Working Remotely During Quarantine: How Not to Lose Your Sanity and Restore Faith in Humanity

Working Remotely During Quarantine: How Not to Lose Your Sanity and Restore Faith in Humanity
Irina Valyanova
April 6, 2020
Last updated: May 8, 2020
The current situation in the world has put us under a lot of stress - suddenly, not everything is as clear and predictable as it used to be. “How long is it gonna last?”, “Am I gonna catch this virus thing too?”, “Will I be able to keep my job in this turmoil?” - these are the questions we’re sure a lot of people are asking themselves now. Perhaps, too often.

A major factor contributing to this neverending buildup of anxiety is the fact that many workers all around the world have been sent to work from home by their companies. In some territories where the virus has hit particularly hard, people were simply told to stay home in an act that’s quite aptly named “self-isolation.”

So now, here you are - working from home, self-isolated and probably clueless about what’s going to happen next. Well, that we can’t help you with - we’re no fortune-tellers and can’t look into the future. However, we do have a few practical tips for you not to lose your mind here in the present and stay focused on what’s really important.

The way we structured it is in the form of common negative thoughts people might have these days. We’ll explain why it is totally fine for these thoughts to run through your head and teach you how to deal with them on an adult level.

Negative Thought #1. I’m Stuck Inside


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Well, that’s one way to look at it. But don’t underestimate the power of our mind’s perception - there is no objective reality, it’s only what we make of it.

Think about this: you’ve finally got your break from the neverending home-work-home routine, which opens up plenty of possibilities for you - here are just a few, off the top of our head:

  • You actually have more time now!

Despite the fact that you may still have to work, you don’t have to commute every day - now, for those living in big cities that amounts to at least 2 extra hours a day. You just got 2 extra hours a day! Use them for whatever you want - sleep longer, watch more movies, spend more time with your family/partner. How is this a bad thing?

  • Improve your home!

Now that you get to spend more hours at home, maybe it’s about time you started a new home improvement project or finished the ongoing one? Hardware stores are more than open and handle online orders alright.

Rearrange your furniture, do some remodeling in your living room, paint your garage, get rid of the stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of but never quite got around to - there’s plenty of things to keep you busy at home during this quarantine.

  • Try something new!

Since the “going out” thing is… well, out - what you can do is try some indoor activities. There’s this thing called the Internet and believe it or not, they got lots of good of stuff on there besides free pictures of kittens.

Sign up for some online classes (many of them are available for free now), start doing yoga or stretching exercises based on video tutorials, learn a foreign language with an app, or simply read an interesting book on your tablet.

See? And that’s just us scratching the surface. If you put your mind to it, you will easily find plenty of stuff to do while you temporarily have to stay home. Even if you’re too lazy to do any of it at all, there are TV shows galore on streaming services enough to keep you busy till the next apocalypse hits.

Negative Thought #2. We’re All Gonna Die Because of the Virus

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Well, yeah, someday. Unless you’re Connor McLeod of the Clan McLeod - but that’s not the point. Think about this - it’s not the first-ever virus outbreak to hit the planet and certainly not the worst.

Unlike people dying from plague, smallpox, and tuberculosis in the not-so-distant times, we’ve got modern science and knowledge on our side. Like many others before it, this current outbreak will be overcome too - all it takes is time, patience, and hard work.

And if that does not sound all that reassuring to you, here’s a psychology 101 trick. Let’s say there’s a problem that gets you worried - here are two possible states you can be in:

  • You can do something about the problem => if that’s the case, then do it and stop worrying (E.g., you lost a job. Can you find a new one? Yes, you can - then go ahead and start looking)

  • You can’t do anything about the problem => if that’s the case, this problem is not worth your attention and you should simply forget about it (E.g., it’s raining outside and you hate the rain. There’s nothing in this world that will make you like the rain so take it easy, relax, and wait for the rain to end)

Now, back to this coronavirus thing - can you stop it from spreading?

If yes, then where have you been all this time??? Please make it stop ASAP, the world needs you.

If no, then just stop worrying about it and start thinking like this: “Can I protect myself and my family from this virus?” YES, YOU CAN. How can you do it? Visit your local health authority website and follow their recommendations. Suddenly, you are in full control of the situation and know exactly what to do.

Negative Thought #3. Judging by the News, This Quarantine Is Never Gonna End

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Back to our previous point - nothing lasts forever (which, unfortunately, refers to the good things in life too). As evident from the example of countries that have been hit by coronavirus first (China and South Korea), the epidemic is more than manageable and can be overcome.

Will it get worse before it gets better? Probably, yes. But then again, it’s up to you and other citizens of your area to help the community fight off the virus threat. Be respectful and responsible, follow the instructions provided by the authorities.

Oh, and one more thing - stop obsessing over that anxiety-inducing coronavirus news coverage. If you’re particularly worry-prone, make a habit of NOT reading the news at all – read a book instead. Focus less on what the media are saying, stick to one credible source (e.g, your local government website) and disregard everything else.

Negative Thought #4. The Economy Is Getting Worse and I’ll Probably Lose My Job

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To be honest with you, there’s a high chance of that happening. However, now you know the magic psychological trick and can start acting proactively.

Afraid that you might be laid off after this corona thing is over? If yes, why not distinguish yourself now while you still have a job? Show your boss you can work harder, better and faster than anyone else.

If things are looking grim already, then why don’t you start looking for a new job right away? While some businesses are reducing their staff, others are hiring - that’s the dual nature of every economic crisis. Certain industries will go down in history while others will emerge victoriously. You just have to be on the lookout for the current job opportunities and not miss yours.

Negative Thought #5. I’m Alone and No One Can Help Me


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Come on, you know it’s not like that. It’s the illusion that you’re getting - probably, from staying home too much and reading too much news.

What happened here is rather easy to explain - you simply lost a bit of daily social interaction you used to have before going on quarantine. Interaction that you probably took for granted. All those cooler talks, kitchen discussions, and random chitchat helped you a lot to get through the day and now that they’re gone, it hits you really hard.

However, this one can be easily cured - you just have to force your social collisions. Give a call to your old folks, chat with your colleagues, invite a neighbor for dinner - anything else that will remind you that you’re still a part of the society. Get creative if you like - have a Skype party with your friends on Friday, play some online games, or express yourself through social media.

Finally, if you keep feeling depressed and anxious for a long period without any change, it can’t hurt to contact a psychotherapist online and schedule a talk. Getting your problems and worries off your chest can help a lot and will keep you strong.
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