Staying productive at home: Tips for coping with COVID-19 from a Sumter community health guru


As more and more businesses close their doors and we begin spending more days at home, many of us have been given a great gift, the gift of time. Often referenced as our most valuable commodity, it's something that we are always spending but not something that we can make more of. A lack of it has regularly been blamed for not being able to exercise, eat right or get healthy. Yet, for many of us, we now have so much more time in our day, but we are not making the most of it.

Sitting at home without as much to do can be a nice change of pace at first, but too much of it on consecutive days can lead to bad habits and poor health. Staying up late, binge watching TV or not exercising can really start to take a toll on your body and mind. Experts recommend the following steps to stay motivated and productive which ultimately supports better health for your mind and body.

Wake up early - Without a job to go to or a school to take the kids to, it's easy to want to sleep in until you wake up on your own. However, research shows that getting up early improves mood and productivity and helps set the pace for the rest of the day. Sleeping in tends to cause less motivation and more apathy.

Get dressed - Without having to leave the house, why not stay in your pajamas or sweats all day and stay comfy? Researchers claim that the clothes you wear can have an impact on your mindset. Wearing your sleep clothes all day can promote laziness and an "I'll do it later" attitude. Getting yourself dressed in a presentable manner for the day can improve your outlook so you are ready to tackle the day.

Set boundaries - Whether you work, watch TV and eat on the couch or in your bedroom, it is wise to set up locations within your home for different parts of your day. Eat in the kitchen. Sleep only in the bedroom. Have coffee outside or in your favorite chair. Watch TV in a designated location. If you have one spot in the house where you do everything, it can be difficult to separate your day and get things done.

Set a schedule - Living with a schedule may be necessary when you are busy, but it's also extremely helpful when you are not. Creating a schedule for the day for yourself or your family can help with expectations and a routine. Post your schedule so those in your house know when the meals are, when to work, when to play a game, work together on a project, do yard work or clean, watch a movie or just have free time. Also, be sure to schedule a specific screen-free time. Without this set schedule or allotted amount of time, you can lose valuable hours to social media before you know it.

Exercise - It's easy to become or remain sedentary when you are at home. You may find yourself watching others exercise on TV but are never getting up and taking part. Being sedentary can be bad for your health, and when you're at home, the average number of daily steps you take is greatly diminished. Set a time to exercise alone or together with your family whether you are inside or outside.

If you have been given the gift of time, it is your choice how you spend it. Cash in those minutes for completing those projects, making memories with loved ones, trying new recipes or finally reading those books you haven't had time for.

Missy Corrigan is executive of community health for Sumter Family YMCA. She can be reached at or (803) 773-1404.