Health – How to Cope With Quarantine Physically and Mentally

Health – How to Cope With Quarantine Physically and Mentally

Health – How to Cope With Quarantine Physically and Mentally

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Our health should always come first. But especially in times like these, it is important that we support our body and mind equally to function as they should.

Not for nothing did the ancient Romans say Mens sana in corpore sano est. Because body and mind form a unity and to really stay healthy, both have to be taken care of equally.

But while we have been educated in body hygiene from childhood on, the hygiene of our mind is different. So, today, I have put together a few tips for you to keep both healthy.

But first of all, I would like to point out that I am not a doctor, physiotherapist or psychologist. This blog post is based on my personal experiences with my own body, which I would like to share here. If you have physical or psychological problems, you should definitely see a doctor and not treat yourself with my tips.

Körperliche Gesundheit

In diesem Abschnitt geht es um die körperliche Gesundheit. Was können wir tun, um unseren Körper zu unterstützen. Denn Gesundheit ist alles andere als selbstverständlich. Es gibt viele Dinge, die wir tun können, um gesund zu bleiben.

Getränke

Es ist kein Geheimnis, dass unser Körper zu einem Großteil aus Wasser besteht. Um genau zu sein, reden wir von ganzen 80 Prozent! Das muss man sich mal vor Augen führen.

Es ist also kein Wunder, dass Wasser sozusagen unser Lebenselixier ist.

Ich selbst erwische mich vor allem bei der Arbeit im Home Office immer wieder dabei, wie ich nicht genügend trinke, weil ich so in die Arbeit vertieft bin. Dabei ist es gerade bei der Arbeit wichtig, hydriert zu bleiben, damit Körper und vor allem Gehirn genug Energie haben, um das zu leisten, was wir von ihnen erwarten.

Prinzipiell ist Flüssigkeit generell gut. Aber am besten ist es, wenn du wirklich Wasser trinkst. Falls du – so wie ich auch – nicht so viel Wasser trinkst, sondern lieber was mit Geschmack trinken möchtest, habe ich einen Tipp: Das Zauberwort lautet Fruit Infused Water!

Fruit Infused Water bringt dir gleich zweierlei Vorteile:

  1. Es schmeckt richtig gut und du trinkst automatisch mehr Wasser
  2. Früchte enthalten ja bekanntlich auch Vitamine und Mineralstoffe, die sie wiederum an das Wasser abgeben

Du hast richtig gelesen! Das Wasser enthält dann die Vitamine und Mineralstoffe der Früchte, sodass du sie beim Trinken einfach aufnimmst. Ich bin ja eigentlich Übersetzerin und habe dazu mal ein Buch übersetzt: Fruit Infused Water – 98 gesunde Rezepte für leckeres Wasser mit Früchten und Kräutern*.

Bei der Übersetzung habe ich gelernt, dass zwar Smoothies und Säfte auch gesund sind, aber mehr Kalorien haben, sodass du von dem Wasser mit Geschmack mehr trinken kannst.

 

Außerdem spülst du beim Trinken auch etwaige Bakterien und Viren in deinen Magen, wo sie von der Magensäure getötet werden. Also: Ran an die Wasserflasche, fertig, los!

 

Ernährung

Mittlerweile gibt es zahlreiche Ernährungskonzepte und jeder, der sich für eines davon entscheidet, glaubt für sich die gesündeste Ernährung gefunden zu haben. Und das mag auch so sein. Denn jeder Mensch ist anders! Das hängt zum Beispiel mit Lebensmittelallergien, Unverträglichkeiten oder ethischen/religiösen Grundsätzen zusammen. Außerdem sieht die Energie- und Nährstoffaufnahme bei jedem ein wenig anders aus.

Jedoch gibt es die Ernährungsrichtlinien der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ernährung (DGE). Diese Orientierungswerte helfen, wenn du dich vollwertig auf Basis aktueller wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse ernähren möchtest.

Zentrales Thema ist hierbei, dass du dich ausgewogen und vielfältig ernährst. Zu einseitig ist nicht gut und gibt deinem Körper nicht alles, was er braucht. Dies sind die 10 Regeln der DGE, die dir als Hilfe dienen:

  1. Vielfältig essen
  2. Viel Getreide und Kartoffeln
  3. Fünf Portionen Obst und Gemüse pro Tag
  4. Milch (-produkte) täglich
  5. Fisch ein- bis zweimal wöchentlich,
  6. Fleisch, Wurst und Eier in Maßen
  7. Wenig Fett
  8. Zucker und Salz in Maßen
  9. Reichlich Flüssigkeit
  10. Essen schonend zubereiten

Ich weiß, es kann verlockend sein, während der Quarantäne eine Tiefkühlpizza in den Ofen zu schmeißen und damit dann die Netflix-Serie einfach weiter zu gucken. Aber bitte, bitte versuch deinen inneren Schweinehund zu überwinden und dich gesund zu ernähren. Das ist jetzt wichtiger denn je, da dein Körper ein starkes Immunsystem benötigt, um im Krankheitsfall gegen Bakterien und Viren ankämpfen zu können.

Ich selbst setze übrigens nicht alle Tipps der DGE um: ich fürchte, ich esse nicht genug Obst, nicht täglich Milchprodukte, nicht unbedingt jede Woche Fisch und weder Fleisch noch Wurst.

 

Nahrungsergänzungsmittel

Klar, die nötigen Vitamine und Mineralstoffe durch Nahrungsmittel und Wasser aufzunehmen, ist das Nonplusultra. Dennoch ist es sinnvoll, sich Gedanken zu machen, welche Nahrungsergänzungsmittel, wie der Name sagt, ergänzend zu einer ausgewogenen Ernährung den Körper unterstützen können.

Wenn ich in Deutschland bin, nehme ich zum Beispiel ganz gerne Vitamin D-Tabletten, da ich hier viel weniger an der Sonne bin, als wenn ich in Südostasien unterwegs bin.

