Separating Spaces: Improving your Quarantine Lifestyle

By Thomas Hart on May 10, 2020

Quarantine is a strange time for a lot of us because, for the first time, we are limited to just one space. Most of us are not used to working from home, much less spending all of our time there.  Keeping your mental and physical health up while trapped into one space can be tricky, but becomes more manageable by dividing up your living space into sections defined by what you do there. I will be listing four areas that you should divide your space into, as well as providing an example out of my own bedroom. The four areas are as follows:

First, let’s focus on the exercise space. Working out your body has a positive impact on your mental health, not just physical, and can be an easy way to give yourself something to do and keep your brain happy. Designate a space that is reserved just for working out, so that you know when you go there it is time to exercise. If you are able to safely go outside you definitely should, as getting natural sunlight will be pretty important to your health as well as helping with your sleep cycle. This space is pretty easy to find, I use the floor next to my bed as an area to exercise, then go for a jog around my neighborhood when I can, taking care to avoid others.

Many of us who exercise frequently likely use a gym or something equivalent as the defined space our brain recognizes as the exercise space. Without access to those areas, we’ll just have to make a new space that so our brains are more comfortable working out in them. Source:

Second, let’s discuss the sleeping space. The sleeping space is easily muddled with the couch space and keeping them separate is extremely important. Choosing a single space in which all you do is sleep helps you set up your natural sleep cycle. A sleep cycle can take three days to establish yet is very delicate, and even though you may feel a little dirty if your cycle leads you to stay up through the night and awaken in the afternoon, that is valid during this time of quarantine and should not be messed with. If you enter your sleep space but are unable to sleep it might be best to get up and do something else before re-entering your sleep space. I use my bed for this space, as will, I assume, most people, and despite limited room, I do my best to only get into my bed when I am ready to sleep.

Third is the couch space. This is the Netflix area. The Youtube zone. The couch potato throne. This is an area separate from your sleeping area in which your recreational dreams are realized, where you can waste the day away watching movies and TV if you so choose. Keep in mind that you are likely to run out of material to watch pretty quickly, so you should try to limit your couch potato habits and spend more time in the other areas if you can. For me, finding this area was a little tricky. I have a desk and office chair in my room, and when I am in couch potato mode, I move my chair away from my desk and in front of my TV. If you have a couch, though, you should just use that.

Similar to exercise, most of us are likely used to working in a library, a classroom, an office, or some other traditional workspace. Without that defined space your brain normally recognizes as a place to work, you will need to make a new space. Source:

Lastly,  remember the work space. It is important to keep your brain active and stay productive even during quarantine time, so choosing an area in which when you enter your brain knows it is going to work is beneficial to your productivity. This can take the form of a home office, a desk in the corner of your room (which is what I use) or even a spot like a kitchen bar or a dining room table where you set up your laptop. The point is to just have a space that is separate from all of your other areas so its easier for your brain to identify what is going on.

Setting up different spaces is an easy way to trick your brain into getting more used to the at-home lifestyle, which in turn will help you get through this uncertain time.

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