How to Manage Time at Home During Quarantine
The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to an unprecedented state of quarantine or stay-at-home orders or advisories.
Isolation presents unique challenges and circumstances. The confinement and restrictions coupled with the disease’s unknown can add to anxiety.
“There is stress when you have nothing to do,” said Dr. Edwin Jackson, a psychiatrist with BayCare Medical Group. “There is the tendency to worry. You may think and concentrate more about your condition or the pandemic. If your mental health is not in a good place, it could be detrimental and make your medical and physical condition worse.”
Dr. Jackson and Dr. Nick Dewan, chief medical officer of BayCare Behavioral Health, both pointed out the importance of keeping busy with activities and having structured time.
There are usual standbys that get repeated frequently in news stories about dealing with the idleness: reading, television, household projects, working from home, streaming content, Internet, social media, exercise, board games, learning a new skill, music, family bonding time or helping your kids with school work.
“You will get trapped only if you allow yourself to get trapped,” said Dr. Jackson. “There is so much you can do now. You can travel the world with your mind.”
Dr. Dewan said to look at this situation as an opportunity.
“It’s all about how you frame it,” he said. “Most of the time, we are on this hamster wheel, constantly spinning. Here’s a chance to come down off that wheel and step back. You have been given the luxury of time, an opportunity to actually think and reflect. You can do something you’ve been constantly putting off. Reconnect with others.”
Dr. Dewan did warn of the downside of trying to do too much.
“The last thing you want to do is to have a long list of things you want to accomplish and then feel overwhelmed that you have to finish it. That could actually make your situation worse,” he said. “You don’t have to do it all at once, but a little at a time and in small increments. Your newly found time should not be burdensome.”
Both doctors Jackson and Dewan said how you use your time now may define how you look back at the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
“This may be the defining moment of our lives,” Dr. Jackson said. “We must all rise to it.”