Ansonsten nehme ich noch folgendes:

  • Zink: Ebenfalls versuche ich mein Immunsystem mit Zink zu unterstützen.
  • Magnesium: Hin und wieder nehme ich Magnesium, das meine Muskeln unterstützt, wenn ich – wie jetzt in Zeiten des Social Distancing – viel Sport mache. Am liebsten nehme ich die Sticks, die ein Pulver bzw eine Brause enthalten, die im Mund aufschäumt. Brausetabletten mag ich persönlich gar nicht, sodass ich grundsätzlich andere Varianten wähle.
  • Kurkuma: Kurkuma hat unter anderem entzündungshemmende Wirkung. Da ich leider häufig an Sehnenscheiden- sowie Blasenentzündungen leide, nehme ich Kurkuma in Form von sogenannter Goldener Milch, um meinem Körper zu helfen, sich selbst zu heilen. Goldene Milch ist ein Pulver aus Kurkuma, Zimt, Schwarzer Pfeffer, Ingwer. Weitere Effekte von Kurkuma sind: Verdauungsförderung, Vorbeugung gegen Krebs und Alzheimer.

 

Sport

Um fit und gesund zu bleiben, ist es zudem unerlässlich, sich zumindest gelegentlich körperlich zu betätigen. Das kann ein Spaziergang sein oder eine Runde Zirkeltraining im Wohnzimmer. Die Hauptsache ist, dass du Sport treibst. Und zwar mindestens drei- bis viermal pro Woche für jeweils mindestens 30 Minuten.

Gründe, warum Sport gesund hält sind:

  • Das Immunsystem wird gestärkt. Grund dafür ist die Ausschüttung von Adrenalin, das die Abwehrzellen zu einer schnelleren Vermehrung bringt. So bildet der Körper automatisch mehr natürliche Killerzellen, weiße Blutkörperchen, T- und B-Lymphozyten. Dies geschieht zwar nur während des Trainings, allerdings trainierst du dann quasi gleichzeitig auch dein Immunsystem, das dann im Krankheitsfall schneller reagiert. Wenn du regelmäßig Sport machst, senkst du das Risiko generell krank zu werden und kannst sogar schweren Erkrankungen wie Krebs entgegenwirken.
  • Das Herz-Kreislauf-System wird fit gehalten, da dir Herzmuskulatur durch Ausdauertraining gekräftigt wird. Je stärker die Muskulatur, desto seltener muss das Herz schlagen. So wird dein Herz geschont und besser durchblutet. Außerdem werden dabei die Blutgefäße elastisch und der Widerstand in den Gefäßen verringert sich. So sinkt das Risiko für Bluthochdruck.
  • Sport wirkt sich positiv auf den Cholesterinspiegel aus, wodurch Arteriosklerose vorgebeugt werden kann. Daraus wiederum können Folgeerkrankungen wie Schlaganfall oder Herzinfarkt resultieren.
  • und einer Vielzahl von Krankheiten vorbeugen kann

Diese Infos waren mir übrigens im Detail bisher nicht bekannt. Ich habe sie mir auf Gesundheit.de und Netdoktor.at angelesen. Auf jeden Fall hat es mich überzeugt, mein tägliches Training mit der App SEVEN weiter durchzuziehen. Und du?

 

Waschen

Und auch wenn dieser Punkt einen Shitstorm auslösen könnte, kann ich nicht anders, als meine Meinung hierzu zu schreiben: Liebe Leute, natürlich ist waschen wichtig. Und gerade in Zeiten von Corona solltest du vermehrt die Hände waschen. Aber wichtig sind in meinen Augen zwei Dinge:

  1. Achtsamkeit (Achtung, das ist eine andere Art von Achtsamkeit, als die, die ich im folgenden beschreiben werde): Du musst dir nicht wahllos ständig die Hände waschen oder desinfizieren. Sei dir darüber im Klaren, wo du bist und was du berührst und wasche dir dann entsprechend die Hände. Außerdem solltest du dir auch klarmachen, wann du dir wie ins Gesicht greifst. Aber ganz ehrlich? Das war schon vor Corona so! Ich werde nie vergessen, wie ich mit rund sechs Jahren mal ein paar Ziegen gefüttert habe und mir danach nicht die Hände gewaschen habe. Ich war eine Woche krank. Aber so richtig. Und weißt du was? Ich habe daraus gelernt! Aber nicht, dass ich mir bei jeder Gelegenheit, die sich mir bietet, die Hände wasche…
  2. Wir unterstützen unseren Körper nicht, wenn wir ständig das zunichte machen, was er versucht für uns aufzubauen: Nämlich eine natürliche Fettschicht, die unsere Haut benötigt. Außerdem bin ich mit dem Satz ‘Dreck reinigt den Magen’ aufgewachsen und bin der festen Überzeugung, dass das stimmt. Natürlich ist auch das wieder Typsache. Und wenn du grundsätzlich ein geschwächtes Immunsystem und/oder Vorerkrankungen hast, ist es völliger Schwachsinn, wenn du deinen Körper mit noch mehr Bakterien belastest. Ein gesunder Körper jedoch wächst an solchen kleinen Herausforderungen. Es sei denn, es handelt sich dabei um Bakterien von Ziegen, die ein kleines sechsjähriges Mädchen füttern. Aber Scherz bei Seite: Ich denke auch durch solche Rückschläge ist mein Immunsystem am Ende nur gewachsen. Ich bin sehr dankbar, dass es bei mir so gute Arbeit leistet und bin mir sicher, dass es damit zusammenhängt, dass ich eben nicht ständig mit Hand Sanitizer herumlaufe. Auch nicht in Asien oder Lateinamerika.

Gleiches gilt meines Erachtens übrigens auch für Körper und Haare. Man muss nicht zweimal am Tag duschen und auch nicht täglich Haare waschen. Sowohl Haut als auch Haare werden es dir danken und viel gesünder sein, wenn du ihnen zwar die nötige Aufmerksamkeit schenkst, aber eben zu gegebener Zeit.

 

Psychohygiene

„Man kann 100 Jahre ohne Krankheit leben, wenn man nicht eine Sekunde Sorgen hat“

Dieses chinesische Sprichwort ist zwar wahrscheinlich schwer umzusetzen – wer lebt schon ohne Sorgen? – aber das macht es nicht weniger richtig. Auch Sorgen können krank machen. Warum glaubst, sagt man auch im Deutschen sprichwörtlich, dass man “krank vor Sorge” ist. Was in unserem Geist geschieht, hat Auswirkungen auf unseren Körper. Denn wie ich bereits eingangs geschrieben hatte: sie sind eine Einheit.

