 minutes of sitting meditation followed by 50 situps and 10 ultra-slow pushups. In meditation I practice permitting myself to do absolutely nothing but sit and breathe (easier said than done!). Then, just 5 minutes of jump-starting my body with sit ups and push ups makes it easier to exert myself in other ways for the rest of the day. Of all the things I do to stay productive, this is at the top of my list.
2. Schedule your social media surfing.
I’ve caught myself: sitting down then opening Facebook. Standing up then opening Facebook. Waiting for something to happen and opening Facebook. Turning off Netflix and opening Facebook. Familiar? What’s helped me is to limit my social media time to 2x per day- breakfast time and after dinner. Check notifications, scroll the feed for a few swipes, message or post a little ditty, then put it down. If you’re feeling like you are probably using social media a little bit too much, you’re right. Put it down and pick up something useful.
3. Buy healthy food. Don’t buy junk.
Processed foods and too much sugar and fat make a person lazy. If laziness, depression, anxiety, obesity, heart issues, inability to delay gratification, and supporting our nation’s health issues are a high priority for you, then by all means, keep eating junk. But if you want to stay productive, one of the best ways I do that is by not eating all junk. And the easiest way for me to avoid it is to never buy it in the first place.
4. Maintain your sleeping schedule.
As mentioned before, the body likes rhythm. One of the rhythms it especially likes is the wake/sleep cycle. It’s hard to be productive when you’re sleepy, isn’t it? Sleeping in feels good and staying up late is fun, but they don’t typically spark productivity. Your choice.
5. Maintain your work schedule.
This may be easy if your work schedule has indeed not changed since COVID-19. But, if you have been laid off, assigned to work at home, or have a reduced customer base right now, then maintaining your regular work hours is essential to staying productive. Maybe you’d like to work one less day per week, or even two less. Experiment. Some folks are more productive with shorter work weeks. Whatever you decide on, maintain “work hours” and follow them militantly.
6. Up your inner work.
Now is as good a time as ever to address those mental, emotional, spiritual dilemmas you’ve had to place on the backburner as you tended to life business. Meditate, read, journal, meet with your counselor, gain support from your loved ones, pray, and otherwise go deep with yourself. Attend to YOU. Resolving your inner conflicts makes you more clear headed and efficient.
7. Attend to your relationships.
Call up your old high school buddy. Have yourself some girl time on video chat. Ask your partner how they are doing. See if your neighbors need anything. Volunteer to the causes that matter to you. Scroll through your phone’s contact list and reach out to someone you haven’t in awhile. Text someone new every day with a simple, “How you been?” Getting out of my own head space and strengthening my support network ensures good harvests.
Self explanatory. Cleaned my range hood this week. Wow. Feels good to have that done. When your home is in order, the rest follows.
For many of us, there’s never been such a call to question our lifestyles, society, economy, government, values, habits, and goals. I find it extremely productive to ask myself, now that I’ve had a “break” from routine, “What do I really believe? How do I want to restructure my life in accordance with those beliefs? What do I really want? How am I going to make my dreams come true? What’s my first step?”
It’s ironic to see the word “rest” as a suggestion for how to be more productive, isn’t it? Welcome to psychology. Allowing ourselves to deeply rest during resting periods relieves us of the obsession for rest while working. It reduces the urge to avoid work. When we allow ourselves to fully rest, we are much more capable to follow it by fully working. We can relax in the action of work because we aren’t unconsciously striving for what we never really allow ourselves to have- rest.
I hope one or more of these ideas helps you reprogram yourself to remain at least semi-productive in your new lifestyle under quarantine. If you would like some more one-on-one support in either a coaching or therapeutic fashion, I’m happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to see how I may be able to meet your needs!