America has now accepted that social distancing is essential in controlling the current health pandemic we find ourselves in. However, as the weeks drag on, we are all discovering that keeping to the quarantine isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Aside from the financial ramifications of staying home, many people are also starting to experience emotional consequences of being away from friends, family, and society in general.
Taking care of your mental health is always important, however it is imperative in this period of quarantine. Fortunately, there are great ways to stay mentally healthy during these unprecedented times.
Keep in a Daily Routine
One of the biggest contributors to negative feelings in quarantine is loss of autonomy. We take for granted our ability to go where we want to go, when we want to go there. Without even realizing it, we can quickly start to feel feelings of frustration and angst when our freedom is taken away, even if we know it’s for a necessary reason.
Keeping in a daily routine within the confines of your quarantine location can help in alleviating these negative feelings. If you are working from home, you can make sure that you are keeping to a similar normal workday with scheduled lunches and breaks. You can also block off 40min time chunks with 20min breaks in between to work on certain work tasks. Use the 20min break times to check the news, social media, do laundry, or anything else that distracts you from your work tasks.
If your kids are at home you can also implement these 40min time chunks with 20min breaks in between. They may be old enough to have virtual learning and homework to do or they may be too young and require you to provide activities and screen time.
If you are unemployed at this time you can dedicate your 40min work times to household tasks, job searching online, or hobbies. Also schedule your lunch and your “clock out” time.
The main point is finding a schedule that works for you and sticking to it. Let the weekends be open so that you have a weekly schedule in addition to a daily schedule. We don’t know how long this will last and you want to set yourself up for success.
If exercise isn’t a part of your normal lifestyle, it isn’t going to be something you really want to do when you are feeling stressed, frustrated, and stuck from being in doors. However, exercise has been proven to be a huge mood booster, even when the world is “normal”. All you need is access to the internet to find workout solutions and routines to add into your daily schedule.
Street Parking is a fantastic website that has a low monthly subscription fee and gives daily workouts that use minimal equipment and even body weight only exercises. Best part is they range from 10min-20min most times. They also have a very supportive online community for you to interact with and ask questions.
Getting your body moving in a meaningful way for 10min a day, 4 days a week, can make a huge difference in your mental health and also help to establish a good habit you may keep with you when we are all allowed to resume our lives.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, forgive yourself when things don’t go as planned. We are all getting a lot more screen time than we usually do (who else has turned off those judgy screen time notifications?), our kids are being extra needy, and our pets are wondering what the heck is going on. Now is not the time to be hard on yourself if you find that staying on the couch and eating your favorite snack is your #1 priority.
That being said, make sure that you forgive and forget. Bounce back from the couch and get back to that daily routine as soon as you realize you are ready. Put down the remote when you can and do your 10min workout. Take it moment by moment and you will find that quarantine is a lot more bearable.
Take care of yourself and the ones you love and remember we are all in this together.