Wie du dich also um deine seelische Gesundheit – denn das ist mit Psychohygiene gemeint – kümmerst, erfährst du jetzt:

 

Meditation

Grundvoraussetzung für seelische Gesundheit ist innere Balance. Und wie könntest du diese besser herstellen als durch Meditation? Diesem Thema kannst du dich auf unterschiedliche Weise nähern:

  • Geführte Meditation mit Apps: Durch Apps wie zum Beispiel HeadSpace kannst du dich durch die Meditation führen lassen. Dabei wirst du angeleitet, wie du atmen sollst und worauf du deine Gedanken richten sollst. Ich persönlich finde diese Möglichkeit perfekt für den Einstieg!
  • Meditation mit YouTube: Auch auf YouTube findest du zahlreiche Videos zum Meditieren. Entweder mit Anleitung oder rein mit angenehmer Musik, die es dir erleichtern soll, zur Ruhe zu kommen und die Gedanken nach innen zu richten.
  • Mediation mit Freunden über Zoom: Da du ja aktuell nicht die Möglichkeit hast, dich mit anderen zu treffen und dies auch zeitintensiver wäre, kannst du überlegen, ob du Freunde hast, die ebenfalls an Meditation interessiert sind. Dann könnt ihr euch über Zoom treffen und gemeinsam meditieren. So gerät man weniger in Versuchung, sich ablenken zu lassen.

 

Achtsamkeit

Über Achtsamkeit schreibe und rede ich nicht häufig. Denn ich muss gestehen, mir ist das Konzept der Achtsamkeit noch nicht zu 100% klar. Im buddhistischen Kloster Wat Pa Tam Wua, in dem ich letztes Jahr ein paar Tage verbracht habe, war mindfulness das oberste Gebot. Wir sind achtsam essen, achtsam gehen, achtsam aufräumen. Gerade lese ich zudem ein Buch, das von einem buddhistischen Mönch geschrieben wurde: Ärger – Befreiung aus dem Teufelskreis destruktiver Emotionen*. Auch darin geht es viel und häufig um Achtsamkeit, mit der wir unsere Wut und unseren Ärger behandeln und dann umarmen sollen.

Der entscheidende Punkt der Achtsamkeit scheint darin zu liegen, dass du vollkommen im Hier und Jetzt bist. Dass du aufmerksam dich selbst beobachtest, als würdest du dich von außen selbst betrachten: deine Gedanken, aber auch deine Handlungen. Dabei sollst du diese nicht bewerten. Man könnte auch sagen, Achtsamkeit liegt der Meditation zugrunde. Denn auch bei der Meditation – zumindest bei der Samatha-Technik – geht es um Achtsamkeit, meistens um achtsames Atmen.

Durch Achtsamkeitsübungen kannst du dein Wohlbefinden steigern… Und somit deine mentale Gesundheit verbessern!

 

Dankbarkeit

Sorgen und Ängste überdecken sehr häufig all das Positive, das in unserem Leben geschieht. Das können große, aber auch ganz kleine Erfolge sein. Oder schlicht und ergreifend glückliche Situationen, in denen wir uns durch Geburt oder Ereignisse, auf die wir keinen Einfluss haben. Für all dies sollten wir dankbar sein und uns das auch vor Augen führen. Ich mache nun seit über zwei Jahren Dankbarkeitsübungen. Zum einen schreibe ich seit Januar 2018 ein Dankbarkeitstagebuch, in das ich jeden Tag, am besten am Morgen, drei Dinge schreibe, für die ich dankbar bin. Zum anderen mache ich aber auch Visualisierungsübungen, bei denen ich mir Situationen in meinem Leben vor Augen führe, aus denen etwas resultiert ist, für das ich dankbar bin.

Auf diese Weise beginne ich meine Tage mit positiven Gedanken. Und wir wissen ja alle wie das ist: Wenn man mit dem linken Fuß aufgestanden ist, geht das häufig den Rest des Tages genauso weiter. Durch meine Dankbarkeitsübungen stehe ich sprichwörtlich gesehen IMMER mit dem rechten Fuß auf. Das kannst du auch!

 

Priming

Priming ist eine Technik, die ich bei Unleash the Power Within von Tony Robbins gelernt habe. Es ist eine Mischung aus Atemübungen zur Sauerstoffversorgung des Gehirns, Dankbarkeitsübungen und Visualisierungstechniken à la Vision Board. Ich mache Priming mal mehr, mal weniger häufig. Grundsätzlich habe ich aber meistens das Gefühl, dass es mir mehr bringt als gewöhnliche Meditation. Das liegt daran, dass ich ein ziemliches Monkey Mind habe. So wurde das bei meinem Vipassana im Thailand genannt. Also Gedanken, die in alle Richtungen gehen und die ich förmlich bändigen muss. Wenn ich meditieren möchte, beschließt mein Affe grundsätzlich, dass er unbedingt eine wilde Party schmeißen muss, während ich ihn beim Priming durch meine Visualisierungen bei Laune halten kann.

 

Positive Gedanken

Wichtig bei all dem sind unsere Gedanken. Sie haben Einfluss auf unsere Emotionen und unser seelisches Wohlbefinden. Um dich auf die positiven Gedanken zu fokussieren, kannst du zum Beispiel die oben genannten Techniken verwenden. Aber es gibt noch weitere Wege, wie du kleine Brotkrumen der Positivität in deinem Leben verteilen kannst.

Mittlerweile habe ich beispielsweise ein Armband, das ich nur zum Duschen abnehme. Ich kann es wenden und auf der Innenseite steht Believe in Yourself. Am Anfang habe ich es immer wieder mal rumgedreht, heute schaue ich nur auf das Armband und die drei Worte erscheinen förmlich vor meinem inneren Auge. Das durchflutet mich jedes Mal mit neuer Energie.

