What to do in coronavirus lockdown is the question on everyone’s lips as COVID-19 catapults us into a new world where self-isolation, working from home, social distancing and canceling social events are becoming the new norm.
Because this coronavirus is going to step off the page of our newsfeed and into our homes very soon.
Last week coronavirus touched my family when my son had two separate contacts with confirmed cases in the community. This triggered events including self-isolation and canceling a gathering to honour my mother’s passing.
This made coronavirus more real to me and got me, as a high-performance coach, thinking about what action we need to take in these challenging times.
In this post I’ll give a run-down on what a coronavirus lockdown is, how to prepare for a coronavirus lockdown, and what to do in coronavirus lockdown – how to keep you and your loved ones healthy, entertained and engaged – as well as keeping your vibe high as you weather the storm of COVID-19.
What is a coronavirus lockdown and when are we likely to go into lockdown?
A coronavirus lockdown, or self-isolation, is needed to reduce community transmission of coronavirus. It’s a strategy that works. Check this chart here that explains how lockdowns and social distancing saved lives in 1918.
At this stage a coronavirus lockdown may be needed if:
- you’ve returned home from overseas and your government asks you to self-isolate or self-quarantine
- you’ve had contact with someone with COVID-19
- your office has asked staff to work from home, or on rotation, to reduce community transition
- your children’s child-care, kindergarten or school has been shut down
- Your government shuts down your local community or region.
With the World Health Organization and most governments now calling for reduced community interaction to slow down the transmission of coronavirus, to flatten its peak and therefore the pressure on the health system the prospect for a general, or localised, coronavirus lockdown is looking more and more likely by the day. [As at the time of writing in Australia non-essential inside public gatherings of 100 people or more were banned]
So if this is where we are at – what next? Time to get prepared and take positive action.
This is a 9-step checklist for what to do in coronavirus lockdown:
1. Get prepared first
If we’re wondering what to do in lockdown the first step is to get prepared.
Preparation is key when it comes to getting through any journey or time of life that’s challenging. You need to know how to emotionally, financially and physically prepare to make sure all your bases are covered and you’re calm to deal with any emerging stressors.
The key here is to be prepared but don’t panic. Fear creates illness. I strongly believe the pandemic of fear we’re experiencing is as dangerous as coronavirus itself.
Research by the University of Minnesota, found fear can weaken the immune system and chronic fear has serious health consequences. Harvard Medical School* states that “anxiety has been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions.”
This science tells us our fears can make us sick – and with the media giving us incessant updates on coronavirus we can be easily overwhelmed by it all.
So it is vital we consciously choose a healthy perspective on managing the threat of the coronavirus.
Checklist on how to get prepared for coronavirus lockdown:
1. Get prepared physically
This is about having what you need at home so you don’t have to run out to the store every five minutes. It is not about panic buying the entire store out of dried goods and toilet paper. Key items to buy include medicines and non-perishable items you enjoy. Yes,
I bought pasta, but I also bought my favourite chocolate and tea. A girl’s got to have some light moments right?
Also, think about how you might exercise when in lockdown. What might you do to keep your body moving and your blood pumping?
Look out for your neighbours – especially your elderly neighbours – what do they need right now to be prepared? With England setting the trend on asking people over 70 to self-quarantine it’s likely other countries will follow. Who in your community could use a hand right now?
2. Get prepared financially
Getting prepared financially is vital to keeping calm. Understand your leave arrangements with your employer, do a stocktake of your income and bills due. Arrange for your bills to be sent electronically.
Also, check on family members and their needs. I’m now going to have to use snail mail to have my Dad in aged care sign some paperwork for the sale of his car.
3. Get prepared to work from home
Working from home looks like the new normal – fortunately its something I’ve been doing for years. Key here is to have the equipment you need – chargers, laptops and maybe a larger screen, software and passwords. You’ll also need to set up working arrangements with your team.
For more information on how to work from home in coronavirus lockdown read my 8 step guide here.
