Lucie (yelling from the kitchen): Mummy, where are the chocolate cookies? Mummyyyyyyyyyyyyyy where are the chocolate cookiiiiiies? Mummyyyyyyyyyy!!!
Mummy: Hold on a sec Paul. Lucie, I am working, I am online speaking with a colleague. So not now! Wait!
Lucie: But Mummyyy I am hungry, and I am bored. I want to see Janika and play at the park with her.
Mummy: I know darling, but we can’t.
Paul: Ariana, are you there???
Ariana (Mummy): yes, yes Paul sure, I am back. Let’s tackle these figures!
Lucie (still in the kitchen, crying…): But Mummyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
Rings a bell, déjà-vu ? Quarantine brings many challenges and keeping yourself mentally healthy is one of them, if not the most important one, whether you have kids or not. “We’re all worrying about whether we have enough food, toilet paper and medications to stay comfortable in quarantine, but one of the biggest challenges of quarantine will be to our mental health”. (1)
At She Leads Digital, we are not only concerned by the digitalization of our world. We also care about our community and believe it is part of our responsibility to help each other to better deal with this quarantine period.
Today we are forced to bring work at home working in a totally different environment not being surrounded by our fun (or less fun) colleagues, for some having our kids around, the dog may be who, by the way, is extremely happy to have a company or the cat who thinks “what the hell are you doing in my house!”. You might not have a dedicated place to work from, maybe you are confined in a studio with your girlfriend and have no space for yourself? A prerequisite is to find a place from where you’ll do your job. Not the bed. Not the sofa. Not the long chair in the sun. An actual comfortable and “professional” place where you could put your mind in the right mindset.
Tip: If your nest allows it, you can create for yourself your temporary desk. But take more than just the corner of dining table. Make sure you can stimulate your professional aptitude as much as possible.
Start with the basics – eat, sleep…and exercise!
Mental health starts in your plate… so eat well and get a good night sleep. We won’t give you the speech of eating 5 fruits & veggies a day or get your 8 hours sleep. You know better what you need to be and feel in good shape, so do it. Think like an athlete.
Take a break when you can and go for a walk, even a short one. Put your mind away and maybe the ones your kids for a moment, take your skipping rope, go for a run or dance on your balcony (if you lucky to have one!). Who cares but get some fresh air! Exercise has such a positive effect on the mood it is actually a prescribed treatment for mild to moderate depression. Make it a priority on your daily schedule (2)
Get dress! (a minimum)
With the sun coming up, why not wearing this lovely blue dress or that funky jumper you love so much. Dress down is okay but do get dressed – don’t stay in pajamas. Stick to your morning routine as you are going to work. Same wake-up time (for the parents, no needs to mention this), shower, family breakfast, etc.
Quarantine and alcohol, not a good combo
“Overuse of alcohol can negatively affect your body’s immune response to infectious diseases. As social distancing sets in, loneliness and depression might also increase, raising the specter of wider alcohol use—especially if variations of shelter-in-place last for weeks or months.” (3)
In the last couples of weeks, we have seen many people buying significant quantity of alcohol making sure to have enough while confine at home. Should we be concerned? And by the way, drinking alcohol won’t cure the coronavirus or prevent catching it. (4)
Planning is King, especially for parents!
Plan your week, your kid’s activity, keep your evening schedule as usual. Do not overload your calendar as you’ll need more free time to take care of the little one(s) or simply take a break and breathe deeply. What are you going to do this weekend? Rainy Saturday…let’s repaint Lucie’s bedroom altogether, how fun! Do online workouts with the kids, take a family nap (parents’ preferred option) or cook more chocolate cookies (Lucie’s preferred option) …yummy! Sunny Sunday, take a long walk at the park, play baseball, have the kids helping you in the garden or planting flowers for decorating the balcony.
Let’s the Tech be your best friend
Keep in touch with the outside world thanks to Technology. So many tech tools are available to ensure connections with the outside world. Make the most of them! Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful. You can organize e-drinks or an e-coffee with friends (5) or online gaming for kids (6) or even organize skype baby play dates (7) for your toddler – there is so much that technology can offer to make this quarantine time survivable.
At She Leads Digital, we believe this quarantine time can actually help to raise awareness around how technology can bring lifesaving solutions and create educational opportunities. Distance learning solutions (8) are part of our reality and represent a concrete alternative in these shaky times to guarantee education continuity.
Be simply happy. See the glass half full ☺
Use this quarantine time to reconnect with your inner self, to rethink your purpose, to focus on your essential. Make sure you do things that you like or that you have never actually had
time to do. Do whatever makes you happy! Maybe you want to cook something new, take a warm bath when kids are in bed, listen to your favorite sounds – many neurological studies have proven the positive effect of music on the brain (9) What about trying the “Do-nothing” attitude? Time to explore new paths…what about Mindfulness or meditation, never thought about it? Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing (10). This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. You could also set up a family yoga class at home, how fun can that be!
Finally, help others
Volunteering is a known mood-booster. Give a few minutes a day to help others will build a sense of belonging and self-worth. It will give you an opportunity to share positive experiences, to learn from others and to provide emotional support. You could call Louise, your old aunt who lives alone. Just that phone call will make her day. You could drop a note in your neighbors’ mailbox letting them know you are there for them if they need you. Be aware: doing good, does you good.
We’ll be back soon with more content.
- Claudia W. Allen, the director of the Family Stress Clinic and the director of behavioral science in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. Claudia is also a licensed clinical psychologist