Außerdem habe ich hier in meinem Zimmer und sogar in der ganzen Wohnung verschiedene Dinge, die mich an schöne Momente in meinem Leben erinnern: Mitbringsel von meinen Reisen, von mir gemachte Fotos gedruckt auf Leinwand, Kleidungsstücke, die ich auf meinen Reisen gekauft habe und die mich an den Ort mental zurückreisen lassen.

Aktuell überlege ich, mir einen kleinen Haustempel einzurichten. Nicht weil ich nun Buddhistin werden möchte, sondern weil mir das ein Stück weit Thailand-Feeling bescheren würde.

 

Bewusst offline sein

Glaub mir, für mich sind das Internet und die sozialen Medien unglaublich wichtig. Sie sind ein Teil meines Lebens, den ich mir kaum wegdenken kann. Immerhin bin ich ja so etwas wie eine Influenzerin (nein, ich habe weder Grippe noch Corona). Dennoch ist für meine psychische Gesundheit essentiell, mir gelegentlich ein bisschen Abstand zu gönnen. Und zwar abseits von Likes und dem teilen-Button, mit dem ich aller Welt zeigen kann, was mich zum Lachen oder Weinen bringt.

Ich kann die Tage, die ich im letzten Jahrzehnt offline war an einer Hand abzählen. Ok, zwei. Aber auch nur, weil ich im Kloster für vier Tage am Stück offline war. Und vor allem die Zeit im Kloster und meine Offlinezeit danach haben mir unheimlich gut getan.

Ein Faktor ist dabei entscheidend, weswegen ich ihn auch im Titel dieses Abschnitts aufgenommen habe: Du solltest dich BEWUSST dazu entscheiden. Von den acht oder neun Tagen, die ich offline war, waren einige weder bewusst noch gewollt. Und da ist bei mir dann im Kopf eine Grenze und ich kann mich kaum mehr beherrschen. Wenn ich mich mental aufs Offlinesein vorbereiten kann, alle offenen Tasks erledigen kann und dann selbst entscheiden kann, wann ich das Internet ausschalte, bin ich total cool damit. Ist aber das Gegenteil der Fall, dreht mein Affe wieder völlig durch.

Daher mein Tipp: Plane bewusst Zeiten ein, in denen du das Internet ausschaltest! Nutze diese Zeit, um rauszugehen, zu lesen, zu meditieren. Was auch immer dir Spaß macht.

 

Bewegung und frische Luft

Wie wichtig Sport ist habe ich ja bereits oben erwähnt. Aber auch für die mentale Gesundheit ist Bewegung von großer Bedeutung. Dafür braucht es keine 200 Kniebeugen oder 100 Liegestütze. Nein, ein Spaziergang an der frischen Luft hilft ungemein und macht den Kopf frei. Denk mal darüber nach, ob du vielleicht beruflich vor einem Problem standest und dir absolut keine Lösung eingefallen ist. Die hast vielleicht Stunden vor dem Computer gesessen und dir hat der Kopf gewaltig geraucht. Aber du wolltest nicht aufgeben, stimmt’s? Ist es dann passiert, dass du am Ende doch raus bist, da es einfach keinen Sinn mehr gemacht hat, nichts tuend dazusitzen? Klar! So etwas habe ich selbst schon oft erlebt und von anderen genauso oft erzählt bekommen. Ich wette, dass dir frische Luft und Bewegung gutgetan hat. Und ich wette auch, dass du spätestens bei der Rückkehr an den Arbeitsplatz ganz plötzlich die Lösung parat hattest. Einfach so, als wäre sie schon die ganze Zeit da gewesen.

 

Mein Fazit

Das war nur ein kleiner Einblick in das Thema Gesundheit und Psychohygiene. Aber es sind alles Dinge, die ich versuche täglich oder zumindest sehr regelmäßig umsetzen. Es gibt noch so wahnsinnig viel mehr dazu, aber ich glaube, für einen ersten Überblick war das good enough. In den nächsten Wochen möchte ich zu einzelnen Themen noch weiterführende Blogposts schreiben.

Also stay tuned und schreib gerne in die Kommentare, was du für deine Gesundheit und Psychohygiene tust!

PS: This post has been sponsored by Trusted Blogs. I’m deeply grateful that they want to support fulltime bloggers affected by the crisis and, therefor, decided to sponsor one post per blogger for a selected group of bloggers. And I am one of them <3 They had no say in the topic are the ideas I’m sharing. This is my own opinion.

PPS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

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Home Office Tips – These Tips Will Make Working From Home Easier

Home Office Tips – These Tips Will Make Working From Home Easier

Home Office Tips – These Tips Will Make Working From Home Easier

As I have never been employed, I have personally never experienced going to the office. Home office has always been my reality – since I started my own business 11 years ago. In my case, I also have had my office in my backpack for the last five and a half years when I travel and then always rebuild it on site. But thanks to specific structures my home office is always similar – no matter where I am. That’s why I would like to share all my tips from over a decade in the home office with you now.

Structure

Giving yourself and your everyday life a certain structure is not only important for you personally, but also to use your working time more productively. The structure helps you to focus and work in a concentrated way.

 

Routines

If you were in the office until recently, you should try to keep the routine you know from there. Get up at the same time as if you had to drive to the office, make coffee, breakfast, do everything the same way you would do it on a normal working day.

If you are already working in the home office, but have not yet gotten into routines: try different things. Think about which routines make you feel most comfortable, make you most productive, or make it easier for you to balance your other tasks (maybe you have children or hobbies that need your attention at certain times) with work.

I admit that this is one of the points I find most difficult. At least when I am travelling. Different time zones, my hobbies or commitments mean that I have to change or adjust my routines all the time. But I feel the positive effects when I can stay in my routine for a while: Then I start the day with morning routine and can then relax and start working.

 

Outfit

Believe it or not, it makes a huge difference whether you sit in front of the computer in your PJs or jogging suit or whether you dress as if you were going to the office. Just give it a try! You will see that you work more efficiently if you are dressed accordingly.

