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15 Ideas for Relieving Stress During Coronavirus Quarantine

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We’re certainly living in strange times.

While a global pandemic sweeps through our nation – and across the world – there is plenty to feel stressed about.

People are losing their jobs.

Parents are forced to find a way to have their child taken care of in response to mandatory school closing.

Most terrifyingly, the weak and elderly – our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and lifelong friends – are all very much at risk of being gravely affected by COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

Oh, yeah. We’re all confined to our homes for the most part, too.

There is no shortage of stress-inducing realities that we are all facing, and it’s looking like this will be the case for the foreseeable future, at the very least.

So, it’s time to explore some easy stress relievers while we are locked in our homes with limited human contact in an effort to keep our shit together, our attitudes positive, and our outlook on each day better than the day before.

Stress Relievers in Times of High Anxiety

There are the easy answers:

  • Home workouts.
  • Reading good books.
  • Walks outside in fresh air (while keeping your minimum 6-foot distance from others).
  • Online shopping.

These are some of the more common alternatives to losing your mind on accelerate.

And they make sense.

Working out is scientifically proven to naturally reduce stress through the release of endorphins and other chemical responses.

Reading helps get the creative juices flowing.

Fresh air is always good for the mind and body, too.

But what about some other basic, not-so-common outlets for stress and anxiety in these strange times?

1. Take it Slow

Most important thing for us anxious, oft-worried people is to just take is slow.

Deep breaths and relaxation remain unrivaled.

But it’s easier said than done.

Anyone with real anxiety knows that.

Just never turn your back on the basics.

The faster we realize we need to gain control to handle what comes at us, the easier everything else becomes.

Remember to take it slow and think of the big picture.

We’ve made it this far and we’re living in a big world.

Appreciate it for what it is.

More often than not, everything falls into place.

2. Less Coffee If You’re Like Me Right Now

For the naturally anxious and occasionally uncontrollable personalities, like me, less coffee can be better.

I need at least a couple of cups to get going in the morning, especially on Mondays.

Also, I have found myself four (or more) cups deep before noon due to working from home – and making coffee by the pot.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and anxious in these uncertain times.

But I try to help myself stay grounded by regulating just how much caffeine I put into my body, especially when my total daily movement is at an all-time low.

A cup or two is all most of us need for the day.

Move onto water at some point.

Then keep your focus once you’re awake and working at a pace that works for you.

Don’t just keep drinking coffee until you’ve got the shakes and are about to explode.

(Yes, I speak from experience!)

3. Take Breaks from Watching the News

We all want to stay up to date on the current situation to ensure we have the facts and know what we can truly expect.

But there has to be a saturation point.

As a news junkie myself, I typically watch hours of news each day.

In these trying times, that’s probably not the healthiest choice.

I’ve reduced my news-watching time significantly, mostly saving my viewing for the morning and evening news telecasts only.

The mess on Facebook is a much different story.

Sure, there can be good information on the social media platform, and it’s usually nice to have that human exposure – albeit virtually – but, we all know far too well, there’s a lot of crap on Facebook, too.

Just like we manage our time watching the news, we need to manage our time on platforms like Facebook.

Honestly, I have zero interest in having real-life contact with several of my “friends” on Facebook  anytime soon.

I also wonder why so many people never paid attention in ninth-grade library class (nor understand credibility, proper sourcing, etc.).

No matter how you slice it, we need to manage and regulate our exposure to the outside madness when it comes to the news media and social media platforms.

4. Take a Trip on Foot (With or Without the Dog)

This is an easy one.

And it’s a good one.

There are a lot of things we are currently not allowed to do.

Thankfully, walking outside is not one of them.

So long as we keep our 6-foot distance from others, we are more than welcomed to get outside, get some fresh air while we take a quick run or walk the dog, and simply get in touch with the basics of life.

Highly recommend.

5. Clean the House

If you’re like me, working in chaos is second nature.

But working in a mess is a nightmare.

And that, my friends, is one of the biggest dilemmas for working from home, at least for me.

I find it hard to get in the zone if I’m sitting among dirty dishes, clothes that need to be put away, and piles of unnecessary toys that my 3-year-old leaves laying around always.

So, I pick them up.

I’m a lucky one in that cleaning is therapeutic to me.

So, this helps in a multitude of ways.

But the biggest factor here is the mental satisfaction I get from having a home (and temporary office) that is clean and tidy.

