Life Hacks

Coping with Global Crises – Podcasts and Strategies for Managing Stress and Self-Isolation

Pandemics have caused most countries to start (or finish!) enacting quarantine policies for their populations. If you’re a citizen of one of these countries, odds are you’ve already been recommended or ordered to remain indoors for the foreseeable future. Some folks can still work from home, but plenty of others cannot; regardless, everyone is starting to feel a little pressure from having to stay inside all day.

At HowWeSolve.com, we’re mainly interested in finding solutions to problems no matter how bleak or strange the situation might seem. We’ve certainly found ourselves in a unique circumstance with the Coronavirus outbreak, but there are strategies you can use to limit the adverse effects and make the most of the time we need to spend cooped up. 

Let’s dive into some of these issues and their solutions. We’ve also provided a handful of helpful podcast episodes to take your mind off your woes.

Main Problems with Quarantined Life

As we all experience what it’s like to spend too much time with ourselves and not enough time in the sun, chances are we’re all finding a few main problems in common. Let’s break down the main issues you’re likely to feel during quarantined life and some possible solutions.

Stir-Craziness

Many of us – even those of us who aren’t particularly physically active – will be getting stir crazy any day now if we aren’t already! There’s something inherent in humanity that makes us want to walk around and see other people and places, even if it means going to work every day! 

Having to spend so much time within a certain number of square feet and staring at the same few walls all day just doesn’t feel right. Even worse, lots of us haven’t developed hobbies that we can do at home since most of our socialization and activities happen either in relation to or after work! That means that plenty of us are ill-prepared for spending too much time at home.

If you’re like most of us and are starting to go stir-crazy, there are a few things you can do to make your daily routine a little brighter.

  • For starters, make sure to get up at the same time each day; adhering to a routine or schedule just like you would outside of quarantine will make things easier to handle
  • Use the Internet to find a new hobby or take up a mind-stimulating game. Try not to do anything too mind-numbing, as it will just make your stir-craziness worse
  • Spend some time cleaning your home or apartment; this may not be particularly fun at first, but it is productive, and it gives you something to do that was probably on the back burner while you were still working
  • Consider listening to the meditation podcast we described below or taking up yoga or a similar hobby; these techniques will help calm your mind and directly counteract your tendency to go stir-crazy

Difficulty Connecting with Coworkers

Many of us enjoy working for many reasons, including the actual act of working itself or for the profession, but sometimes it’s for the people we get to work with every day. Even if your coworkers are just acquaintances rather than friends, many of us miss these individuals or maybe just to connect with them as we continue to work from home.

The difficulty in connecting with coworkers is a tricky one, no doubt. But the good news is that there are plenty of solutions already developed and ready for use. Telecommuting and other job strategies have been in the works for quite some time. In brief:

  • Use a document sharing platform like Google Drive or Google Docs in order to share documents between you and your coworkers. This is practically in real-time and can even let people work on the same document or file in a virtual setting at the same time
  • Enterprise social media platforms like Slack or Yammer are great tools if you want to chat with your coworkers or brainstorm in a less formal setting
  • Consider using Spark, Gmail, or similar services to set up a company email platform and system. This is great if you want to keep communication tight even while everyone works in their pajamas
  • Use a video chat platform like Zoom. This is an excellent choice if you prioritize face-to-face communication and want to be personable to your employees or coworkers

Feeling Lonely

Similarly, many of us are feeling exceptionally lonely now that we don’t get at least some guaranteed face time with our friends and family. Even those of us who are lucky enough to live with a significant other might still want to see some other friends from time to time. Fortunately, there are some possible workarounds…

  • Many people are taking up gaming for the first time in finding that PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, or Steam offer excellent experiences you can enjoy with your friends. Many gaming companies are also having sales or discounts for many of their top titles, so it might be the perfect time to develop this as a hobby
  • Watch movies together via video chat. This technique is a bit battery draining, but there is something to be said for watching the same film with your best friend on the couch… Just while both of you video chat during the same movie. This allows you to get instantaneous reactions to the same scenes just like you would in a theater
  • Video chat via FaceTime, WhatsApp, or any chatting service these days will do. Humans are meant to communicate face-to-face rather than just over the phone. Don’t hesitate when reaching out to other people in the same boat as you are; chances are they are craving socialization just like you!

Low-Exercise Blues

Some of us are handling sitting still for days on end better than others. For those of us who like to exercise outdoors (especially runners), quarantine can be a real mood killer. However, there are ways to exercise and get out of the lazy slump you might feel, even if you don’t have lots of floor space.