 

Breaks

When I do virtually nothing else but work in the home office – as I do now in the Corona quarantine – it happens very quickly: without actually noticing it the day’s already over. At the moment I’m with my family and that’s good. Because when I’m alone, it’s suddenly midnight and I realize that after 15 hours in front of the computer when my whole body starts hurting. That can’t happen to me here. But regardless of where I am, I also know that this is actually anything but good.

It’s better to take specific breaks and thus stay mentally and physically fit.

 

Closing Time

We as remote workers don’t have closing times. But just like the breaks, the end of the day is also important! Set a time when you want to put the work aside and stick to it. At best, turn off your computer at this time and don’t turn it on again until the next day.

 

To Do List

In order to plan your day accordingly and to keep the structure you have thought about or adopted from the original office routine, it is incredibly helpful to work with to do lists. It is secondary whether you do this via an app like Trello or in the notes on your mobile phone or whether you write them down on paper.

Personally, I like to divide this into two parts: Everything that has to do with customers and includes a bigger picture, I usually have in Trello. The same way I do with long-term goals or projects and other types of lists. Short-term lists such as daily to dos I write either in my notes on my mobile phone – for example, if I’m on the road a lot that day and want to access the information from somewhere else – or on paper. I still like to take handwritten notes and write vocabulary on paper when I’m learning a language like Thai. However, I write normal notes or to do lists almost exclusively on paper when I’m staying with my father. When I am travelling, it doesn’t make sense.

I have heard and this is also how I feel about it that it has a positive influence if you have a phyical list and can cross out completed tasks. The effect on the brain is quite different when I delete an item on a list in my mobile phone when the task is done.

 

Amenities

The facilities in your home office also have a significant impact on your well-being and productivity. Here are a few things that might be worth thinking about:

 

Equipment

For me, by far the most important point of the whole list is this one. For me, my equipment is essential since this is what I usually carry with me when I’m traveling.

First and foremost, of course, is my MacBook. Last year, I invested in a big “upgrade” – now I have a new one with 2 TB of storage. This was important to me personally, because I don’t like to work with external hard drives all the time when I travel. For backups it’s ok, of course, but for my daily work processes it drives me crazy when I have to fiddle around with them.

My second most important “work tool” are my noise-canceling headphones from Bose*. I’ve had them since 2016 and wouldn’t want to miss them anymore. Wherever I am, with these headphones I can bring myself into my “bubble”, where only my work and I exist. In the home office this may be necessary to get away from neighbours, playing children in front of the door or the flatmate who is binge-watching on Netflix.

Equipment Home Office

Very practical is the laptop stand*, with which you can say goodbye to neck pain. With an extra keyboard* and mouse*, you can make sure you don’t have to look down all the time. As an alternative to the laptop stand I have, you can also buy or build a high table. The advantage of the stand is that the laptop can “breathe” on it and does not have to turn on the fan.

 

Software

For the home office, it’s also a good idea to use tools to increase productivity – at least if you work on your own laptop. I use the following:

  • SelfControl: With this tool, I can block Internet pages I have specified for a certain period of time. This way I can avoid being tempted to waste time on Facebook or YouTube during my working hours.
  • AppBlocker: With this app you can even block apps on your mobile phone. Most of the time I simply set my iPhone to Do not disturb while using SelfControl on my MacBook.
  • Trello: The application already mentioned in the to do list section not only lets me create lists of any kind, but is also a simple tool for project management. As an alternative, there is for example Asana, but I personally very much prefer Trello. I use Trello on my mobile phone as well as on my Mac. There I have it integrated into Franz, which I will describe next.
  • Franz: Franz is a tool that allows me to have all my messenger services and more in one place. It means I have fewer tabs open in my browser and all my communication channels are easy to find. Personally, I have Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and Trello enabled, but there are many more services you can connect to. This is ideal for me and if I don’t want to be disturbed, I simply close Franz. Super practical!
  • Zoom: Zoom is something similar to Skype, except that it’s not a chat service, although there is a chat function. You can organize meetings where all participants can see each other. In the free basic version, you can have up to 100 participants. But then the call is limited to 40 minutes. With two participants the length of the call is unlimited.
  • TeamViewer: You can use it to access another computer or let someone else access your computer. This is practical in many situations.
  • Google Drive: I think the cloud service Google Drive is familiar to everyone. It’s great for sharing documents or other files. But beware: the free version is not GDPR compliant, which means it does not comply with data protection laws. For this you need the business version called G Suite, which costs 9 euros per month. As far as I know, there is no free cloud service that is GDPR compliant. Alternatively you can – if available – use an FTP server.
  • Calendly: Since I have been self-employed all my (professional) life, I am not sure if this tool is also useful for remote workers. Calendly is a tool you can use to make appointments. You can specify from when to when on which days you accept appointments and then simply send a link. Whoever has the link can then make appointments at your available time slots. This is ideal for freelancers and also works across time zones.
  • Doodle: Again, I use this very rarely because I don’t have to schedule appointments with several people very often. That’s exactly what this tool is for.

 

Furniture

Your home office furniture is also important. If you want to sit on a chair for at least eight hours, then it should be comfortable, right? A desk that you work at should be practical, don’t you think? My suggestion to you is this: Try out different things if you can. At the office, you don’t have a choice of how or where you work. At home, you do have that choice. Use this for yourself and find out in which position you are most productive and feel most comfortable.

For example, I have found out that I feel best when I can lean my head against a wall because otherwise I get neck pain and headaches. So I try to work in a half sitting, half lying position with my head leaned back. I constantly hear that it is not possible to work like this at all. But for me it works and especially when I write a lot, nothing beats this position. Whether in bed, on the couch, in the hammock or leaning against the wall sitting on a beanbag… Sitting at a table, on the other hand, I can’t work creatively and relaxed at all, I only do my daily tasks like answering emails.

But as I said: That’s me and everybody is different. So find out what is good for you and adapt your home office accordingly.

 

Internet Upgrade

Depending on what you have to do, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your Internet speed. Believe me: I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more nerve-racking than struggling with slow Internet. So take a look at the options you have and think about upgrading. You can downgrade again, if you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t work in your home office anymore after the crisis.

