In the midst of the pandemic, it’s hard to avoid having to spend all day at home for quarantine. Even though you are lucky enough to avoid COVID, people who live with you might not be the case. Since the last year Taiwanese government raised the pandemic alert to level 3, we all ended up spending more time at home, working, teaching, attending classes, than we ever did.
I personally found it a good opportunity to slow down, review my progress, find out what’s working and what’s not, improve my system and build good habits.
So here are 5 tips that I learned and applied during my 10 days strict quarantine at home and saw incredible benefits not only in my physical health, but also mental state and productivity in learning & working.
1. Stretch every day
When we spend too much time in the same posture our muscles get tight, causing the antagonist muscles to become weak. Weak muscle is often the root of pain and is almost inevitable to be compensated for in daily movements, which makes the already tight muscle even tighter.
I stretch my neck and hamstrings every day in the morning because the neck is where I tend to get those knots and hamstring flexibility is just something I’m always working on for the sport I do.
You can step on your yoga mat and decide which will be your stretching routine of the day according to how you feel. Or simply set up a flexibility routine according to your goal.
2. Drink a lot of water
You should already be drinking a lot of water regardless of your physical condition. If you are sick, you need even more water to supply the war that your immune system put up against the virus.
If that’s the case, chances are you’re taking some sort of medication to recover. Water is indispensable to metabolize the pills you take.
But the grace of water does not end here, study showed that a 5% decrease in hydration can correlate to a 20% decrease in energy, which means that being dehydrated can actually feel like being hungry. So next time when you’re craving something sweet after dinner, grab a glass of water first! Then you’ll find out you probably won’t need that sugary snack anymore which can kick you out of your diet.
3. Avoid screen-tech 2 hours before sleep
I cannot stress this enough. It’s a simple fix for almost half of the sleep-related problems.
I wrote another article about how sleep works, and how light can be the enemy to our sleep.
But in a nutshell, 6 million years of human evolution has decided our circadian rhythm to be based on the sunlight. Not until lighting bulb was invented less than 150 years ago and the blue light (LED) less than 50 years ago, did we ever had those short-waved, high-frequency lights entering our eyes right before we sleep. It confuses our timing system in a way that we may not notice, but our sleep quality goes to crap and the next day we wake up feeling tired and far from being recharged.
4. Prepare the agenda for the next day
If you are worrying about what to do before bedtime given the last hack, this is what you can do: set up your to-do list for the next day. It doesn’t have to be time specific (although that would be better), what we are looking for here is some major tasks that take time and energy.
Here are my examples:
- Practicing my pronunciation
- Film my next video
- Prepare my tutoring material for this weekend
- Finish 1 chapter of the book I’m currently reading
Adding time to your schedule allows you to manage your day more wisely:
- Morning stretching
- 8:00-8:30 Pronunciation drill
- 8:30-9:30 Video filming
- 9:30-10:00 Tutor material
- 18:00-21:00 Workout + dinner
- 21:30 -22:30 Reading
Stretching, work and training are something I do every day, I don’t really need to see them on my schedule to remember them, however, they give me a sense of how I can arrange the rest of my time for other things.
This is a habit that can change your life. Once you have your schedule ready for the next day, all you got to do tomorrow is to wake up and follow the plan.
Trust me, it makes all the difference. Without the urge to make those time-sensitive decisions from the moment we wake up, we could potentially save more energy and thus concentrate more on the tasks itself.
5. Write down 3 things you are grateful for today
It’s another thing you can do before bed that won’t hurt your eyes. Gratitude has an amazing impact on our brain. Nowadays, we habitually occupy ourselves by negative thoughts and we miss the beauty around us, we are simply too busy to care.
They don’t need to be something big. A nice cup of coffee in the morning, a call from your old friend to check in with you, or the joy you felt at the moment when you completed your evening workout. By writing them down, we relive in those moments and learn to appreciate it. It helps decrease our stress level, anxiety, relieve depression, and adopt positive attitude. To take it one step further, write it in the languages you are learning and try to include the vocabulary you’ve learned during the day. You’ll be amazed by how well you can remember those words on the next day and the improvements on your writing skills.