The world has changed irrevocably since the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Almost overnight, at the end of March in 2020, theaters, retail stores, and everything save a few essential businesses closed down. Enough workers were laid off (either temporarily via furlough or more permanently) that around 49 million Americans filed brand new unemployment claims from March to June, and those that returned to work found that everything had changed in their absence. In addition to many pandemic safety measures being implemented, such as not allowing customers to eat indoors at restaurants and strict social distancing measures amongst employees, many employees were shifted to remote work overnight. In May of 2020, one-third of employed workers were working from home, a massive increase in remote workers from pre-pandemic times.
Stuck at Home? You Aren’t Alone
All of that illustrates a point: Americans were forced inside long-term, usually in homes or apartments that were not configured for an extended quarantine period. Many of us had adapted pre-pandemic to spending most of our time outside of our homes, for better or for worse, getting our entertainment in places like movie theaters and malls and working our jobs in cubicles 40 minutes away.
As a result, many Americans found themselves struggling with this extended quarantine period. Some developed entirely new struggles with their mental health, while others found themselves suffering through an extended adjustment period, where nothing they did was quite enough to satisfy them and keep them productive at work.
Solutions for the Modern Era
Still, it doesn’t seem as though these conditions are going to change anytime soon: even as things start to reopen, variants like Omicron make it more dangerous than ever to go out. If you’re struggling with any of the above, be assured that it’s normal: we’re all living through a time of intense trauma, and you shouldn’t be expected to accept that peacefully. Still, there are things you can do to better adapt your home environment to this time, making it possible for you to keep your sanity intact while the world continues to change around you.
Interested in hearing how? Read on.
Optimize Your Office For Remote Work
When the pandemic forced us into a remote work environment, many of us struggled to implement a patchwork solution, thinking that we weren’t going to be in that environment for long before things returned to normal. The truth has shown itself to be radically different, and in order to stay productive, we must now strive to create a space for ourselves where we can be productive, one that has been properly adapted to a remote work situation.
As such, consider installing or adding the below elements to your current office space. Feel free to experiment with different solutions, as different elements will serve the needs of workers better or worse depending on personal preference.
- A standing desk can be a great investment for any office, as it helps mitigate the health issues that come from being sedentary for 8 hours a day.
- Tech equipment for Zoom meetings, such as a high-definition webcam, a quality microphone, and a green-screen background for those who are more self-conscious.
- Storage solutions that would typically be found in a traditional office, such as file cabinets and organizers.
For the latter, it’s crucial that you find a file cabinet that sits at the intersection of bulk and storage space, finding one that perfectly fits your office. That may require you to browse top sellers for a while, but you will find the one that works for you eventually.
Bring the Outside World Inside
Are you missing the theaters? Do you want to go out, but you’re worried that you’ll catch Omicron and spread it to the rest of your family? A little creativity may be required, but you can bring some of those experiences you used to have pre-pandemic into the home, making it possible to construct your own quarantine-safe entertainment getaway.
For example, if you’re missing the theaters, try investing in a projector, a cheap film screen, and a quality sound system (with really only the last element requiring a serious investment). You can bring the movies home, replicating the experience of the theaters as closely as possible, for maximum fun for the whole family.
Get Some Quality Time Outside
What contributes to negative mental health during the pandemic (more than anything else, arguably) is staying cooped up inside, depriving yourself of sunlight and causing a kind of seasonal depression to make itself manifest. As such, you may want to take up a hobby outdoors, such as basketball or gardening, that will allow you to get outside and spend your time productively.
Activities like creating your own oasis outdoors or even playing some kind of outdoor sport have been shown to improve the mental health of those who engage in them: even more so during a pandemic which has trapped most of us inside with few entertainment options. Replace the hobbies you can’t engage in, hobbies that require communal interaction indoors, with ones you can.
While the pandemic will be with us for years to come, there are measures we can take to make the experience easier on us. Try out the above solutions, and experiment with ones all your own: you might just find this whole situation just a little more tolerable than before.