 

Room Arrangement

I hear all the time how important it is to separate the office area from the part of the apartment where you spend your free time or your free evening hours. If you have this opportunity, you should take it. If you have an extra room available for this, that would of course be ideal. But even if you don’t, you can declare the desk an office or even separate part of the dining table. Especially in this time of quarantine it is advantageous to have exactly defined rooms and to stick to them.

 

Plants And Light

Plants and especially light also have a great influence on your well-being and productivity. I myself cannot work well in dark places and always turn on as many lights as possible. Plants also make you feel better. They also improve the indoor climate.

 

Productivity And Focus

Who doesn’t know this: You start scrolling through your Facebook feed a bit here, go to Instagram there, read a bit in online magazines and bam… it’s in the afternoon. And your to dos for the day are far from finished. So here are my tips for more productivity and staying focused:

 

Pomodoro

Pomodoro is a time management technique designed to make you more productive. You set your alarm clock to 25 minutes. During that time, you work without distraction and with focus. When the alarm goes off, you take a five-minute break. It is advisable not to use this break for Facebook and Co. First of all, this quickly tempts you to extend the break (you just want to finish reading that post, watching that video or writing that message quickly, right?). And secondly, you should use the time to get some exercise, clear your head, get some fresh air.And that doesn’t work if you’re wasting the precious minutes on social media. After four circuits of 25 minutes (so basically after two hours) there will be a 15-minute break.

By using this technique you usually work with continuous concentration and keep body and mind fit during the work! Try it out…

 

Go With Your Flow

Depending on the area in which you work, you probably also know creative phases. For example, when I want to write something – whether it’s a blog post, a book or a client project – I need to feel it. It sounds stupid, but I can’t describe it any better. But I think every creative person knows exactly what I’m talking about. And when that happens, I can write and write and write until I’m done. If I don’t have this flow, I don’t actually need to get to work at all or better deal with other things that don’t require creativity.

Therefore my tip at this point: Follow your flow, plan your day according to it (or better re-organize it in case the flow comes spontaneously) and forgive yourself if you don’t get into the flow when you would like to or even have to finish the project. Unfortunately, you cannot force it. And if the deadline is so close that you have to force it: Be kind to yourself! It’s more likely to come if you do something good for yourself, play music that inspires you, or bring yourself back into balance through meditation or sports.

 

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a type of fasting where you are allowed to eat for six (stretchable to eight) hours and do not eat for the remaining 16 to 18 hours of the day. Most people who do Intermittent Fasting – and so do I – “have breakfast” around 12 and eat dinner around 6 or 8 pm. The advantage of what makes this kind of diet a real productivity hack is that the body puts its energy into the stomach while digesting. So if you have breakfast after getting up and want to work afterward, your body is actually busy digesting. The consequence? You will get tired soon and won’t be able to focus anymore. Sure, you can just try to power through and counteract this with coffee, fresh air, and exercises during breaks.

OR you could try to postpone breakfast. Get ready for work and get going. It takes a bit of practice to get through till noon when you eat your first meal. But I can tell you from my own experience: You get so much more work done in the morning by intermittent fasting that the “breakfast”, which is actually lunch, tastes much better. Ideally, you can then take a nap and then work productively for several hours again.

I personally love this, even if it is difficult for me to keep it up when I am in Germany. The reason is that I have a big breakfast with my family here on weekends and I find it incredibly difficult to change my routine. I always have to train myself and slowly increase the big break between the last and then first meal the next day. This works great when I’m travelling alone abroad, but hardly at all when I’m with my family.

 

Power Nap

You’re exhausted? At home, you can do something that is probably hard to do in the office: a power nap! I usually make power naps with an app. I can set whether I want to do a real power nap of up to 20 minutes, a recovery nap of up to 45 minutes or a sleep phase of about 120 minutes. The times are not exact times because the app wakes you up in exactly the right moment: during a whole sleep cycle it wakes you up when you have gone through the whole sleep phase. With recovery nap it wakes you up before you fall into deep sleep or after 45 minutes. And with the power nap it wakes you up before you fall into deep sleep or after 20 minutes. The app uses your movements and sounds to determine which sleep phase you are in and wakes you up in exactly the right moment.

 

Motivation

Staying motivated and focused in the home office is not always easy. Especially when you are in quarantine and virtually unable to go outside. But that shouldn’t be an excuse, because there are many ways to keep it rolling:

 

Meditation

A basic prerequisite for motivation and focus, whether in the home office or elsewhere, is inner balance. You achieve this through meditation, among other things. The easiest way to start with meditation is to download an app and start using it. I started my meditation journey with the app HeadSpace many years ago and still use it from time to time.

If you don’t feel like doing a guided meditation, you can also meditate alone. Concentrating on your own breath is a frequently used tool, which was also suggested to us during my Vipassana in the Buddhist monastery in Thailand. Many people count their breaths to keep their thoughts under control. I had to trick myself, as I still had dozens of thoughts when counting in German or English – monkey mind is what they called it in the monastery. So at some point I started to count in Thai. There I still had to concentrate so much that I don’t think about anything else but my breath and the Thai numbers.

Meditation Home Office

 

Excercise

Excercising is always important and helps to clear the head. I was actually already aware of that. But it became really clear to me with Unleash the Power Within. Tony Robbins says EMOTION IS CREATED BY MOTION on the very first day. Our feelings are strongly influenced when we get our bodies going. This has to do with the release of endorphins, for example. So there are two reasons why you should do sports every day:

  1. You bring yourself into a more positive state of mind by releasing endorphins.
  2. You are empowering yourself and giving your body what it needs.

My advice is therefore that you incorporate daily exercise into your morning routine. Be it with the app SEVEN, with which you can do a circuit training, or simply by doing 20 push-ups, 20 squats and 20 sit-ups every day. No matter what you choose: morning exercise can change your state of mind for the entire day.

As a second tip, I would suggest that in moments when you notice that you are becoming  less focused, you get up for a short time and start moving. In the best case this is a walk or even a run at the fresh air. But if your schedule or the quarantine situation doesn’t allow it, you can also just do some squats next to your workplace. Dancing is also possible. Just turn the music up and do some dance moves, it will wake you up, make you more concentrated and motivate you!

