I know you might feel bored at home now.
Some of us are under lockdown for almost two months.
Every day feels sort of similar and you might even feel dizzy.
You might confuse the days of the week. You might lose your focus. You might be obsessed about the external world.
During these times, it helps to think about your new daily routines and design your days in ways that will energize you.
How can you adapt and create positive new routines to improve your well-being at home?
For example, can you set times for a daily home workout, cleaning, reading, writing, Netflix, or cooking?
This article is a continuation of a couple of earlier articles I have written on keeping calm, creative, and productive at home. The links are below if you want to take a look:
How to Keep Calm and Be Creative When the World is Upside Down
We are living through unprecedented and hard times.
How will you cultivate productive and creative habits at home?
Reflective questions, exercises, ideas
Five ridiculously easy and practical creativity secrets you can apply at home
“Creativity is a million tiny acts of daily practice that, with strategy and discipline, can add up to stunning…
Here is an awesome exercise to strengthen your creative muscles at home: The Matrix Challenge
Creativity is just connecting things together
In this article, I will build on the earlier articles (links above) and provide you some more tips and exercises to help you feel better at home.
Here are some ideas to go forward:
1.Stay connected with beloved ones — friends or family members. Give them a phone call, share your feelings, and ask them about how they feel. FaceTime your parents and siblings — it works great if you can do a conference at the same time. It is a great time to catch up with friends you have not seen or spoken to for a long time. They are also probably finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.
We are scheduling online coffee sessions or lunches with our friends or other families that we love, for example. It works beautifully. It is as if we are guests in each other’s houses. These days, we need social solidarity and physical distance (as many have suggested, this is a better re-framing than social distancing).
2. Get moving. Take a 20-minute walk in your neighborhood. Run the stairs up and down. Do 10 push-ups.
A great option for you could be to follow PE with Joe and do the exercises together as a family:
Make sure you do exercise every day, even if for a short amount of time. Find a way to get an adrenaline rush. Do some stupid dances if you like. Or do yoga. Find something that gets your blood pumping and heart racing. Moving will help you get out of your anxiety. Small shocks to your body will do wonders (such as showering with cold water).
You can perhaps take a hike in nature. Fresh air, sunshine, trees, and rivers are good for our nervous systems. Can you sit in your garden or balcony for 15–20 minutes? Can you look at the sky and the stars at night? Can you open a window or door for fresh air? Can you look out from your window? Can you look at the patterns of clouds or rain droplets? Place a comfy chair by the window, make some tea/coffee, relax, and look closer.
3. Find time for relaxation and mindfulness.
Be kind to yourself. It is OK if you cannot focus on work. Forgive yourself. Create areas of comfort inside your house. You might use candles, blankets, pillows, and music to create more warmth in your living room. Experiment with scents and your senses. You might wear a blindfold or earplugs to think differently. Alternatively, try to listen to music that you love. Watch some old movies. Some binge-watching or computer gaming is absolutely OK. Or you can sit still in the dark, enjoy quiet around you, and reflect.
Perhaps what you need is a tasty milkshake or a hot chocolate. Along with that, perhaps you want to read a fiction book or a comic book. Some dark chocolate? Try to do things that you love.
Focus on the present moment. Meditate — bring your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander. Notice your surroundings. Notice sensations, sights, smells and sounds around you. Listen to your breaths: Be grateful for each breath you give and take.
An excellent practice you can easily do is this Philosophical Meditation exercise proposed by School of Life.
They ask you to focus on and respond to these 3 questions:
What am I currently anxious about?
Who am I upset with and why?
What recently made me excited, envious, or desiring?
Get out of the autopilot. Observe your thoughts and see them as mental events. Think about your thinking. Name your thoughts and feelings. Write yourself a letter. Share your reflections in a notebook.
Keep a healthy distance from all media. Keep your news and social media intake limited. Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to coverage of the outbreak — do not get sucked into the fear and the drama. Try to talk about things other than the pandemic.
4. Generate at least 50 ideas every day. Make every day a festival for creativity and idea generation. Here is an exercise for you:
Think of 50 different ways you can use an A4 paper.
You can cut it, write/doodle/draw on it, transform it, fold it, turn it into origami structures or sculptures — the sky is the limit!
Think of all the different uses or functions that are possible.
Think of how you can increase or maximize the value of that paper.
Perhaps you can come up with a new model, an equation, a business idea, a product idea, a sketch, an artwork, a short essay, a story, a comic, a concept map etc.
Do not worry about whether your ideas are stupid or not.
Your goal is to keep creating until you have 50 ideas (or more!).
Here is a bonus idea on folding paper and exponential growth — folding 40 times gets us to the moon and back.
5. Build connections between things that are not related. Use free association to keep generating new ideas.
Here is an exercise for you. You will create as many ideas as you can by combining a pencil and sleep.
Here is another exercise for fusing ideas:
Try to write a short story using words “cat”, “pencil”, “avocado”, “sing”, “zip”.
It will take you about 5 minutes, but the activity is very rewarding, as you will try to create connections among these words.
If you liked the practice, here is another exercise:
Go to page 99 in 3 different books and choose 7 random words on those pages. You will then create a story that tells the connections among them.
Another method is to create analogies between unrelated words.
Try to find similarities between two things that are different on the surface.
Mammals & stars
Shoes & coffee
You can also build conceptual bridges among them.
Whenever you are struck with a flash of genius, get it in writing.
Write down everything that comes into your mind. Capture your notes into a notebook. Capture your stream of consciousness. Try to write and record your reflections every day.
Try to combine your small ideas with other ideas. Cross-pollinate your ideas to form bigger ideas. Take action on your ideas and turn them into prototypes or projects.
Imagine that you have 1000 ideas in yourself. You have this amazing treasure chest in you. Unleash these ideas, cross-pollinate them with others, develop them further, and share them with the world.
I hope you enjoy practicing these ideas at home.