Ready for a change to the stay-at-home routine? In part II of how to stay sane when the four walls are closing in, here are more ideas to help pass the days while sheltering in place.
1. Answer the door with a mobile phone to your ear.
Tired of interruptions from people knocking on the door? Productivity Pro Laura Stack recommends answering the door with a mobile phone glued to your ear. If the visitor thinks that you are in the middle of a call, you can cut short a lot of unwanted interactions and random queries.
Normally, this trick is used for non-epidemic situations, where salesmen and neighbors may often be the interruptor. These days, the “visitors“ may likely be your kids or even your spouse, but the principle still applies: When people know you are working from home, they can often assume you are free for a chat or random discussion, or will even welcome the distraction. If they see you’re on the phone, they’ll get the message that you’re being productive and shouldn’t be disturbed, or that they should come back at another time.
By the way, it helps if you’re not answering the interruption in your pajamas. Getting properly dressed each day gives others (and yourself) the message that you are awake and doing serious work, not secretly lounging around watching Netflix.
NOTE: Use this trick wisely. It won’t be long till your family members or housemate(s) figure out your little ruse, if you use this one too often!
2. Give your pet mental exercises.
If you think your pet is starting to go stir-crazy from seeing you around the house so frequently all of a sudden, that may actually be the case. Whether it’s a case of the needies (such as the cat plopping down on your keyboard) or the dog that keeps making an appearance in your Zoom call, it could be that your pet could benefit from mental calisthenics.
Dog experts in the UK are advising that tiring out your canine with mental exercises can help relieve behavioral and anxiety issues. In terms of ‘draining their battery’, this may even be more effective than taking the dog out for a walk. Some dog whisperers even offer online training lessons via video call, especially Q&A sessions for behavioral issues.
3. Hang like a monkey to stretch out your back and neck.
Here’s a wonderful way to relax a tired back and neck without having to book a physio appointment. If you don’t have this set up already, you can install a chin-up bar in a doorway at home. There are ones that don’t require drilling into the wall and are extremely easy to set up. With some models, you just have to rotate one section of it until it expands to fit the doorway.
You can either hop up to catch the bar, or use a stool for support. Simply let yourself dangle from it for 10-30 seconds, depending on long you can endure the effort. (For tall people, you may need to bend your knees if you’re too close to the ground.) If you’re strong enough, you can also rotate slowly from side to side, moving your hips and knees. Your lower back will feel the stretch, and the area between your shoulders. Repeat several times a day if needed, especially before bedtime. It’s also a great opportunity to take a mental break when you’re just dangling and not able to look at a mobile phone!
If you’re really desperate for a back stretch but don’t have a chin-up bar and can’t get to the park, you can try rolling up a large towel and lying down on it. Picking a firm surface, such as the floor, works better than a bed. Position that towel under your back so it’s at the place just below your scapula (a little lower than halfway down your back). Lie on it for at least ten minutes, breathing in and out slowly and letting your back relax from its tightness. You can try either having your knees up or down.
This move is a little more effective and much less painful than grabbing a sturdy door and hanging off the top of it with your fingers to do the back stretch (trust us, we’ve done this before in desperation!).
4. Take the carbon footprint test.
Set up a takeout container or food packaging collection corner. Since many of us are ordering takeout or delivery more frequently these days, it can be a good time to take note of just how environmentally friendly we’re being with our eating habits. In just three days’ time, it can very obvious just how much we’re throwing each time in terms of non-biodegradables. If after just three days, you find you can’t stand having a pile of plastic containers and wrappers that won’t go away, imagine how bad it would be if these single-use plastics will be hanging around for the next 50-400 years.
For a quick look at how long it takes takeaway utensils and containers to break down, check out our handy chart here. Also, here’s a list of ways you can be environmentally conscious with your takeout meal habits during the lockdown.