5 Tips for Managing Your Time and Staying Sane During Quarantine

Woman sitting alone

I’m one of many service industry workers who haven’t been to work since March 14th. I work as a server at an adorable local wine bar and restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I love my job and I love wine, so when my boss called, I eyed my wine rack suspiciously, knowing that with nothing to do I could plow through my beloved collection. Or I could get lost in true-crime documentaries (Tiger King anyone?!) and lose my sense of purpose, a phenomenon I call a “TV hangover.”

To make it through this indefinite bout of unemployment, I was going to have to get deliberate about managing my time wisely.

Discipline has never been my strongest suit, but finding myself staring down a foggy road whose end I can’t see is just what I needed to kick it into high gear.

Here are 5 tips to keep yourself sane, your sense of purpose intact, and your time used wisely during quarantine.

1. Choose something new to learn

This doesn’t have to be your Mount Everest. It could be a book you’ve been meaning to get around to reading.

Re-ignite old passions or surf the web for things that inspire new interest.

Yesterday I watched a YouTube video on how to make a basket from blackberry vines. Who knows, when all goes back to normal you could find your life completely changed!

Here are some things that I’ve decided to focus on:

  • Learning ASL through a free online resource, lifeprint.com
  • Learning new hula-hoop tricks on YouTube.
  • Using gardening blogs to plan a future indoor garden.
  • Finishing the book I started last year.
  • Teaching my dogs some new tricks (they need to learn too!).

2. Create a schedule

Tend to your time as if you still have a job by creating a schedule. Incorporate the things you want to learn into it.

Signal to yourself that you’re not in bed anymore by brushing your teeth and changing clothes.

Work some simple self-care activities into your morning routine. You could meditate, do yoga, journal, dance, exercise. Whatever feels like self-care to you.

This part of your schedule is essential to keeping your mental health in check.

Don’t go overboard with it – give yourself free time and days off when you’re allowed to lounge around and binge The Office!

Here’s an example of a schedule to get you started (don’t judge me for getting up at 10am, I work nights people!)

10:00-10:30 Self care.

10:30-11:30 Breakfast and get ready.

11:30-12:30 Housekeeping (this can be actual housekeeping or tasks on your to-do list ie. call bank, apply for unemployment, etc.)

12:30-3:00 Write.

3:00-4:00 ASL lesson online.

4:00-4:30 Read.

Notice that it’s a short day; it’s as ambitious as I’d like it to be and not anymore. After 4:30, I can chill and veg out without feeling guilty. Keep things realistic.

And if you’re a service industry worker like me and you dislike a repetitive work schedule, change it up! I write a new schedule for myself every night.

3. Tap into free mindfulness resources

When we experience loss or when things are just looking grim for us, a mindfulness practice is invaluable.

While I’d like to say I’ve kept a consistent meditation practice since I found it back in 2011, that’s just not true.

But when things get bad I know exactly what to do, and it helps me every time. Here are some free resources to get you started.

Dharmaseed.org: Dharmaseed is an online archive of dharma talks and guided meditations, freely offered by insight meditation teachers. You can download the app to your phone.

I love Mark Nunberg’s guided meditations and Tara Brach’s dharma talk, “Facing Pandemic Fears with an Awake Heart”.

DoYogaWithMe: DoYogaWithMe, an online yoga studio with classes ranging from beginner to advanced, is offering 2 free months of all premium content to support you while you’re stuck at home!

Free Half-Day Guided Meditation Retreat: For those of you who are a little more advanced (or just ambitious!), Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach have created a guided self-retreat that will take you even further to the stillness of your home and yourself.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Reach out to your friends and family and tell them what your needs are right now. Let them know you’d like to be in touch.

Make a list of friends you want to call. Send them a text and ask them if they’d like to meet for a virtual happy hour. Talk about your concerns, and share what you’re doing to care for yourself during this time. Ask them what they’re doing.

Search online for blogs about self-preservation during quarantine.

Initiate a Facebook group with your friends where everyone can post about what they’re going through. Make sure to throw up a few memes, too! Laughter is medicine.

5. Practice self-compassion and forgiveness

Most importantly, acknowledge that you’re doing your best and that you won’t always follow through perfectly.

When setting a goal or an intention, allow for room to “fail”. The first day I made a schedule I slept in and tossed the whole thing out the window.

I reminded myself this:

“The world is experiencing an abrupt change. There are so many unknowns. This is hard. I’m not going to navigate this perfectly and that’s okay. But I still have a desire to spend my time wisely. So I’ll try again tomorrow.”

And it’s 2:30pm here so if you refer to my schedule you’ll see that I did follow through the next day!

Who knows what will come of tomorrow. My priority is to stay happy and on my own side. I hope you will too.

I’d love to hear from you now!

What are you doing to manage your time and keep a sense of normalcy during quarantine?

What are you learning and how?

What does your new normal look like?

Please leave your comment below.

About the author: Kara Daly is a poet, songwriter, and freelance writer. She loves writing about writing, mindfulness, music, and wine. You can visit her website at karadalypoetry.wordpress.com.

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About the Author
To know more about Kara visit her blog karadalypoetry.wordpress.com.
About Outofstress
The aim of this site is to provide down to earth, thought provoking content to inspire higher thinking, infuse positive energy, expand consciousness and promote self awareness.
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