It’s just one more way to eliminate unnecessary stress.

6. Talk to Friends & Family

As we now know, social distancing is not easy.

It’s a fun joke or punchline when we bail on our friends (maybe even several times) to claim that we just want to be home alone in our pajamas.

But being forced to stay in our homes and overthinking everything we touch for the small periods we actually leave (at the grocery store, gas station, bank, etc.) is no way to navigate life.

We need to keep communicating with the outside world while we can, too.

As mentioned, social networks help with this drastically.

But there is plenty of toxicity out there that needs to be waded through as well.

I’ve had several meetups with friends and/or coworkers since the 100 percent work-from-home mandate for non-essential employees in New York.

And, while I still don’t think I am nearly as pretty as my mom pretended I was growing up (which became even more evident after staring at myself in the webcam during the meetups), this is definitely a fun and unique way to pass the time and stay somewhat normal.

Zoom is easy to use, has some fun options for things like virtual backgrounds, and it’s free.

We may not see these people (in person) for a couple more weeks, but we can connect with them in some capacity and keep things familiar with relative ease.

7. Start a Journal

As a journalist at heart, this is a no-brainer for me.

But, like most of these alternatives, what works for me may not work for others.

I’m just trying to provide some ideas; take what you’d like and modify as needed.

I typically don’t keep a journal or diary, but when I do revisit old notes from certain periods of my life, I’m always intrigued.

To be able to look back at a period of life and recite your thoughts is a strong, impactful way to remember the past.

Pictures are great, but written dialogue (especially when written and read by the same person) has incredible power.

It also offers some peace of mind and sanity.

It’s almost like I’m visiting my shrink through handwriting at home.

8. Meditate

I don’t personally meditate, but many friends and coworkers do, and swear by it.

It’s on the list of things I will certainly explore during this strange time.

But meditation, along with breathing and mental-awareness exercises, are sure winners as ways to reduce stress by definition.

9. Try Something New

While many of us may be reluctant to break from what we already know we enjoy, now is also an ideal time to try some new things.

Many of us will try some new programs on Netflix, maybe teach ourselves a new valuable skill, perhaps even cook up a new dish or two as we explore self-entertaining.

It doesn’t hurt to try new things.

Some of the new things I plan to do to keep my cool throughout quarantine are meditation, learn some coding skills, and definitely cooking things I never have before.

I will be trying some new shows on Netflix, too.

10. Indulge in Satisfaction… But Work Toward It as a Reward

Another big one that seems pretty easy but may be overlooked is rewarding yourself with some of the finer things in life.

A lot of us have been joking on social media about how we are going to be fat after this quarantining period is over with.

And I’m not saying it’s wrong.

Staying sane for the next few weeks may come with a few extra pounds when we are allowed to come out of our houses.

I’ll take it.

Some of my favorite “rewards” are ice cream, chocolate, Swedish Fish – even non-edibles like video games and other time-out pleasurables that help us feel good but should probably be indulged in at a regulated pace.

Some of us also enjoy alcoholic beverages.

Nothing wrong with that.

I’ve just found it best to keep myself restricted to having my first drink until after 4 p.m. when my workday ends at 5 (officially).

That time has since moved up to 3 p.m. over the last two days.

The important part is just to keep it righteous and don’t do more harm than good.

11. Catch Up With Yourself & Life

I have long said that I need 36 hours in a day to get even half of the things done I would like to in one day.

Life moves fast. I tend to, too.

But this mandatory slow-down time – if you’re lucky enough to still have a job, be able to work from home, and are in good health – has allowed me to get a lot of my messy life elements in order.

I’ve caught up on my mail. My house is clean. My laundry is done.

There is something to be said for having order in life that helps with a positive outlook.

And, for work, I am catching up on time-consuming tasks that would otherwise probably not get done anytime soon.

12. Don’t Work on the Same Thing Too Long

I’m extremely productive when I work from home.

I also tend to go crazy a lot faster.

Something I have found useful is the ability to shift gears regularly, or as needed.

Same for when working in the office.

If you’re able/don’t mind it, change up gears and put down a 3,000-cell Excel spreadsheet to take on a task or two that are easier.

Maybe grab lunch, too.

Come back and hammer out the spreadsheet for a couple of hours.

Everybody loves a slight change of scenery, especially now.

