By Justin DoCanto
Right now, there are millions of people finishing their first week of being confined to their homes, figuring out how to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy and entertained. For some, it's already been a few weeks or a month. No matter the length or your reason, staying indoors is a new and challenging experience that a lot of people are trying to get through.
As somebody who has Agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that causes me and many others to stay indoors and fear what could happen if we go outside, I wanted to offer some suggestions that have helped me stay sane while staying indoors over the years.
Now, before I continue, let me say that I know some of these suggestions might not be easy or even possible for some people because of things like their own physical or mental abilities. If you think something in these tips sounds useful but isn't a perfect fit for you, feel free to take and adapt them however you see fit.
Here are my tips for breaking up the monotony of each day.
1. Changing locations within your house:
When you're inside for days at a time, it can be easy to get stuck in what I'll call a "loop." Whether that's doing the same thing every day or doing the same thing for hours at a time and realizing it, I find it essential to be able to recognize my day is lacking variety and that I need to switch it up.
The way I most commonly do that is to move locations. Even if you're going to continue doing the same thing, like read a book or use your phone, try doing it somewhere new. As somebody who is continuously on my laptop, I try to work in different locations around my apartment. In the morning, I'll use my desk. In the afternoon, I'll work from the coffee table.
Are you limited on space? Try sitting somewhere else like a different chair. If you have another room, try changing rooms. No matter how much space you have, even if it's just to feel a new texture or feel the sun that's beaming through the blinds, break the loop to keep your day from feeling like one giant blur.
2. Schedule something to look forward to:
Another way to break the loop is to schedule when you're going to do something. Maybe it's something you love to do, or perhaps it's something you've never done before. Last year, I told myself I was going to try baking bread no matter how disastrous the outcome might be. It turned out I'm not that bad, and that I love doing it!
For couples, you could try something like scheduling a "date" at your local dining table or when you're going to watch each other's favorite movies.
For families or people living together, maybe scheduling a game night or themed dinner could give everybody something to look forward to.
3. Change clothes and bathe as regularly as possible:
This suggestion is something I learned from a colleague years ago. A team of people and I were working long hours, sometimes all night, and it was starting to wear us down. We were still days from launch, and I was finding it hard to stay happy and focused on the bigger picture. The suggestion I received that I'm passing onto you was to continue to bathe like I usually would and to put on an outfit I love or feel great wearing.
Doing this did a lot of different things for me and might do something different for you. For me, seeing myself in different clothes prevented the days from blending together. Seeing myself clean and in something different reminded me that I'm taking care of myself, despite how I might feel. Also, staying on top of hygiene is always important.
These things may seem small or trivial to some, but every little action you take can help break the monotony that comes with being inside all day.