Musis

Music is something very special. It has the power to change your state of mind. With sad music, you become sad, and with happy music, you become happy. Try out which music has what effect on you while working and how this affects your productivity. I like to listen to instrumental music while working. Lyrics distract me and make me sing along. When I write, I mistype more often.

So try to use music in a way that supports you at work. If music distracts you in general, use it only during the breaks to fuel you, to take your mind off things or to clear your head. Singing along loudly during the breaks is also good for you and has a liberating effect.

 

Laughing

This may seem strange at first. But targeted laughing can work wonders. Are you in a bad mood, realizing that you’re stuck? Are you sitting there straining and tensing your facial muscles from thinking so much? Nothing helps more than a good laugh. Give it a try. There is no one there who would look in a strange way or even laugh at you for that. Laugh out loud like you just heard a hilarious joke. It may feel funny at first, but you’ll soon realize that it will make you feel better.

 

Kudos

Okay, some people need a kick in the butt. But most of all, many of us need some kudos here and there. Since you usually don’t have anyone to take care of this in quarantine or in the home office in general, sometimes you have to do it yourself. Say it yourself: “Good job, mate!” And yes, I sometimes talk to myself in the second person. Or if you’ve found the solution to a big problem, it can be a “Kudos to myself!” You have nothing to be ashamed of. Who would frown at you? There’s nobody there!

 

Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is even more important for the quarantine situation than it usually is. So try to keep negative thoughts away from you with a few little exercises:

  • If you have negative thoughts, put them in an imaginary box, one at a time, close it and put it in an imaginary closet. You close that one too. Then you will think of something positive.
  • Write a gratitude journal!
  • Again, smiling and laughing helps!
  • Filter messages! Sure, it’s important to be informed. But news don’t always help to keep you in a good mood. And negative thoughts disturb your work flow and productivity tremendously.

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Bored? Not anymore! Things to Do in Quarantine

Bored? Not anymore! Things to Do in Quarantine

Bored? Not anymore! Things to Do in Quarantine

I must confess: I don’t have words to describe what’s happening. The world is changing right before our eyes and there is nothing we can do about it. In view of the latest developments, I have decided to put my nomadic life on hold and to go through all this together with my family. I have been back in Germany for about a week now.

Departure: unknown.

 

My Tips For The Time in Quarantine

Now, we are asked to stay home. I have to say that this is no problem at all for me personally. I am always so behind with my blog posts, books and other things I want to do that I don’t get bored quickly. And I’m working from my home office almost all the time anyway. Even if the situation were to last for two years, I’d have something to do basically all the time. But since I’m afraid that I’m the exception, here are some ideas on how to keep yourself busy during the quarantine period.

Before we get started, I would like to mention that you can and maybe should do all these things in your daily life as well. Because one thing is clear to me: this difficult time also holds opportunities. The chance to live healthier. The chance to take more care of yourself. The chance to return more to what is really important: friends and family.

Get Fit Again!

Yea, going to the gym or to the pool isn’t possible right now. But you can do a workout at home! Whether with apps, YouTube, online courses or just doing what you like… Now you can really get in shape. And there are no excuses. So grab your mobile phone, turn on the Rocky sound and get in the right mood. Your body may groan at first, but it will thank you on the long run. Because we’re not made for not using it, sitting in the office all day long and in front of the computer and at best walking to the train or the next pizza place to have some fast food. So this is the perfect moment to improve your fitness level. By the way, a friend of mine founded a Facebook group yesterday in which we do sports together every day, share our successes (and failures) and virtually kick each other in the a**. Is that amazing or what?

Go Inside!

Yesterday, I saw a cool post that said: If you can’t go outside, go inside! And I can only agree. We’ve just entered a period of upheaval. So take a moment to reflect on how your life has gone so far and how you want it to go on from now. Is this the moment to change? I don’t know. Only you can know. But in any case, I’m sure one thing will help: Inner peace! And have you ever done sports in the morning, then meditated, took a hot (or cold, depending on your preference) shower afterwards and then had a tasty and healthy breakfast? This is the perfect start in the day! Give it a try! Or do you have something better to do right now?

Finally Read in Peace!

I don’t know about you, but I have so many unread books in my shelf and on my Kindle that I don’t even know where to start. Plus, I love audio books, so the list goes on and on at Audible. I am now firmly resolved to work through these lists. Actually, since I spent a few days in the Buddhist monastery last year, I have been thinking about taking more time for it again. Be it for half an hour before going to bed, after waking up or during an offline weekend – which I actually wanted to do once a month but never managed. Maybe now is exactly the right time. No longer addicted to Instagram and to get as many likes as possible. But addicted to the next good book that stimulates you intellectually and makes you forget tweets, hashtags or wordpress.

Watch Netflix & Chill on the Couch!

Whether it’s films, documentaries or series… Now is the perfect moment for binge-watching! Wrap yourself up on the couch or in bed and let’s go. Netflix or Amazon Prime have a lot to offer for little money. But you don’t want to watch alone? Then I have great news: there is a Chrome extension called Netflix Party. It allows you to connect multiple Netflix accounts and watch with your friends at the same time. Additionally there is a chat, so you can talk about the movie. The add-on costs from €7,99 a month. Of course, it’s not quite the same as sitting next to each other and worrying about the fate of the characters or being happy about their luck together. That is obvious. But in times like these we should be grateful for this opportunity.

Make a Zoom Party!

Have you ever heard of Zoom? It’s kind of like Skype. Only better! You can simply create a link for a Zoom session and share that link. When you click on it, you join the “meeting”. But who says it can only be meetings? Exactly… No one. So get your friends together and have a Zoom Party! It could be anything from a dinner party, having coffee together or maybe a book club. When was the last time you met with friends and had a chat without time pressure? Yesterday I met with travel blogger friends for a Zoom Party and it was so nice that I have no words for it. We were almost 30 people. Normally we meet once a year at the ITB in Berlin – the biggest trade show in tourism industry in the world – but this year it was cancelled due to Corona. The best thing about the meeting was that we ALL talked to each other. Logically, no small groups can form when everyone is in the same chat. So only one person could talk at a time and everyone else listened. Now you might think that this must have ended in chaos. But no! It was just beautiful and everyone was grateful for this opportunity to exchange ideas. Try it out and be surprised!

