Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer With Notebooks

My Tips for Staying Positive and Productive in Self Isolation

When COVID-19 first broke out, I among many others took it lightly. I had lived through other outbreaks such as H1N1 and Ebola, I thought this may have been sensationalized by our current media. I was wrong.

As I lay in bed for the majority of my day, I worry I’ll fall into some sort of depression or become unmotivated to do anything. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case and I have a lot to thank for that. 

First of all, the universe is making sure everyone gets the memo to self-isolate; believe me, I got my memo the other week. I have never been a beachy gal. In fact, my mother recounts memories of when I was a toddler and would cry profusely if I came anywhere NEAR beach sand. Right before everything went on major lockdown, I decided to go read on the beach. Reading books I’m thoroughly engaged in keeps me extremely motivated. After finding parking and a six-foot distance from anyone else at the beach, I laid down my towel and lathered up SPF 50 all over my body. Finally, time to read with some peace and quiet! Except I was stung by a bee. I pulled the stinger out, limped over to the lifeguards who gave me a bandage and hot pack, then drove back home. It was so easy for me to get frustrated and feel like my day was ruined just from a stupid bee sting. But it was something so minor when there is something so major happening right now. It was a sign that I needed to stay home and practice social distancing which meant I needed to get productive and stay positive.

I’ve become quite an avid planner since the Simpsons Movie dome was placed over my house. I think my mom is really Maggie Simpson because she somehow manages to leave the dome to take walks in the morning. In this technological era, everything is handed to us. Our schedules, our assignments (especially now that the entire world has moved to remote learning) among other things. Writing everything I need to do out on paper or in my daily planner has made me more motivated to tend to all of the tasks and goals I need to accomplish. My roommate once gave me a tip that if you go into an exam telling yourself, “I am going to succeed” you’ll be more likely to follow through with that goal. Of course, I don’t have a statistic to back up that claim, but there is something about seeing or hearing that goal that makes the outcome materialize because you made it materialize.  

Within the last couple of years, I’ve watched the news religiously. Every day at 6:30 pm, I’m tuning into ABC News with David Muir to hear the latest. While I love being informed and encourage others to do so, there are times the news can be a sensory overload. You find news on your television, computer, phone and whatever other devices can display news. I think the question you should ask yourself is “Do I really want to let news take over my life?” I’ve found it helpful to disable notifications for any news app I have after nine until I get up and moving in the morning.

As someone who spent all of last summer at home or at work, I realized I took my surroundings for granted. I have only left my house two times in the last couple of weeks and it can be frustrating to not go to Starbucks or see a friend or two. While I love my family, even when I hear them bright and early eating cereal like a child with no developed motor skills or speaking loudly on conference calls, (in this house and our house in New York, my bedroom has been next to my mother’s office… how did I get so lucky?) other interactions are necessary, even if they are one-way interactions. Miley Cyrus started an Instagram Live talk show called Bright Minded and watching it makes me feel like she’s talking directly to me. Seeing the positive energy she radiates even when things don’t go quite as she planned, is proof that errors here and there are not the ends of the world. I’ve also spent nights FaceTiming friends, something I honestly didn’t do often prior to isolation. While it’s great to hang out with people in real life, that just isn’t feasible right now. We have to get creative and improvise the essentials we need to stay positive and productive through this crazy time. As I’m writing this, my father is in the process of creating a trivia night with some friends over Zoom, a regular event prior to the coronavirus outbreak. While things may be difficult from time to time, I think you’ll see a surge in creativity and innovation through this self-isolation and once the world opens back up, we will have new ideas to share and let flourish.

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