House-Bound? Tips for Managing Stress and Staying Productive

The world is changing and we have no idea what to expect next and this can be stressful for some. But it doesn't have to be.

Lately, I've been wanting to know the facts about the coronavirus and get the right information yet at the same time I find myself getting overwhelmed. There are hoaxes and so many conflicting “facts”.

Then I open my Facebook and it's all the same there. People are talking about conspiracy theories and hidden agendas. Then my mind starts boggling. WHAT DON'T WE KNOW? AHHHH!

I’ve had a cold (I hope??) and I’ve been in isolation. But to be honest, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom.

In this post, I’m going to tell you what I’ve learnt. How I have come out of those moments of panic. And how I am staying productive whilst working from home.

Tips for Managing Your Mindset

Get Offline for a While

This has been my biggest saviour. At times I’ve looked at my phone and it’s like a Corona hotline. All my friends and family in group text messages are talking about it. Facebook and Instagram is obsessed with it. And the news – if you start really thinking about what’s going on, you can begin to go into overwhelm.

So… turn off for a while and be in the moment! If you’re lucky to be in lockdown with loved ones, go back to simpler times and get out the board games and connect! Don’t have a board game? Download the app “Heads Up”. Trust me, you’ll love it!

And if you're tired of Netflix then get back into old fashioned reading!

Connect With People

If you’re feeling quite isolated and anxious, there are ways to feel not alone:

  • Arrange Zoom catch ups with your friends. Send an invite and make sure everyone brings a glass of their favourite drink and have a good laugh!
  • Watch comedies on Netflix and invite your friends to have a Netflix party
  • Start conversations online that are positive (ask what everyone is doing to stay positive and ask what shows they’re watching)
  • Check out Gabby Bernstein‘s tips on Instagram for people who are feeling anxious and alone
  • Remember that we are actually all in this together and there are people feeling exactly the same as you. Find them online and connect! Now more than ever, we are feeling the love in our Agency Mavericks online communities:

Facebook post thanking the WP Elevation community

If you are an existing customer of Agency Mavericks, make sure you get active in the relevant Facebook groups. If you’re a member, that will mean the Pilot’s group. Troy and the coaches will be in there more than usual and we’ll be going live a lot more.

If you are not a customer, consider joining the free Digital Mavericks Facebook group. we will be going live in that group several times a week to host conversations, answer some questions, ask some questions and try our best to support you all through these challenging times.

Continue to Grow Your Business

Some people in our Facebook groups have been talking about ways they can help people at the moment to get online. But there seems to be this element of guilt about it.

There is a big difference between buying toilet paper and selling it to make a profit and helping someone with their business to make a profit.

You owe it to yourself and your clients to run a profitable business. And if you are one of the lucky ones finding that you are getting more work at the moment, then now is the time to think about how you can grow your business to be able to take on the extra load.

Nurture Positive Thoughts

There is a collective feeling of anxiousness at the moment as we move from a mindset of “living” to “survival”. So when your thoughts start to spiral towards the end of the world happening (yep, I went there!) then don't forget that good things are happening too. And instead, visualise us all coming out of this stronger and with a greater sense of appreciation for everything we have.

Be OK With Not Being OK

It’s very interesting to see what comes up for you emotionally when you stop. We spend our lives rushing around and working so often we actually have no idea how we are feeling.

When you slow down, anything that we have been distracting ourselves from feeling will come up. This is a good thing! But instead of going into the next season of your favourite show, perhaps try to sit with the feeling, write about it, meditate on it and let it go.

If you download the Insight Timer app, there are many free meditations on there to help you through this time. But if you are finding that things become too much then reach out! There are many counsellors and psychologists who are offering online sessions at the moment. Or call a support line such as Beyond Blue.

Keep Moving

No excuses! If you're not feeling sick, there are plenty of online workouts and yoga classes. It is extremely important now more than ever to stay active to help with mental and physical health.

If you're like me and not a big fan of gym style workouts, then try these super fun dance routines with the Fitness Marshall. His latest routine includes special hand sanitising moves!