4. Get the kids prepared
How to look after the kids during lockdown is no small feat. To get prepared for lockdown with the kids now is the time to think about what they need to continue their schooling?
Also what you can do to keep them entertained that doesn’t involve a screen? We don’t know how long a coronavirus lockdown will be so it’s best to be prepared with a wide range of things to do. Things like board games, cards, art and craft supplies and ingredients for cooking tasty treats will definitely come in handy.
2. Focus on things you are grateful for during lockdown
So we’ve done our preparation and now we’re in lockdown – due to either your personal choice, the need to self-isolate/self-quarantine or the government has enforced a coronavirus lockdown in your area.
Given that fear can make us sick, the key here is to keep our vibe as high as possible when in self-isolation or lockdown.
Part of keeping our vibe high is gratitude – so the best thing we can do in lockdown or self-isolation is to focus on things we are grateful for.
This is not some platitude from a Hallmark card. Scientific research shows sustained gratitude will improve your health. Maintaining a strong immune system IS something we need to focus on right now. Summer Allen PhD from Berkeley in her Science of Gratitude White paper states: “gratitude may be associated with many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction.”
The fact is fear, panic, overwhelm, anxiety and anger cannot live in an environment of gratitude. Even a few minutes of gratitude every day will help you feel better and uplifted.
Even if you take a moment, breathe in and think of a couple of things you are grateful for – you’ll find it will help you shift your perspective and quiet the noise in your head.
Here I’m talking about simple things like being grateful for the air you’re breathing, a sunny day and the glass of water available to you. This little break from what’s going on in the outside world is sure to help you feel a little better.
3. Establish a supportive routine early
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from years of working from home it is the power and value of a work from home routine. It is definitely not productive to stay in your PJs all day.
Establishing a clear routine for your day is vital. The first person to start with is you. Create some “you” time before the rest of the house wakes up. A clear transition from the end of your day into your evening is also vital.
For me, in the morning that means meditation, yoga, journaling and walking our dog Lucy and then another Lucy walk at the end of the day.
Once you’re clear on what will keep your vibe high work out a routine for your family and for you if you’re working from home. For school-aged kids this will mean helping them continue with their studies and if you have little ones adapt your weekend routine as much as you can.
Getting into a routine quickly will help everyone keep calm – as they know what to expect – and it will give you pockets of time to get your tasks done.
4. Reduce your exposure to negative media and discussions
Focusing on the negative breeds more negatives. The problem is we can do this unwittingly via exposure to social media, the mainstream media and conversations with friends.
How much are you on social media and what are you looking at?
While you definitely need to understand what’s happening with coronavirus in your community – this is an area to manage if we want to keep our vibe high. There is already a lot of ‘fake news’ circulating. It’s important to refer to government sources and watch official news channels.
Also watch how much you are checking. One study found Millennials check their phone 150 times per day. That is way too much. Checking the news once, or maximum, twice a day is more than enough to get an update on what you need to know.
I’ve also had to watch where my conversations are going – both online and offline. Discussions on coronavirus often make me feel a whole lot worse. While I am the first to say we need to be sensible and prepared – we also need to understand incessant conversations about something we currently have little, to no control over, do not help us.
5. Stay connected
While I’ve said watch the potential for negative discussions it is still vital at times like this to stay connected.
Regularly connecting with loved ones and friends can help us feel calmer and more engaged in life. This is where picking up the phone for a chat – versus a quick text message can make all the difference. But if a text is all you can manage that is great too.
I am so grateful for Facetime, Skype and other online video options where I can see and hear my loved ones. Right now, with my elderly father in lockdown in his aged care facility, this is going to be vital.
6. Eat well, get good sleep and exercise to boost your immune system
Eating healthy, whole, unprocessed food is one of the cornerstones of great health. Granted when we’re in lockdown it might be harder to get fresh food – but a friend in Arizona in the US told me this morning that the coronavirus lockdown in his area still allows people to go to the grocery store.