13. Enjoy a Hobby – Any Way Possible

Face it. We don’t get enough time to enjoy the things we love.

Even if we actually do. We’ll say we don’t.

That’s why they are the things we love!

In this period of social distancing, doing more of what we love is critical.

Most of us have hobbies we like but just don’t get to do as much as we’d like.

It could be painting, drawing, knitting, writing, reading, making music, or a million other things.

Whatever you enjoy and makes you happy is the right answer here.

14. Sharpen Your Skillset

We live in a world where knowledge is very much available, and usually for free.

And knowledge is power.

Been meaning to teach yourself how to code? How to play the guitar? Learn a new language?

Now is the time.

There are plenty of free platforms out there to learn code, including Codecademy and a myriad of YouTube resources.

Fender is giving away three months of free guitar lessons in this time of quarantine.

Duolingo is a dependable easy-to-use free resource for learning a new language, too.

Heck, maybe you’ve been meaning to read (and master) Kamasutra.

Now’s the time.

15. Create

Weird situations like the coronavirus-created life shutdown are rare, but they’re real.

We don’t have much choice in the matter.

What we do with our time is important, for our sanity, but also for our production.

I can confidently say that I’ve been working more efficiently than usual on my regular day-to-day tasks, but I also feel privileged to be lucky enough to have a job with flexibility, good teammates, and good clients.

Outside of my regular eight to 10 hours of work per day, I’ve explored other ways to occupy my time and aren’t coming out of my TV but also help keep the stress down.

Working on a book I’ve put on far too long, catching up on old episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, and re-organizing my filing cabinet are three things I’ve put time into so far in quarantine, and all have helped regulate my stress.

Do What Works for You

Some things work for some people and others work for other people.

The important thing to remember is not everything works the same for everyone.

Finding what works well for you is one of, if not the, most important element to keeping your mind right in these times.

There are many uncertainties that exist in this unsure time.

One thing we all certainly need is to keep our cool.

Searchenginejournal.com

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OpenAI Introduces ChatGPT Plus with Monthly Subscription of $20

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Open AI - Chat GPT

OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence research laboratory, has launched a new product – ChatGPT Plus. The new product is an advanced version of its previous language model, ChatGPT, and is available for a monthly subscription of $20. The company aims to provide a more sophisticated and efficient conversational AI tool to its users through this new product.

ChatGPT Plus is a state-of-the-art language model that uses advanced deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to text inputs. The model has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. The model is designed to handle a wide range of conversational topics and can be integrated into various applications, such as chatbots, customer support systems, and virtual assistants.

One of the main advantages of ChatGPT Plus over its predecessor, ChatGPT, is its ability to generate responses in a more human-like manner. The model has been fine-tuned to incorporate more advanced language processing techniques, which enable it to better understand the context and tone of a conversation. This makes it possible for the model to generate more nuanced and appropriate responses, which can greatly improve the user experience.

In addition to its advanced language processing capabilities, ChatGPT Plus also offers improved performance in terms of response generation speed and efficiency. The model has been optimized to run on faster hardware and has been fine-tuned to generate responses more quickly. This makes it possible for the model to handle a larger volume of requests, making it an ideal solution for businesses with high traffic websites or customer support centers.

The monthly subscription fee of $20 for ChatGPT Plus makes it an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. The company has designed the pricing model in such a way that it is accessible to businesses of all sizes, regardless of their budget. This makes it possible for small businesses to take advantage of advanced conversational AI technology, which can greatly improve their customer engagement and support.

OpenAI has also made it easy to integrate ChatGPT Plus into various applications. The company has provided a comprehensive API that allows developers to easily integrate the model into their applications. The API supports a wide range of programming languages, making it possible for developers to use the technology regardless of their preferred programming language. This makes it possible for businesses to quickly and easily incorporate conversational AI into their operations.

In conclusion, OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT Plus is a significant development in the field of conversational AI. The new product offers advanced language processing capabilities and improved performance, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. The affordable pricing model and easy integration make it accessible to businesses of all sizes, and the advanced language processing capabilities make it possible for businesses to improve their customer engagement and support. OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus is set to revolutionize the conversational AI industry and bring advanced technology within the reach of businesses of all sizes.

Visit OpenAI.com to read more and to get the latest news about ChatGPT.

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What can ChatGPT do?

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ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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Searchenginejournal.com

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