I have always liked the self-sufficient lifestyle and I try to live a life where I am constantly learning, and gaining new skills and knowledge. I would not call myself a prepper, though some of my friends would disagree with me on that one. It has always been a bit of a joke that, if ever things went bad, everyone was going to head to my place where there was solar power, a good water supply, a full pantry, a veggie patch, bulk bins of basic ingredients such as flour for bread making, enough craft supplies to last an age and an extensive library full of how-to books and, of course, the classics.
So here I am on my 12-acre hobby farm and no one came with me. Why? The virus. We are all supposed to stay at home. No gatherings, no visitors, and for many people, no work. I am lucky, and for the most part, I can work from home. All of my public speaking events have been cancelled, but I am getting stuck right into my third book and doing what I usually do, living a self-sufficient life.
But I also understand that isolation can be difficult and if you do not have a plan or something to do, then this time can be wasted instead of used to your advantage. So here are my five top recommendations on how to cope with this isolation if you are at home and wondering what do I do now.
Set yourself up with a schedule
I know, I know, you don’t have to go to work. Maybe you were already at home but could get out and about whenever you wanted to and now you are in self-isolation. Maybe you don’t have work to go to anymore because your work has had to shut down. Or, maybe you are working from home now, doing the best you can in these trying times.
Whatever your situation is, you need to keep some sense of structure in your day-to-day life or things can go very pear-shaped, fast. You do not want to end up on the couch in your pyjamas, binging on Netflix for the coming weeks or months. Get up at a set time every day and have a plan. I get up at 5.00 am every day and the first hour belongs to just me. I do not turn on my computer, or touch my phone or iPad to check my emails, or messages till I have had that one hour all to myself. I use that hour for a 30-minute meditation cycle and then a 30-minute yoga routine. This sets me up for a great day and to work out what I am going to get done that day. Maybe I’ll work in the garden in the morning. Then as it warms up, go inside and clean, cook, organize or work from home. Set up your whole day. Time to get up, have breakfast, to garden, work, clean, read, craft, and study. Whatever it is you want to accomplish, it will get done better if you have a schedule.
Make sure you eat three meals a day
It is so easy to start skipping meals when you are at home all day. It is also easy to start snacking and eating on no particular schedule. Both can be harmful to your health. Not bothering to eat three, nutritious meals a day can damage your immune system and that is the last thing you need right now. On the other hand, snacking and eating between meals can start stacking on the weight and be equally detrimental to your health.
Set yourself up with a meal plan that you can stick with. I make my own yoghurt and have this with fruit in the morning. Lunch is usually homemade sourdough and a bowl of homemade curry, soup or vegetable stew. Dinner is a lighter affair, usually some homemade cheese, fruit and a glass of wine. But no matter what it is you decide to eat, make sure you have three meals a day, don’t go crazy on the snacking just because you have easy access to the fridge, and start thinking homemade. It’s cheaper and better for you than ordering in.
Do some physical activity every day
So while you are stuck at home, don’t forget to keep active. Physical activity helps keep you healthy, and keeps your immune system strong and it’s also very important for mental health. You might have a home gym or a piece of equipment you purchased long ago with good intentions that you never used. Time to get it out and get using it. If you don’t have anything that you could use, no problem. You really don’t need anything to start yoga and it is great for you. There are plenty of free workouts to follow online. Is yoga, not your thing? There are also plenty of exercise routines available online from the beginner, all the way up to more challenging sessions. Put this on your schedule every day and stick with it.
Mediation in stressful times
If there was just one thing I could tell people to help them live better lives would be to meditate on a daily basis. It is the secret of the most successful people and its power can not be underestimated. We do all kinds of things to look after our bodies, but what about our mind? I do this every morning and it sets me up for a great day, every day. I am often asked how I get so much done, running businesses, consulting, speaking and writing, as well as all my passions like cooking, gardening and crafts. The answer is meditation. When I meditate in the morning, it fills me with the mental strength to take on anything and in this stressful time that we are all going through, it makes more sense than ever for this to be a priority in my life.
Make progress every day
This will mean different things to different people, but the need to progress is universal. We feel great when we achieve. Work out what it is you want to accomplish and plan your days accordingly. You might be a student that has been moved onto all online courses. You might be working from home. Or, you might be in the process of turning your home into a productive environment that can support you in this time of uncertainty. Whatever it is, make each day make a difference.
My typical day
To give you an idea of how this works, I am going to share with you a typical day in my life, up at my hobby farm during this time of not going out. This might be far from what you want, but I hope that this is of some assistance in you setting up your days for the weeks and months to come.
- 5:00 am: Meditation
- 5:30 am: Yoga
- 6:00 am: Shower, dress and ready for the day
- 6:30 am: Breakfast and a quiet morning cup of tea
- 7:00 am: Out into the garden (weeding, mowing, planting, wiper snipping, whatever needs to be done.) If it is raining I stay in and do crafts (soap making, sewing, knitting, cooking etc.)
- 9:00 am: Cup of tea
- 9:15 am: Sit down at the computer to start work (blogging, bookkeeping, emails). I have a couple of different businesses, so there is always plenty to do.
- 12:00 noon: Lunch
- 12:30 pm. Working on my book. (This could be researching, writing or creating a new recipe in my kitchen)
- 3:30 pm: Cup of tea and a short break
- 4:00 pm. Back out into the garden. This is when I harvest, pick flowers or just play with the horses who follow me everywhere because I usually have an apple in my pocket. More craft is if is raining.
- 6:00 pm: Dinner. This is when I usually cook up a big pot of something that will last a few days. I freeze food for later and take it with me when I travel. Dinner is usually something light with a glass of wine.
- 7:00 pm: Reading. I have an extensive library and should probably buy shares in the Book Depository. Reading for self-improvement is a must for me.
- 10:00 pm. Bed
You will note that I do not watch TV. I don’t even have one. They are the biggest time thieves there is. I do not want to get to the end of my life and have to admit that I wasted four to five hours a day watching TV. TV is not part of a self-sufficient, productive life. Statistically speaking the more hours of TV you watch, the lower your income. Successful people read and do productive things with their time.
When I suggest to someone that they should read a particular book, or make their own yoghurt or bread, do an online course or start a small home-based business for extra income, I often get the response that they just do not have the time. Yet, these same people are sitting in front of the TV from 6:00 pm to 10:00 or 11:00 pm every day. The problem is not that we do not have the time, it is that we do not have the will.
I hope that this has resonated with someone out there. Keep safe and live well.