As a corporate trainer and educator in Massachusetts - my profession is highly social - I spend my days at the head of a classroom, working one on one with employees and designing curriculum. However, Covid19 has changed every aspect of my job function overnight. Now, like a lot of Americans, I telecommute for work, talk or IM my co-workers, teleconference, and screen share. Most of Massachusetts' businesses are closed, gatherings of more than 25 are banned, and for now, standing before a classroom with smiling faces has turned into a teleconference session. Most of the community is practicing self-isolation in my region - meaning families are staying in their homes all the time. For most people, this is a big adjustment and I wanted to share some tips which might make your self-isolation more successful and healthy.
7 Recommendations for Self Isolation:
1. Telecommute If You Can
Continuing to work during this difficult and fearful time will help support your daily routine and balance your work/life experience. Try to make the new normal as normal as possible. Clear a desk or table in an extra bedroom to make a home office.
2. Do / Find a Hobby You Love at Home
Practice your home hobbies often - such as crafting, reading, gaming, drawing, writing, etc. If you do not have a hobby - get one. Hobbies that enable you to make something or have a completed project at the end are best - as they will increase your sense of satisfaction.
3. Make Family Time
Spend time with your family. They need your love and support right now. Have a game night or eat dinner without your phones and with the TV off. If these unpredictable times have taught us anything, it is that the people we love are precious and we should cherish all the time we have with them. If you live alone, call or FaceTime your family often.
4. Center Yourself Daily
Have quiet time in prayer or meditation for 3 -15 minutes daily. Recommended activities include praying, reading the Bible or other devotional texts, or meditating. Even if you are not religious - make time to quiet your heart, let go of worries, and be thankful. Taking this time to center your mind and spirit will reduce anxiety and help you release circumstances you cannot control.
5. Dress Up
Dress up when you desire. Dress every morning for telecommuting if it helps you keep a sense of normalcy. Dress up to FaceTime as if you were going out. If you have a routine for dressing to go out – like I do - practicing this routine will make you feel happier as it creates a sense of normalcy.
6. Limit Stress
Limit triggers that increase your stress or anxiety. For example, if watching additional news coverage spikes your anxiety - limit your daily time with this media to a set amount. Do your best to stay informed but it is okay to unplug from activities that cause stress.
7. Connect with Technology
Use technology to stay connected with others in your friend groups, community, and workplace. Teleconferencing, calling, using IM, video chatting, or other digital communication methods will increase your sense of connection and make you feel less lonely. If you are not working or you feel lonely outside of work hours, join a Facebook group, FaceTime with friends, a live game with other players online, or post encouraging videos on Facebook or YouTube. For more ideas, see a related post on how you can maintain a sense of community during quarantine.
Lastly, help others who are less digitally inclined set up communication methods for staying connected - call grandma and help her set up FaceTime - especially if you are a millennial or a generation Z. You are the most tech-savvy generations and you have tremendous power to help others feel connected in this time when so many people feel alone.
My prayer for all of you is that you would find comfort in your family and faith during this strange time. Know that this is a season and not forever. Love each other and take things one day at a time.
*Elizabeth Blanchette is a graduate of Liberty University, where she received her Master of Arts in Executive Leadership. Ms. Blanchette is a passionate educator and corporate trainer for a nationally recognized organization. She has led several major company projects and initiatives at corporate and international levels. Ms. Blanchette has traveled extensively, working with youth programs – in leadership positions - in England, France, Ireland, and Wales. Ms. Blanchette is honored to serve as Vice President of Alumni Relations for the National Society of High School Scholars Executive Fellows Board. Elizabeth has been a member of the NSHSS since 2010, serving as an NSHSS Ambassador, a four-year member of the NSHSS Student Council, and a member of the College Student Council before joining the Executive Fellows Board. As an educator, Ms. Blanchette ardently believes in investing and inspiring the youth of the world. Through developing relationships and connections with NSHSS alumni, fellows, high school members, educators, and families, Ms. Blanchette hopes to assist and advance the alumni in their pursuit of excellence, while fostering a lifelong and worldwide NSHSS community based on fellowship and engagement. Outside of NSHSS, Ms. Blanchette serves as the President of the Phi Delta Lambda international honor society of Eastern Nazarene College (ENC). She is also the Head of Auxiliary Resources on the Alumni Council of ENC. Her achievements include inductions into several graduate business honor societies and recognition as a gold medallion recipient of Liberty University.
(Below) Elizabeth helping at the NSHSS during Scholar's Day, Atlanta