A lot of people are spending quite a large amount of their time at home during these days – as they should be. Even if not in quarantine, social distancing is key at the moment.
So, many companies have sent their employees to do home office, schools and universities are closed, and in some countries, restaurants, cinemas and other places where people gather are shut down as well. The reasons behind all this are serious and we should all do our part to flatten the curve.
We are, however, human and as humans there is something in us, something that makes us sad when we can’t talk to people, when we can’t connect with people. We might feel alone, anxiety levels start rising, and the risk for depression rises dramatically.
So, we want to help you out with some ideas that might help you cope with the situation. Just like our Co-Founder, Philipp, said in his LinkedIn article: Keep distance and keep positive.
Let me give you some inspiration on how to stay positive and socialize, while still staying at home.
#1 Listen to the music, the songs I’m singing…
…and feel the joy they’re bringing! I want to start with something very simple – for me, putting on some music while working helps already. Of course, (at least in my case) no sing-along songs – you wouldn’t want to read my texts then – but Spotify offers great playlists for focusing and studying (and working). Try it out!
Don’t use Spotify? I’m sure Apple Music offers similar playlists and in the end: YouTube certainly does.
For your breaks, I would suggest something more fun. Stand up, dance, and sing your heart out. Forget that you have neighbors for a few minutes, or why not have them join your sing-along – but only through the walls 😉
If you found music, either for focused work or for the joy in between, share it with your co-workers! At Testbirds we have a shared Spotify list for example, where everybody can add his or her favorite songs.
And for those of you who might have a song stuck in your head since you read the heading of this paragraph – although I altered it a bit – here’s the song for you 😉
#2 Not only Work, Work, Work, Work, Work but also Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk
Already annoyed by songs? Ok, I’ll stop, I promise!
Of course, home office is for working, but what we’re all missing in home office are the little chats with our colleagues. Be it for a short coffee break, a cigarette (I know it’s unhealthy but let’s be honest – it’s a way of socializing) or for a shared lunch. During breaks, we talk to our colleagues and obviously, not all those chats are work-related, so keep that up! Our marketing team, for example, has a daily coffee break at 10 o’clock. Everyone who wants to can join the conversation. We organize ourselves via Teams, switch on our cameras and just talk. Like we would do in the office.
Our Co-Founder and CEO offers an open invite for coffee chats, with the same idea: drinking some coffee and chatting about whatever we want – just like you would when you meet at the coffee machine.
At Testbirds we’ve also started a so-called “Online Buddy” project. Everyone who wants to can participate. We mix up groups from different departments and countries. Those groups can gather via Teams regularly (or spontaneously) and talk.
For smaller groups, I would always recommend turning your camera on – not only can it be very funny – but seeing people also helps you feel less alone.
Great tip: If you’re using Teams, you can blur the background – so an untidy home is no longer an excuse 😉 If you’re using Zoom, you can replace the background with a custom one of your choice. This is my favorite.
Of course, this doesn’t only work with your colleagues – video-call your friends, your parents, and grandparents – they will love it and you won’t have to risk infecting them. I also heard about grandchildren that recorded a podcast for their grandparents since they can’t visit them at the moment – what a lovely idea, don’t you think?
#3 Share inspiration for your free time
Besides work, social life is also limited at the moment. So, we’re all in need of ideas to keep us (and our kids) entertained. Of course, you can finally do things you have been procrastinating for ages now, like cleaning up the basement or re-decorating your living room with what you already have at home. But even after you’ve done that, there’s still a lot of time to be filled. Within Testbirds, we have a list for that too! People can add book, movie, and series recommendations to get inspiration. Take the chance and try something you wouldn’t have watched or read otherwise.
Let me share a few of the recommendations with you:
- The YouTube channel “Geography Now” – seeing foreign countries while staying at home and thinking about your next holiday, after we get through these times.
- Perhaps you want to feel some joy by watching people that are even more quarantined than we are at the moment? Try out the Netflix series “The Circle” where eight people are locked in separate rooms of a building, can only communicate with each other through an app called “Circle”, and vote each other out based on popularity.
- Rather a reader than a watcher? Why not try reading a book about mental health? One book recommended by one of my colleagues is “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb. In this book, a therapist talks about therapy in general, four patients in particular, and how she really needed a therapist herself.
Also, some online-learning courses are free at the moment. I, for example, want to try out a course about Content Marketing (what a surprise) which normally costs $799.
Udemy and Coursera, among others, offer a lot of free online courses or simply hit Google – I’m sure you’ll find something suitable.
There are also plenty of home gym and yoga classes out there on YouTube. Perhaps it’s the perfect time to try an activity you’ve never done before? To make it even more social you can set appointments with your friends and do those classes together via Facetime, Skype, or whichever platform you want to use.
Why not start with this yoga class for complete beginners?
If you’re not into sports, get in touch with your creativity and try painting, drawing, or building something. If DIY stores are still open in your region, pick up some supplies (in a safe way) and give it a try. There are also plenty of tutorials on Youtube.
Why not start with one of these easy DIY projects for beginners?
If you have kids you could also gather and share some ideas on how to keep them happy (and occupied) while mom and dad are trying to work from home. I can only imagine that it’s not easy to work with a little kid in the background.
Just think about this guy who was being interviewed by BBC when his children entered the stage.
They became quite famous afterwards, so maybe now’s your chance 😉
#4 Don’t lose humanity
We’re facing troublesome times at the moment and we all have to do our part to get through this together. But instead of just thinking about yourself I would suggest to use your time to do something for others as well.
Personally, I love the examples from Italy where people are making music together on their balconies.
Or this guy who helps people to stay active while at home.
If you’re missing the nightlife, why not join one of the many streams from clubs around the world? To keep the world-famous Berlin club culture going during these trying times, United We Stream has set up a platform where you can watch live streams from a different Berlin club every evening (although it’s empty). Yesterday there were 250,000 views for the stream from Watergate in Berlin!
These are just a few examples that might help people feel less alone and give them some time to forget the anxiety a lot of us might be feeling.
If you’re young and healthy you have a relatively low risk to suffer seriously from Coronavirus – so you might be able to help those who have a higher risk, like elderly people or people with a compromised immune system. Put a note in the hallway that you can bring them groceries so they don’t have to go to the shops. Or offer to call them from time to time – especially elderly people often don’t have many social contacts.
Keep your eyes open and help those who might need it – we’re going through this together.
As you can imagine this list could be continued indefinitely with ideas like trying out a new look (why not grow a beard or wear the clothes in the back of your closet), trying new recipes (or finally learning how to cook), or start online gaming (again)…the possibilities are endless thanks to our digital world!
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About the author
When Simone is not working on superb texts for Testbirds, she and her horse live it up on the tournament areas in Bavaria.
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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.
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