Six Ways To Work Through Isolation

So in the last 24 hours, Social Distancing protocols are officially extended until April 30th.  That’s certain to put a damper on a lot of things for many of you who might be reading this.  Whatever plans you might’ve made in advance that involve a social gathering of sorts will most likely be postponed.  Were you furloughed from your job due to lost revenue?  Is your business considered non-essential?  Do you rely on daily social interaction to feel personally satisfied?

The loss of any of these could lead to a number of emotions, especially anxiety over your future.  If you’re working from home, like I am, those fears will most likely won’t pertain to you.  But staying home from too long could also make you too comfortable, creating a lazy demeanor the likes of which you never knew you had in you!  As nerve wracking as this pandemic has become, it’s also provided for many of us, myself included, a unique opportunity for you to accomplish all those things you’d never do because you had no time, or so you say.  I’ll be using this article to discuss ways to counteract those two emotions during this difficult, making you as productive at home, as you are in the office.

  1. Set Up A Routine – the sudden change in your life might prompt you to sleep in, sit on the couch, followed by going to bed much later than you normally would.  I’d think twice about doing that.  If you’re anxious, not having a plan of attack for the day might lead you to get lost in your thoughts, something that’s not healthy for you at all right now (or ever!).  Make a list (written or mental) of things to do every day including a time to wake up everyday (I don’t mean the crack of noon either!) as well as things you might want to accomplish but would never get the chance to do under normal circumstances.  Also, unless you’re in education like I am, you’ll eventually have to go back to work and, depending on how soon that is, you’ll want to be physically and emotionally ready.  I wake up everyday at 6am, stretch, exercise briefly, take a brisk walk around the block and even make a smoothie before starting my work day at 8:30.
  2. Exercise Daily – now if you read my articles often then this one is a no-brainer.  But for everyone else, this could open up a whole new world for you.  Are you that person that claims that you won’t go to the gym because you  “don’t have time”?  Here’s your chance!  I’m not saying you have to do much.  You can just take a brisk, ten minute walk around your neighborhood first thing in the morning, and the increase in your heart rate will cause greater blood circulation throughout your body, thus providing you more energy throughout the day.
  3. Focus On Stretching and Mobility – Are you working from home?  Unless your posture is fantastic and you understand your anatomy a few things will happen.  You will have hip flexor pain, especially if you’re sitting in front of a computer all day.  When you sit down, you’re hip flexors, also known as you’re Psoas Major, are in a flexed position.  Sitting for long periods of time also weakens your gluteus maximus, which will cause lower back pain.  And if you’re in a situation where you are sitting for several hours at a time this will cause tightness in those areas as well as potentially pain.  This obviously is a detriment to us in terms of any physical activity.  Also, most people tend to hunch over when they’re sitting in front of a computer all day.  That means your shoulders will most likely roll forward, tightening your chest and weakening your upper back.  Nothing says shoulder pain like an overactive pectoral region and an underactive upper back.   That’s why is so important that you take at least ten minutes every so often to perform routines like the Defranco Agile 8, which works to loosen your Lumbo-Pelvic Hip Complex (LPVC).  You should also foam roll your upper back and especially your pectoral region, as well as using resistance bands if you have them available to you to strengthen your posterior deltoids in order to prevent shoulder pain and bad posture.
  4. Eat Better – many of you probably choose not to cook for the same reason you say you choose not to go to the gym.  Well, you now have plenty of time.  I understand that grocery shopping right now might be nightmarish, but if you have $100 and a supermarket with somewhat stocked shelves, find yourselves some skinless chicken breasts, some fresh veggies (or even frozen), brown rice (now’s not the time to eat fast digesting carbs like white rice!) and you can have yourself a few decent, easy to cook meals that require very little prep time and almost the same amount of time to cook (brown rice does take longer to boil than white rice, unfortunately).  You’ll be tempted to buy TGIF potato skins, and pizza rolls.  But remember, if you’re overweight, this is the best time to experiment with changing your diet and training yourself to stick to it!  Oh, and don’t forget to stick with only water – room temperature at that!
  5. Virtual Interaction – as I mentioned before, some of you are feeling the emotional pain of isolation from the rest of society.  And while I’m not the biggest fan of talking to people on social media, as I feel it personally makes me feel lonely to begin with, there are multiple platforms were your friends are getting together right now to hold interactive chats, movie nights, dinners where people are ordering take out in a creative attempt to emulate those nights were you’d normally have your friends over your house and scarf down a pie from the pizzeria down the street.  You can use apps like Skype or Zoom (which I’m only learning about now!) to keep in touch with your loved ones or your friends right now.  Are you as big of a music fan as I am?  Bands even are using these platforms to hold concerts!
  6. Sleep – this could’ve easily been used as part of Set Up A Routine, but I chose to make this a separate piece for one reason: I know you probably are either sleeping in too late or not sleeping enough.  And that’s why I wanted to reiterate this point to reign it all in.  If you’re going to work on your physical and emotional well being sleep rules everything around you (see what I did there?)!  Getting seven or eight hours of sleep each night will help to relieve stress, anxiety, inflammation, will improve your memory and even help you lose weight.  And when you do go to bed do you play on your phone, texting your buds before you go to sleep.  That will stop here as the harsh light from your phone will alter your circadian rhythm, tricking your mind to stay awake regardless of how tired your body is.  Instead, do whatever it takes for you personally to get nice and comfortable under the sheets for an easy rest.  I personally take cold showers every night, as the body requires a cooler temperature in order to relax, although that’s a story for another article.

Feel free to comment below, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.  Do you agree with these points?  Disagree?  Would you add anything to this list?  In the spirit of people getting together in this tough time let’s talk.  This along with all my articles is an open forum.

My Sources:

https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/circadian-rhythms.aspx

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