The advice is now work from home if you can, self isolate if you need to and only be out and about if necessary. All schools will be closing on Friday and in London, there is talk of a total lockdown based on the 958 cases (that we know about).
I work from home fairly regularly and a couple of years ago spent 6 weeks more or less trapped in the house as I recovered from an osteotomy. So I know a little bit about not leaving the house but I’m also an introvert and live alone so I don’t leave the house for at least one full day a month. Even so working from home for at least a month and probably longer will probably hard, even for me, so here are my top tips but before I do that, I want to be clear, right now, I’m in the very lucky position of not having to worry about employment, money or housing. I also have all four rooms of my house to myself, even so, these are things that will help:
Clean and tidy. Guys, if you’re going to spend all your time in your house, it’s going to be much nicer if it’s clean and tidy. I’ve spent a lot of time this week, getting laundry done, hoovering and doing stuff like cleaning the bathroom. That done keep on top of it, make time every day to put things away, wash up, tidy your space, do laundry. Put work stuff away when you finish work. It’ll do two things, it’ll keep your flat pleasant and it’ll give you a small amount of purpose.
Exercise. I start work from home days with yoga, but if you’re not sick, a walk, yoga or some sort of exercise is a good. If and when we go into lockdown, gyms are doing work from home classes, there’s loads of stuff on YouTube.
Open your windows. It’s not all that cold where I am but it’s not really warm enough to fling open the windows and I know other places are colder. I open the windows at least during exercise. Fresh air is good for you and if lockdown happens and you don’t have a garden opening you’re windows even for an hour a day is a good thing.
Routine. It’s really hard, but get up at the same time every morning and make a structure. When I was recovering from the foot op, I was up, washed and in clean pj’s by about 8am every day. I wasn’t very mobile but the change from bed to sofa was important.
Take breaks. At work, I get up to see people, I get up to fill up my water bottle. I don’t tend to do this at home. So get up every hour and have a little walk around, make a cup of tea but get away from the screen for five minutes. One of my colleagues who has been in isolation for a while, walks around his kitchen when he’s taking calls or on a conference call, he says that if he doesn’t, he tries to work as well and he’s focus isn’t properly on either thing and it boosts his tiny step count…
Drink water. Make sure you hydrate, I tend to drink more when I’m in the office than at home so I make sure to drink three 750ml bottles of water a day. Work out what works for you and stick to it.
Take a lunch hour. Preferably away from where you’re working but if you have to clear it all away for lunch and then set it up for the afternoon session.
Be clear about when you’ve stopped work. Stop put everything away and don’t answer work calls.
Find a hobby. It could be cross-stitch, it could be a book, it could be a jigsaw. Find something that makes you feel accomplished or at the very least absorbed. A friend of mine is isolating with her family and they are playing board games for an hour, another friend is re-watching The Wire, with his mates. They are all in different places but having an hour every night to watch an episode and have a Whatsapp group to talk about it.
Reach out. It might get lonely, call your friends, skype or facetime or zoom them. They are mostly locked away too. Be honest, if you miss them or are finding it hard. Today I told a friend of mine I wished I could hug her. She got it..because she’s my friend and we really are all in it together.
Think about others. I know people who work for the NHS and are going to be working through all of it. I’m offering house room to one of them that commutes up for work and I’ve told the others that if they need a meal they should let me know and they can pick it up on their way home.
This one, is an only if you can one. Donate to a foodbank. I’m not going to pay for travel for a couple of months, I’m donating some money to my local foodbank so they can continue to help feed people who are already in a tough spot or who will be needing to use the foodbank because they aren’t getting paid. Let’s try and help each other through this…