Find Yourself in an Emotional Rut While Staying Home? Here’s How to Avoid It

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Living in the NYC area has plenty of advantages, but right now, proximity is not one of them. The massive COVID-19 spread in the region has affected us significantly. In Hoboken + Jersey City, we’ve been under stay-at-home orders since March 21st, when New Jersey Governor Murphy signed the order as the virus rapidly spread through the Tristate Area area. To date, Hudson County has seen over 17,000COVID-19 cases and, while New Jersey is starting to show signs of reopening, it’s clear we have a bit of a way to go.

In the meantime, sitting in the same square footage at home day after day can get monotonous. While isolation requirements might have felt like a change of pace at first, after a prolonged time, the repetition can easily push you into a rut, especially while working from home. And a rut is a dangerous position to be in because it can lead to stagnation or even depression. To avoid falling into one, Molly Barnes {the mastermind behind Digital Nomad Life} is sharing a few ways to avoid that inevitable rut:

Change Up Your Routine

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A rut can be difficult to pull out of because, in part, it saps your energy to make a change. But taking just a few small, proactive steps daily can do wonders for keeping yourself inspired. Try changing up your routine with these strategies to shake things up.

  • Work flex hours if your job permits. Try an early or late shift once or twice a week to see if you can dispel some monotony during the workweek.
  • Ask to work on or initiate a new project. Tackling new challenges has a way of enlivening your brain, which can have a similar effect on your emotions and overall outlook.
  • Spend time working or enjoying free time outdoors, even if it’s just sitting on the patio or balcony with your laptop. Even better if you can get your feet into some grass!
  • Start an exercise regimen, whether indoors or outdoors. Aim to add a few new stretches, yoga postures, reps, or other forms of exercise on a routine basis.

You don’t have to make any large strides to switch up your days just a bit. Even baby steps can make a huge difference in keeping your motivation levels up.

Learn a New Skill

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If you’re one of the thousands of New Jerseyans who have filed for unemployment since this health crisis began, it’s undoubtedly been a very difficult ordeal, even without getting sick. One thing you can do until you get back to work is to spend this time investing in yourself. This will help pass the time, lift your spirits, and give you a good boost of confidence knowing that you’ll be better equipped when you get back to work. And even if you’re still working, learning new skills can still spark your brain activity and help you escape monotony. Try any of these strategies:

  • – Take one or more free online courses. Augmenting your skills and knowledge is never a bad idea.
  • – Obtain a new professional certification in your field. You might even be able to translate that into a raise or promotion once things get back to {kind of} normal.
  • – Follow some YouTube tutorials to learn a useful or fun skill, even if it doesn’t change your professional standing. 
  • – Learn something totally different, like playing chess or hula-hooping.

Gaining skills and knowledge can go a long way toward helping you avoid a rut. Plus, think of all the shiny new credentials you could add to your resumé.

See More: Calling All Musicians: Virtual Music Lessons to Take Online ASAP

Focus on Relationships

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Feeling lonely can push you straight into a rut, even if you’d never thought of yourself as a social person before. Isolation is hard, whether or not you’re living with other people. Now is a great time to put effort into making new relationships and strengthening existing ones. Consider doing any of the following:

  • – Schedule online conferences with your colleagues.
  • – Hop on Zoom or Skype with family and friends. {Try playing a game – Trivial Pursuit is fun if someone in your circle owns the game.}
  • – Spend time on LinkedIn updating your profile and making new professional connections.
  • – Start or join professional and/or personal conversations on social media.
  • – If you own a business or are involved with the marketing of a company you work for, reach out to your customers. Maybe even send them a useful promotional gift to let them know you appreciate them. They’ll likely appreciate your kindness, in return.

Making connections can help you feel happier and, ultimately, healthier. Additionally, once things begin to normalize, it’ll be that much easier to reconnect with people if you’ve been actively reaching out all along.

Read More: Feeling Lonely? 7 Ways to Prioritize Human Connection While Social Distancing

Clean Up Your Home Life

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Being under the current stay-at-home order offers a good chance to up your game. Since you’re looking at the same four walls all the time, anyway, why not get into some DIY renovations. You can clear out that closet clutter that’s been bugging you, give your kitchen a shiny new coat of paint, or even launder all your curtains and shampoo your carpets. 

Home improvement work goes hand-in-hand with changing up your routine, while it also gives you a specific goal to work toward. And when you’re done, you’ll not only have that great feeling of success that comes from the completion of a project; you’ll also have an improved space to enjoy for the remainder of your time at home {and beyond}.

Take Charge of Your Finances

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This pandemic is having economic effects that are shaping up to look just as dire as the medical emergency itself. So don’t wait to get your finances in order — start now, and feel better sooner. Even if you can’t solve all your money problems, it’s important to know what you’re up against and what needs to be done about it. The more financial situations you face and understand, the less you’ll struggle through each day. Start with these steps:

  • – Set aside a small stash of cash to use for emergencies.
  • – Start thinking of ways you can build your savings account and larger emergency fund.
  • – Check your credit score and make sure it’s in good standing. {If not, start working now to build that all-important credit, knowing that you might need some borrowing capacity down the road.}

One thing we’ve learned from the current health crisis is that we should always expect the unexpected, and learn the steps for readiness. Having your finances in order is a big part of this.

The reality is that across the U.S., some states are showing signs of reopening. Hopefully, life will resume again soon, and you’ll have new challenges to keep you out of a rut. Until then, try some of these tips so you can take good care of yourself and stay safe.  

What are some of your tips for avoiding the rut? Let us know in the comments!

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