New York Times best-selling author shares advice on isolating with family

As an increasing number of people are staying home due to coronavirus fears, they’re also spending more time with loved ones — maybe a little too much time. For those of us who easily get cabin fever, being trapped at home on a nearly 24/7 basis with family members may give way to anxiety, stress, chaos and, most of all, boredom.

Because of this, it’s important to put things into perspective and try our best to make do with the company we have.

For New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker Gretchen Rubin, the seemingly endless amount of time she’s spent with her family has made her appreciate them even more. It’s also inspired her to create an action plan that will not only help keep her family accountable, but also encourage them to be more productive with their free time.

According to the Open University, action planning has a number of benefits — it offers an opportunity for reflection, brings people together, builds consensus, clarifies timescales and identifies measures of success. For Rubin, it has also helped institute a level of structure in her family’s day-to-day.

If you’re looking to make the most out of the time you have with your family, consider this action plan that Rubin has shared with hers.

1. Create a three-tiered plan for projects

Think of a project that you’ve always wanted to work on but haven’t had the chance to do so. Ever wanted to write a book? Learn a new language? Launch a website? No matter how lofty it is, think of it as your “ambitious” project — this should be something that you slowly work towards completing over a certain time frame.

Next, think of a “medium” project — an assignment that’s a little bit more manageable. For Rubin’s family, that has come in the form of arts and crafts and even juggling. For you, it could mean playing an instrument more regularly or redecorating an area of your home.

Finally, think of a “fun” project — it can involve binge-watching a popular Netflix series or rereading a favorite book. Whatever it is, make sure it’s enjoyable.

2. Start a journal

Keeping a journal has a surprising number of benefits. According to a study cited by HuffPost, writing “has a positive correlation with intelligence.” In other words, the more you write, the more you’ll feel tempted to expand your vocabulary and find creative ways to express yourself.

Additionally, journaling can help bring you and your family closer to a state of mindfulness, increase your emotional intelligence, boost your memory and strengthen your self-discipline and self-confidence. It can also improve your communication skills.

“Keeping a journal will help us make sense of what’s happening, and will be an important record, later,” Rubin explained on her blog.

3. Exercise

The advantages of exercising are well-documented. Regular exercise has been proven to increase happiness, as it contributes to the production of endorphins — the hormones responsible for churning out positive feelings. It can also boost energy levels. According to Healthline, a study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 respondents who had consistently reported fatigue.

Perhaps the most obvious reward of exercising is that it helps with weight loss. While dieting is a common form of shedding those extra pounds, exercising increases the metabolic rate at which you lose calories. Exercising routinely also reduces the risk of getting a chronic disease, such as diabetes.

If the thought of exercising is intriguing to you and you’re looking for workouts to do at home amid this current quarantine, don’t worry. We got you. We’ve compiled a list of exercises you can do with everyday items.

If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about how you can stay healthy while in quarantine.

More from In The Know:

Family creates quarantine spoof of ‘Les Misérables’ song

More than 80,000 Sephora shoppers love these exfoliating pads

This chic T-shirt benefits local NYC restaurants during the quarantine

Chinatown businesses are suffering — here’s how you can help