Keep Your Kids Occupied

Here are some great tips that I got from a friend:

  • Get a scrap book and get them to keep a daily diary of what day it is, what the weather is, what activities they do and any observations
  • Read to them and ask comprehension questions about the story. Can they suggest alternate endings? Discuss the characters. If they are interested in a particular topic then generate research into that
  • Do real maths by putting out objects and physically add and subtract
  • Cutting out for fine motor skills development. Lots of art projects.
  • Get them to help with cooking, measuring and weighing
  • Get them to write a story

Here is a list put together by parents all over the world of around 300 activities to keep the kidlets occupied while you work too!

Get Creative

If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands, there are SO many fun things you could be doing or creating! I love these tips from Dribble. And of course, it's an opportunity to upskill.

Help Others

There are so many people who have lost jobs and are without income at the moment. Are there any ways that you help those in need? When we get our minds off ourselves it actually helps us too!

Here are some tips from GoDaddy on how you can help your clients at the moment. Troy and Simon also held a crises management workshop if you'd like more information on how to support your business and your clients at the moment. 

Create a Routine

I find that I work so much more effectively if I stick to a routine.

In the morning I wake up and take 3 minutes to think about all the things I'm grateful for. (Studies have proven how effective this is for our mental health!)

I then take my dog for a walk. (If you're housebound, you could choose a YouTube video.) But fresh air really is the best thing to do to help with the feeling of “cabin fever”.

I make sure that I have done as much as I can around the house so that I'm not distracted by it during the day.

Then (and this is the most important!) I have a shower and get dressed. Sounds ridiculous that this is the most important right? But I mean it, I've had lazy mornings where I just worked in my pyjamas and didn't do my hair.

This is a problem because:
a. Someone could request an unexpected video call; and
b. I feel not as productive or good about myself because there is a lack of self-care there.

It just sets the wrong tone for the day. PJs = couch and bedtime. Clothes = work time.

After work, I do another form of exercise usually a walk or I roll out my yoga mat and so some stretches and switch off!

Structure is so important. Even the simple act of making your bed first thing in the morning can help you feel productive and disciplined.

Create To-Do Lists

I won't delve too much into this topic as we have another blog that will help you manage your time. But, I just want to stress how important it is to have daily goals. If you don't, then it is easy to become lazy.

Everyone at Agency Mavericks has their own set of quarterly goals which we map out in Asana and report on each week.

This is great to keep everyone in the team accountable.

Minimise Distractions

This is hard if you have pets, children and a heap of housework to do. So try and make your desk somewhere away from distractions. And turn off your phone. Because if your phone is anything like mine at the moment, its non-stop!

Play background sounds or music. Check out My Noise – It’s amazing!

Clean Home = Clear Mind

This is an important one if you’re now working from home (or already were!) In order to stay productive, it helps to have a clean and organised home to help you have a clean and organised mind. So spend some time to clean, throw out, and arrange an organised working space.

Tools to Help Communication

Here are some tools to use to help your remote team have clearer communication:

  • Slack: to communicate with your team
  • Zoom: for team and client meetings which you can record
  • Loom: to easily explain things to your team or clients by recording your screen and voice at the same time
  • Use a Trello Board to keep on top of what everyone is doing in your team

And make sure you have everything documented and all your processes are transparent for the whole team.

Maintain Balance

We all know that stress is bad for your physical health and can lead to burnout. So ensure that you're making self-care a priority now more than ever. Do something that makes you happy every day and make your mental and physical health a priority right now.

Good Things Are Happening Too

Whilst it is heartbreaking to think about all the people in the world who are struggling right now, we have to step out of the panic mindset and think about:

  • How we are learning about what really matters.
  • How much we are becoming so appreciative of the small things in life and realising how much has been taken for granted – the freedom to go to the shops, movies, restaurants and to hug each other!
  • How communities are coming together and supporting each other more than ever
  • How some people are turning this into an opportunity to do what they have always wanted to do like start their own business
  • The fact that we will get through this

So, let’s start connecting now. Tell us what you’ve been doing to feel better at the moment Do you have any apps or tips to feel more connected or focused? What are you learning at this difficult time?

Picture of Maddie Keogh

Maddie Keogh

Madeleine Keogh is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Agency Mavericks. She has a background in marketing, copywriting and used to run her own WordPress business. Outside of work, you'll find her at the beach or doing yoga.
Share this post

The Agency Hour Podcast: Guest Application