Quarantine life: Put your mask on first before assisting others

April 27, 2020 11:00

For most of us, we’ve entered the second month of some sort of isolation and it feels, well, isolating. With nearly all our social interactions on pause and routines severely disrupted, we’re all likely experiencing a broad, quickly changing range of emotions.
Now’s a good time to remember the instructions flight attendants provide in case of an emergency: Put your own mask on first, and then assist others. Business aside, the most important thing during this time is to take care of your personal well-being. So, what exactly should you be doing during this time and who’s qualified to help you make a plan?
At the end of the day, your COVID-19 isolation time should be what works best for you and your family. Sure, check out the list of rooms to clean, of black and white movies to watch, the latest series to binge, but don’t take any of that too seriously. Trying to set too lofty goals (or goals based on other’s expectations) in this time of chaos simply isn’t productive. Instead, focus on broad, productive and growth-based ideas.
DO set out to learn a new skill.
It’s amazing how much time you have that isn’t spent commuting, running around for errands or just out and about. Put some of that time to good use and learn a new skill that can help you grow in your professional or personal life. Find a leadership course, learn a new language or set off to build on your journalism knowledge (RTDNA.org is a great place to start)!
Do make lists of what you’ve learned, but don’t try to implement everything all at once.
DON’T forget to check on your people.
Nothing about what’s happening right now is normal. Even if some of us have been able to continue parts and pieces of our daily routine, there’s an added sense of fear and worry – or just simple unease – that makes everything different. Don’t just assume that coworkers, staff, family or friends are fine because they haven’t spoken up. Talk often, ask (directly works best) how they’re dealing with everything and make yourself available and approachable.
DO go outside if you’re able.
Getting outside the walls of your home can do wonders for your mental health and overall well-being. Soaking up some of the sunshine and that Vitamin D allows your body to start the circuitous process with your liver and kidneys that eventually creates the biologically active form of the disease-fighting, immune-boosting vitamin. Studies support the notion that exercising in nature has added benefits, particularly for mental health, concentration and happiness. Pull double duty with your outside time and try listening to an audiobook (think learning a new skill!) while you walk or work out.
DO help others in any way that you can.
If you’re able to continue working and aren’t dealing with a loss of income in your own family, take a few minutes to think about all the products and services you pay for on a regular basis that aren’t able to operate during this time. Are you able to continue supporting those people in some way? Whether it’s continuing to pay independent cleaning personnel or sending funds digitally to your hair stylist or personal trainer, helping small businesses and those who operate independently will help to ensure they’re able to bounce back post-virus.
Remember, your work as a journalist helps people in your community every day, too. You are a lifeline to the world right now. When you share stories of hope and help, you’re uniting your community behind ways to give back and help each other.
DON’T forget to use tech to connect.
Technology isn’t just for work. Social distancing has led to lightning fast innovation when it comes to creating connections with others. Families are hosting shared meals via Zoom, playing games through apps like Houseparty and gaming apps, watching movies “together” through new browser extensions and checking out museums around the world with connected VR. See what’s out there, try something new and dive in.
And yes, all those video meetings and chats are exhausting, so it’s totally okay to disconnect from time to time too, especially when so much of your workday is on air or on screen.
DO remember to give yourself a little grace.
This – the social distancing, the loss of friends or family, the isolation, the new way of living – is something none of us know how to do. We’re all simply doing the very best that we can. You’re not going to get through this time having achieved all your projects or goals, and things aren’t going to end up perfectly on every effort. Some days you may be feeling bored and in need of an outlet, while others you feel overwhelmed and need a break.
In the end, give yourself (and others) enough grace to survive each day, week and month. Keeping ourselves and our families safe is the ultimate goal. Everything else is just a bonus. So, settle in, wash your hands and know that we’re all in this together.