Smoothies are a great source of immune-boosting nutrition and taste great. I’ve always loved Jen and the team at https://simplegreensmoothies.com/ . They were the ones to convert me to green smoothies. They also explain how to freeze ingredients so that you always have some green goodness to hand.
Food is also for fun – so having some of your family’s favourite snacks on hand would be great. My mother was a baking queen and I always loved the beautiful baked goods she made for us. With a little more time on our hands in this lockdown maybe some time baking with the kids would be fun?
Sleep is vital to feeling great. It’s also vital to a strong immune response … something pretty important right about now. One German study found that sleep allowed the immune system to repair and reboot.
Being in lockdown might feel like the chance for a late-night Netflix binge but that won’t help your sleep or your routine during the day. Studies show we need at least 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night.
Exercising at home is also a must. There are lots of great yoga, pilates and stretching classes on YouTube. My favourite online exercise guru is Bri from The Betty Rocker. I have followed her for years and done some of her online challenges. She has fabulous in-home workouts with no equipment needed. You can check her out here.
7. Do something that inspires you
So if you’re committed to consciously choosing calm and to reduce your coronavirus exposure why not use your spare time to do something that inspires you?
You could start an inspirational project or something creative you might have been putting off for a long time.
What might power you up at this time and help you feel great? What would really light you up from the inside? A friend of mine has started sorting her family’s photographs … she’s got a few so it’s taking her a while. I love painting so I would actually love some extra time with my art.
Is there something you would like to learn to do but haven’t had the time? Or maybe you have an old project that you’ve been saying you’d like to finish forever. This would be the perfect time to take advantage of the downtime and take some action.
And remember the web is amazing for learning. There are so many things we can do and learn online … why not:
- Start a passion project
- Work in your garden
- Learn a language
- Research something you’ve always been curious about like your family heritage?
Once we make a decision to get curious and inspired the options are truly endless.
8. Do a coronavirus lockdown spring clean
This coronavirus lockdown gives us the perfect time to clean out some cupboards and declutter.
Now is the time to channel your inner Marie Kondo and create some new space in your home.
Clearing the house will help you to let go of any stagnant energy and Marie’s Konmari method which asks us to only keep things which ‘spark joy’ is my go-to spring cleaning method.
Clearing your home also is a great way to upcycle and recycle. The saying that one person’s trash is another’s treasure is so true. Any items you gather may be welcomed by your local charity – although you may need to hold them at your home until after this period is over (some charities are not accepting donations at this time).
9. Consciously Choose Calm in Coronavirus Lockdown
In every moment, we have the opportunity to choose fear or peace.
What do you choose right now?
Do you choose to buy into the fear or to accept that you, and all others, are doing everything we can to address this situation?
Quantum physics has proven the observer affects the observed – so focusing on fear will generate more fear … it’s a slippery slope. On the flip side feeling more peaceful can create more peace – and the space for new ideas and potential solutions to come forth.
When I‘m feeling overwhelmed I turn to mindfulness and meditation. I find a quick time out with meditation is the best way to calm is to choose a new perspective.
If you’d like to choose some calm in these uncertain times I’d love you to check out my Choose Calm Meditation on YouTube. It is a very short meditation designed to help you get centred and grounded and to send love out to everyone who needs it at this time.
When we are feeling calm we can start to look at the stories we tell ourselves about what is going on. I explain more about understanding the power of the stories we tell ourselves here.
If you’d like to get the Choose Calm Meditation plus my full 5 Step Guide to Raising Your Vibe in Times of Uncertainty you can get it here.
Take Good Care
To learn more about the power of meditation – especially during a coronavirus lockdown – read my article here.
I understand these times are unprecedented and constantly changing. Knowing what to do in coronavirus lockdown will hopefully reduce your stress and help you navigate what is ahead. Wherever you are, take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Remember you always have the choice to choose calm and your perspective.