The country is edging toward a scene from the movie 28 Days Later. The streets are dead and the supermarkets are filled with socially-distant shoppers in masks. But for many, our greatest challenge is not the world outside but what's going on inside.
Self-isolation is keeping us irritable and frustrated.
Here at GSHQ we're one step away from shaving our heads and creating our very own Fight Club.
Here are five tips to stave off boredom...
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS
The daily hustle often distracts us from keeping your home immaculate, but now there are no excuses. Now you have the opportunity to keep the place you eat, sleep and wash spotless. What you see around you impacts your mood and irritability levels.
Marie Kondo is a highly successful organizing consultant and the goddess of decluttering. As a general rule for deciding what to throw away and what to keep, Marie, pictured, says you should ask yourself, 'Does it spark joy?' It may sound like something Tinker Bell would say but if those 20 Nintendo Pogs don't, then it’s time to let them go from your life.
Declutter your home and your mind.
It's unlikely you're going to be fluent in Mandarin Chinese by the time this thing blows over, but that doesn't mean you can't learn something new. Given you're going to be spending much of your time indoors, it's crucial your diet doesn't suffer.
Though it may be tempting to just order a takeaway while supermarkets are poorly stocked, in the long run (and it does look like it's going to be a long stint indoors) cooking is infinitely better for your waist and your wallet. YouTube healthy homemade dinner suggestions. Here's a start.
This one is going to be a separate blog by itself but it's still relevant. Exercise is a must to deal with the lows of boredom and to help ease the fog of idleness. Unfortunately with gyms and classes a no-go we're left to creating our own workout session. Aside from the obvious of sex or a thorough self-service, you need something short but effective to purge that excess adrenaline.
Jumping rope is exceptionally good at this as demonstrated by boxer Amir Khan. It's low impact, requires minimal space and offers a full-body workout. Skipping at a moderate pace is about the same as running an eight-minute mile. The only major difference is it's much easier to run than it is skipping so get practising.
During meditation, brain scans see more activity in areas of the brain directly correlated with decreased anxiety and depression along with an increase in pain tolerance. Meditation increases levels of alpha waves which reduce feelings of negative moods, tension, sadness and anger.
Studies have shown that after eight weeks of a meditation programme grey matter was denser in areas associated with learning, memory processing and emotional regulation. Jon Hamm knows it and now you do too.
DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Remember, pretty much the entire world is in a similar situation: total lockdown, restricted movement or self-isolation. With social media influencers casting doubt on our ability and productivity every second of our lives, you may feel you're losing your edge and being too harsh on yourself. What's important to remember is that it's out of your control. Remaining relaxed and positive is key to your well being. Be more like Jeff Bridges's character in The Big Lebowski.
If one evening it all gets too much, there's no shame in dialling a helpline to unload stress or anxiety. The Samaritans have a free helpline for those needing support on 116 123. Further information is available at www.samaritans.org
(Main image: Steve McQueen in the 1973 movie Papillon.)