Updated on March 16, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
America is celebrating the worst anniversary ever. It has been just over a year since the Covid-19 coronavirus arrived. And with it changes to normal life, at every level. From employment to entertainment, how we shop, work, eat and socialize.
For some families, the pandemic resulted in the loss of a loved one. As of February 11, 2021, we’ve lost over 475,000 Americans to the Novel Covid-19 coronavirus. The health threat of the Covid-19 virus means social distancing to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
But in terms of coping with a quarantine, we may be at record-breaking duration levels. What we all believed at first was going to be a few weeks has stretched far beyond our imaginations. For people who are lucky enough to work from home, life may seem a little bit like the “Groundhog Day” movie. Actor Bill Murray plays a character that has to live the same day over and over again.
There are more than a few laughs in “Groundhog Day,” including Murray’s frustration at having to repeat the same activities, the same way, with no deviation. And understandably, after a few repeats, he starts to lose it.
Social distancing and isolating during the pandemic feel a lot like the movie. It can start to wear on you after a while. Physicians are reporting higher than average rates of depression and anxiety. There are a few easy ways you can change up your daily routine and beat the Covid-19 “Groundhog Day” syndrome.
1. Fake Your Daily Commute to Work
Working from home feels like a great privilege, especially right now. And it’s something to be really grateful for. Some professionals have been working 100% from home for over a year now. And if you are used to remote work, it’s not that big of a deal. But if you have always worked in an office, it has been a big adjustment.
Your morning routine may have been a rush out the door, a quick stop to Starbucks, and then to the office. Now, your morning commute may look more like a trip to the bathroom, then to the coffee maker, and to your desk. Possibly still in your pajamas.
Unless you have a few Zoom meetings scheduled that day, in which case, you will dress better, do your hair, and get ready to smile into the camera. No one can tell you are in your yoga pants and slippers below the desk line. Just remember not to stand up during the meeting.
It is hard to transition from relaxing at home to work mode if you do not have a routine. Since you aren’t traveling to an office every morning, psychologically, you are missing an important start to your day. Getting ready and dressed and heading out the door.
You can fake your commute to work. Shower, get dressed and put on your running shoes. Head out the door and walk around the block. It sounds weird, right? But taking back that routine can help you break the monotony.
2. Change Your Home-Office Set-up
Same day. Same desk. Same work? We feel you. Even though your job may not have changed, there is a big difference between working at home and being in the office. For example, you don’t get those cool conversations around the coffee station. You don’t get to have lunch with your work buddies.
Changing up your environment can help you break the blahs of working in the same unchanging space every day. Even the smallest change can make you feel better, like moving your desk to another room if you don’t get a lot of natural light during the day. Being able to look out a bright window is an instant mood booster.
Add some plants (you can’t kill) to your home office. Order a couple of new prints or posters from Amazon to give your space some flair. Consider ordering some new lighting for your desk area. It can also help you feel more alert and happy.
3. Try Some New Recipes or a Meal Box Subscription
Most of us have a limited repertoire of meals that we make for ourselves. If you live alone, the chances are that list of recipes is even smaller. After all, you don’t have someone saying, “we’re eating this again?” Like any other activity, we can all fall into a rut when cooking at home. Especially during Covid-19.
Meal box subscriptions were almost made for life during a pandemic. First, the food arrives at your door in a weekly box. Inside are recipe cards that are so easy to follow. And all the ingredients are portioned out for you. So, there is no rushing to the grocery store to get some strange spice that you’ve never heard of.
One of the really cool things about meal box subscriptions is the originality of the recipes. Before you try one, go to the website and review the kind of recipes that they offer. The recipes change every week, but you can browse past weekly menus as well. Look for menus that have healthy proteins and vegetables. And watch out for super cheap meal plans that may focus heavily on soggy pasta style dishes. Yuck.
Meal subscription menus keep changing, and when you make your dinners, you’re going to be learning a whole new recipe. We know, it sounds basic, right? But it is a small thing that can save you money and add something new and exciting to your day, to break out of your meal rut.
4. Upgrade Your ‘Covid Social’ With Some New Video Tech
Ask your friends or family members what they miss most? They are likely to share that interaction with people. In the same room. Not on Facebook Portal or Skype. How weird does it feel to send your Mom a Zoom link?
While social distancing, we are all feeling… socially distanced. Going to someone’s house or inviting your friends over is probably not the best idea right now. At least until we all “get our shots.” But that doesn’t mean you should withdraw from socializing. And that means something more than a phone call or texting.
There are a lot of different upgrades to personal assistant devices available now. For example, we mentioned Facebook Portal. This is why video is so great for more than our work lives. Portal looks like a digital frame. It’s cheap and easy to set up so that your family and friends can visit.
You may have to teach your mom and dad how to use it, but with voice activation, it’s easy to figure out. And before you start worrying whether your mom can creep on your private time, there is privacy or ‘do not disturb’ settings built-in.
Amazon has its own Alexa enabled devices with screens in different sizes. The earlier models that are compact start at under $60. Larger screens go up to about $250. And Google Home has some really cool looking options that are affordable too. But both participants in the video calls with Google have to have Duo accounts.
5. Switch Up Your Smoke Sessions During Covid
Last year, cannabis sales in legalized markets across the United States went through the roof. Anyone surprised? People who lost their jobs were now spending more time at home. Some parents left the workforce because of home-schooling and child care needs. And others moved in with family members to save money and weather the rising unemployment rates.
The only consolation when you consider all the new pandemic stressors? We are all in this together. Not one person has been immune to the lifestyle changes caused by the Covid-19 virus. The combination of overwhelming media coverage (everywhere you look) and isolation from family and friends has been grueling.
Enter happy and energetic Sativa strains! If you have always been a friend of the heavier Indica varieties, consider trying a couple of new Sativa’s for stress relief. Many strains can help you hit an emotional ‘high note’ in terms of your mood. And the best strains for daytime use won’t leave you feeling impaired but creative, productive, and relaxed. For longer psychoactive effects, try an edible if they are available in your area.
Ask your local licensed dispensary for suggestions. We promise they will have a list of strains with specific Covid stress-busting attributes because you aren’t the only one exploring how cannabis can help during these challenging times. A different strain (or two) can make a big difference.