Many take their daily life for granted. We work, take care of family and home, we train and take care of ourselves, meet friends and pursue various hobbies. This usually happens routinely and without us thinking about it so much. Only when the daily routine does not work, we are reminded of it.
As a McS in Occupational Tehreapy and Reg OT, as well a Professor in Innovation in Open Online Learning and expert in open online and flexible learning (OOFAT) I want to share some advises in Corona / Covid19 times.
Everyday work and balnce in life is always the focus for occupational therapists. We support people who encounter obstacles in their everyday life due to disability, illness, crises or for other reasons. We help people to cope with their everyday life.
The next few weeks, perhaps the months, will put an extraordinary amount of strain on our daily lives. We will all have to change our daily routines. We will have to do many of our daily activities in new ways, and there is a danger that our activity balance will be compromised. In order for us to continue to feel good and for our daily lives to function to such an extent, we need to think a little more about what we do and how we behave in our daily lives.
So here are some tips on how we can all organize our everyday life in these corona times:
Keep the activity balance.
When we spend more time than usual in our homes, it is particularly important to maintain a balance between the various activities of daily life - work and leisure, home and family. Research shows that a balanced activity balance is a prerequisite for perceived health. Plan the day with your family. Feel free to draw up a weekly plan in which you clarify when, with whom and where the various activities should be carried out.
Maintain the possible routines and create new ones.
Maintain your usual times for ascent, meals and bedtime. For both adults and children, set routines provide security and help us feel comfortable. Show younger children how to prevent infections by practicing washing their hands before each meal. Invent new, fun ways to greet each other that do not involve care. This creates a sense of participation. Make it a routine to keep in touch with parents, elderly relatives and friends through the phone and social media. Have dinner together via social media. Remember to keep in touch with work colleagues as well. Our work colleagues are often an important part of our daily social contacts.
Make a room at home for work and school activities.
Whenever possible - create good environmental conditions for working at home. Beneficiaries can redefine a room or area of the house as a workplace. Try to adapt the workplace so that it complies with the ergonomic principles of a good working environment. Help the children to find a structure in the school work to be done. Use this opportunity to develop your digital skills and learn new digital ways to meet each other at work. Learn from children and young people who often have better digital skills than we adults.
Be physically active.
Even if you can no longer walk or cycle to work or school, or participate in your regular gym workout, you should still be physically active in your everyday life. If you are normally physically active, you will quickly become restless and irritable when your daily routine becomes too passive. Make the most of nature. Take walks and exercise in the outdoor gym. Why not take the opportunity to relive all the games you played as a child and teach your children.
Do something every day that is fun and makes sense.
The serious situation we find ourselves in also brings with it many concerns. It is therefore important that we do something that we enjoy and that makes sense to us every day. Let everyone in the family decide what is fun and makes sense for them. This varies from person to person, and it's not certain that the same activities will be the same now as they normally are. Put the idea of limited screen time on the shelf right now. Use the potential that lies in digital activities. Learn new digital games, share movie favorites and podcasts. On the Internet, museums share digital visits and musicians stream their concerts. Search shelves and cabinets for unread books or read about the books they like best. Dedicate yourself to drawing, painting, handicrafts, or crafting. With the creative activities the river comes and we forget time and space.
Do something for others.
We must remind ourselves and especially the children that most of them will not be seriously ill. We are in the process of changing our daily lives in solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our society, those most at risk of infection. Many will be isolated and alone in the near future. Think about how you can reduce loneliness and exclusion and include these kinds of activities in your weekly schedule. Who should I call? Who in my area needs help with shopping? Don't forget those in your area who work in health care, school, nursing and other community service functions, and who are currently working particularly hard and hard to make our society work.
There will come a time when this will undermine our patience. Hang in there, it will get better.
(inspired by Ida Kåhlin, förbundsordförande, Sveriges Arbetsterapeuter and my Nordic colleagues in Occupational Theraoy, Tina Nør Langager and Nils Erik Ness, ordföranden i det danska respektive norska arbetsterapeutförbundet.