Quarantine life isn’t easy. Even seeing friends or going outside can put you at risk of getting sick or getting your loved ones sick. Under these isolating conditions, it’s easy to start to feel unmotivated, lonely, and gloomy about the future. The team at Humu has been working from home for almost five months now. As a summer intern, that means my entire internship has been remote. Even though everyone has been kind and welcoming, it is much harder to meet and get to know people over Zoom than it would be in person.Because of the pandemic, many people (myself included) have been looking for new strategies and activities to keep themselves happy and healthy. At Humu, we know that small actions can have a big impact on how we feel—and on how we make others feel. I decided to talk to eight members of the Humu team to hear what they’re doing to invest in their well-being during quarantine. Here are some of their top tips.
1. Create space to be creative
I’ll start off with my own method of coping. I’m in high school and living in my parent’s house. When I need to relax, I like to draw. Most of the time, I just sketch with pencil and paper, though sometimes I’ll use markers or watercolors. I’ll pop in some earbuds, listen to some music, and draw. It's nice to just focus on the illustration and create a character or a scene. I enjoy coming up with a personality and a backstory for my characters while I sketch them.
2. Put non-work time on your calendar
Sara, a member of our sales team who lives with her husband and her dog, has found that quarantine is especially hard when you’re an extrovert. One bright spot of her new routine is that she’s gotten to spend more time with her husband. Sara has also struggled with striking a healthy work-life balance, as it’s now much easier for her to forget to stop working. Sara has started to be more deliberate about planning her day, and now schedules specific times to exercise and go for a walk outside with her husband (science shows even short periods outdoors can lead to big mood boosts!) to make sure she’s not burning herself out.
3. Take a reading break
Kevin, an engineer and parent of two, told me that having kids during quarantine, especially young ones, can be hard. Normally, his children would be out with friends or at school, but now they’re often home all day and require more attention than before. To de-stress and let go of his expectations for himself, Kevin curls up with a good book. Melting into the world of a book helps him escape the pressures of everyday quarantine life and makes it easier for him to stay happy and healthy in the midst of this crisis.
4. Make time for lunch time
Like Sara, Miriam, a software engineer who helps build the Nudge Engine, has found it hard to stop working because there’s no longer a hard shift between her job and home. In order to keep herself from burning out, she takes regular lunch breaks where she sits outside in her garden and eats. Often she’ll listen to a podcast or read a book as well, to make sure she doesn’t just keep working all the time.
5. Listen to music
Tim, an engineering intern at Humu, has always loved music. He’s living in a house with one other roommate for his senior year at college. At the beginning of quarantine, Tim swapped music for podcasts, but lately he’s been getting back into music. He’s even written his own music! Making and listening to music is a great way to take your mind off of the stress of the world.
6. Invest in gratitude
Jen Brown, a Sales Scientist (someone who helps to bridge the gap between the sales team and the people science team), lives at home with her husband, dog and their one-and-a-half year old child. Especially in the first few months of quarantine, it was hard to care for a child who was just old enough to move around but not old enough to entertain herself. But as a scientist, Jen knows that gratitude helps us better cope with uncertainty and be resilient in the face of change. Through everything that’s happened, Jen has made sure to be grateful for all that she still has, and grateful to spend so much time with her daughter. This positive outlook helped her get through the first few months of quarantine and remain a happy person.
7. Pick up a restorative new habit (like gardening!)
Though Liz, our Head of Content, had no gardening experience before quarantine, she thought it might be a good activity to do while going through more difficult times. Watering plants each day provides a consistent routine, and it’s rewarding to then see your plants grow over time. Liz simply took the seeds from the food that she was eating already and planted them in pots. Over the past months, she’s been delighted to see how big her plants have become. Below is her squash now!
8. Learn something new, or restart an old hobby
Ricardo, our Head of Finance, has used quarantine as an opportunity to get back into boxing. A while ago, he got an injury which caused him to work out less than he used to, but as we’ve gotten into quarantine, he’s had time to try things that he previously didn’t have time for. Ricardo has been focusing on exercising more often, and started a boxing program that he describes as similar to a peloton, but for boxing. In general, he suggests using this time to invest in things that you were never able to do before. Whether you prefer gardening or reading, scheduling or simply eating lunch outside, I hope that this post provided you with a few ideas for how to take care of yourself during these tough times.