  • Do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, crunches, and planks. Although gyms are great for the variety of weights and machines they offer, you can get a killer physique just from doing standard bodyweight exercises (Google Calisthenics). Even better, the challenge increases as you gain weight in muscle, so working up a sweat is never too hard
  • Run/walk up and down stairs. If you live in an apartment building, you might be able to use the stairwell within the building to run or walk up the steps over and over to get your cardio workout
  • Jumping jacks. These simple exercises are often overlooked except for warm-ups, but they’re a great cardio routine and can give you the feeling of momentum you might miss from running

Staying disciplined to healthy habits is difficult even without a global pandemic. That’s why we recommend habit trackers like the free one on managinghappiness.com where you can build a small group with your friends to track and keep each other accountable to healthier habits. Whether that’s exercise, yoga, eating, disconnecting from social media, or going to bed earlier, building new habits with friends and family will increase the likelihood that your new habits stick. Managing Happiness also offers great online courses and group masterminds to really take charge of your life.

Money Worries

Having too much energy is one thing, but plenty of us are suffering economically from the quarantine measures. It can be tempting to continually stare at your bank account and wonder if you’ll have enough of the end of the month to pay rent or afford electricity. Here are some alternative courses of action to take your mind off those worries:

  • Consider doing remote work or freelancing if you have a marketable skill. Freelancing is becoming a viable economic alternative for many, especially those who have ample free time with which to practice their art or talent. It can be a way to earn some extra income if you don’t have many hours at your workplace right now
  • Cut back on eating out. While many people are advocating for eating out in order to patronize local businesses, it might be smarter in the long run to purchase food you can cook at home. This also gives you something to do and will fill your apartment or house with the smells of your meal

Job Troubles

Similarly, lots of us are finding additional turmoil during these troubling times in the form of job displacement or loss. If your job is at risk or you recently found yourself let go, there are some things you can do to make your situation better or at least alleviate the fear a bit:

  • Spend time polishing your resume. Now’s the best time to tinker with your resume and make it the best it can be, especially since you aren’t on a time crunch before you need to go to bed to rise for work again
  • Reconsider your career path. Many people are holding down the first job that paid decent money in order to make ends meet. If you’ve been forcibly removed from your current position, it might be time to consider alternative career paths; although this is only really applicable to those who are unhappy with their current role or unhappy at their current place of employment
  • Don’t lose hope. Although it can be tough to lose your job for now, remember that the quarantine measures are not forever. You might be able to reclaim your job once the measures have lifted! In the meantime, if you have the cash to spare, it might be good for your mental health to treat this time as a “stay-cation.” Kick back, relax, and catch up on your favorite Netflix shows

Ideal Podcasts for Quarantine Qualms

In addition to all the strategies listed above, you can also listen to these top podcast episodes that directly relate to our current circumstances.

TheOneMind Podcast Episode 100: Loving Kindness Guided Meditation

There’s nothing more relaxing than listening to this podcast episode, which is a guided meditation ideal for beginners looking to calm their minds after staring at their apartment walls for too long. It’s hosted by Morgan Dix and goes through:

  • reasons why meditation can be helpful right now
  • a walk-through showing you how to meditate properly
  • a guided meditation script that will leave you feeling calmer

Stir-Crazy Episode 1

This aptly-named podcast is a limited series that will only be running for as long as the Coronavirus pandemic continues. It’s hosted by Joel Batham, and each episode dives into what each of his friends is doing with their suddenly ample free time. This episode provides:

  • a few ways to take advantage of your extra space
  • strategies to stay healthy while being in quarantine
  • techniques to make your own fun even if you start to get bored

Find Your Dream Job Episode 44: How to Cope with a Job Loss

This episode will be especially pertinent for many of us who lost our jobs as a result of the Coronavirus quarantine measures. In this episode, career coach Marshall Warner provides:

  • tips to handle the sudden stress from losing your job
  • advice so you can rebuild your career and portfolio
  • ways to take a breath and stay engaged with your existing networks
  • strategies so you can take classes and enhance your skills in the meantime

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend Episode 64: Whitney Cummings

Everyone needs a friend: even Conan O’Brien! This podcast is a hilarious interview with Whitney Cummings, and it’s a perfect way to take your mind off your current stresses and relax for an afternoon.

Like all episodes, this one includes:

  • a hilarious introduction of the guest, Whitney Cummings
  • several anecdotes between both Conan and his guest
  • discussion about recent events
  • general hilarity… trust us!

The Minimalists Episode 227: Economic Hardship

Hosts Joshua and Ryan, the self-proclaimed minimalists of the podcast, use this show to directly discuss many aspects of economic anxiety people are feeling all across the world. Their unique perspective may be valuable if you find yourself wondering what’ll happen to your possessions or property, and they share advice on how to:

  • maximize your wealth without increasing your stress
  • optimize your economic gains without much of an income
  • make the most of what you currently have even if it isn’t much

Conclusion

We’ll all have to cope with COVID-19 in our own ways. But we hope our tips and strategies are able to help you make the most of this time or take your mind off the stresses we’re all feeling. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have concerns or want to chat!

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