Note: Zoom is free but only for two people or 40 minutes. If you have three people or more joining in the call is interrupted after 40 minutes. If you want to talk longer you have to upgrade to PRO, which is around 12 euros per month.

 

Learn a language!

I know an insane number of people who download Babbel , keep studying for a few lessons and then give up. Why? No time. That doesn’t make any sense. Well, maybe… But now you have the time. Now is the time to download apps, use YouTube and maybe even get a notebook or flashcards out and finally learn the language you always wanted to learn. Honestly, I could spend half an eternity just on this topic alone. I love languages, which is why I studied three of them (Italian, Spanish and Portuguese). Apart from the fact that I would like to brush up on my Portuguese and French, I have been studying Thai since the end of last year. I am having an incredible amount of fun doing that. I learn through three ‘channels’: I bought an online course (Learn Thai from a White Guy), I have an account at Mondly and I also have a teacher. I meet her once or twice a week when I am in Bangkok. Online I take lessons less often, because I find it nicer in personal contact. But I would like to try to take a Skype lesson with her once a week. My teacher also has an Instagram channel where she regularly shares impressions from Thailand including vocabulary.

Learn an Offline Skill​!

Okay, the title sucks, I admit it. But I wanted to keep it general. Because I want you to go inside yourself and think about what you would like to be able to do, but always pushed aside. Do you have an instrument that’s just getting more and more dusty? Do you want to knit your first sweater yourself? Do you want to paint or do handicrafts? There are no limits to your imagination. But yes, it’s not easy when you’re asked half your life just to focus and give your best in everything. Maybe you just do something now because you enjoy it? For no other reason… Wouldn’t that be great?

Learn an Online Skill!

Learning how to use Photoshop properly has been on my to-do list for years. NOW the moment seems to be right! I bought an online course ages ago and hopefully I will be able to go through it soon. Besides, my father wants to teach me computer programming. Sounds crazy? Maybe it is! But we sit here together, day in, day out, in quarantine. And if there’s one thing I learned from my mother’s death last year, it’s that we should use the time we have together. I’ve said it so many times: Carpe Diem. And yes, I’ve always made an effort to be productive, to seize the day when it comes to work. Another ebook (by the way, yesterday I published my 20th City Guide*!), more blog posts, more content on Instagram. But I never saw Carpe Diem as an invitation to use every day, which could be my last, for social contacts, for my family. And no matter how crazy it is and I think that programming is not really my world: I’m as happy af to spend time with my father and make him proud. Because he has always wanted me to learn programming. And as a final note: If you are considering a WordPress course to start blogging in quarantine, feel free to contact me. I give workshops and courses on this topic and am happy to help.

Cook a Delicious Meal!

On Barbaralicious you can find all kinds of information. But culinary forays are not really my thing. Yeah, I have to eat, too. But I am one of the few people who do not attach so much importance to the fact that every meal is like a culinary treat. This is reflected in the cooking. I almost never cook. If I do I make pasta as a good half-Italian. But just because I don’t like to cook doesn’t mean that you don’t either. So, use the time to get out the kitchen utensils, which may already be dusty, and prepare something delicious.

Tidy Up And Muck Out!

Coincidentally, this is exactly the right time for a thorough spring cleaning. I, too, have already started mucking out, tidying up and cleaning the apartment. Ask yourself what you really need and what is really only catching dust or keeping space in the shelf. Do you need so much clothing? What about all those books? Or the DVDs? I actually try to clean out every time I’m in Germany with my father. But now I can do it especially thoroughly.

Revise Your Bucket List!

Uh, that’s one of my favorite things on this list! Because my bucket list is also in absolute need of renovation. Yeah, we don’t know what the new normal’s gonna look like. Probably our reality will change quite a bit. And I have been wondering for days what significance travel will have in the future. Especially long-distance travel will certainly be more of a luxury good than it has been in recent years. But that will not stop us from dreaming! So dream about the places you still want to see, about the things you still want to do and experience. And a little tip: It might make sense not to just wander off into the distance. Maybe the moment has come for all of us to explore our home country better. So start reading travel blogs again and get inspired! Whether near or far… Travel in your thoughts and pack your bags when the time comes. And anticipation is the greatest joy…

Put Ideas Into Practice!

Have you ever had an idea for a project, but didn’t realize it due to lack of time? Have you always wanted to write a book? Develop an app? Paint a painting? Well, then you might be happy to hear that now is the moment: The actually awkward situation of being trapped at home is perfectly suited to finally realize such previously discarded ideas. If that’s not a reason for to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

Get in Touch With Friends And Family​!

In everyday life most of us are constantly busy. Time for friends and family? Nope. I’m the same: I don’t really talk to my best friend on the phone anymore, we meet maybe once a year when I’m in Germany. And now? Has the moment arrived to use the situation of social distancing to make social contacts really social again? To cultivate real friendships and to talk extensively with long-time friends again… Maybe you should make a list and go through it bit by bit. I am quite sure that you will put a smile on many people’s faces. And maybe even your own…

Final Thoughts About Things to Do in Quarantine

But now I am running out of ideas, too. But I can’t imagine that there isn’t something for everyone to keep themselves busy for a few weeks.

By the way, you can also combine the different ideas with each other: Convince friends to do sports with you! Arrange a time and meet online for example at Zoom and go through the fitness program together. You want to revise your Bucket List? Isn’t dreaming together with others twice as much fun? Call a friend and go through the bucket list ideas together. Or tidy up when you’re on the phone with a friend. If you haven’t heard from each other in a long time, you probably have a lot to say and it will be a long call. You can tidy up a bit at the same time.

Yes, the idea of quarantine can be frightening. But if you focus on the many things you can do instead of the ones you can’t, the weeks will surely pass quickly.

And always remember: Together we are strong! You are not alone, even if you cannot be with others physically.

Let me know in the comments which of my suggestions you like best and which you will implement!

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links.

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MY MORNING ROUTINE

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UNLEASH THE POWER WITHIN