How to preserve your mental health during quarantine
Given the circumstances we’re in, being in quarantine has undoubtedly brought a number of mental health struggles. The world around us is infused with fear and uncertainty and it is up to us to find positive and comfort from within ourselves and the people around us. With our daily routines stripped from us for an indefinite period of time, we have to work to keep things exciting and also take care of ourselves and our bodies.
For those quarantining at home, many people seem to be experiencing a cycle of emotions ranging from feeling okay for a few days and then returning back to feelings of frustration, anger and helplessness. There are many activities to engage in to cope like reading, painting, cooking, gardening, doing at-home workouts and getting creative. Creating a routine out of these fun activities can help you get through the day, feed the soul and direct your energy towards positive things.
Other ways to relax your mind and body is to meditate and do yoga. Yoga does wonders for your muscles and is like giving yourself a warm hug. Here is a list of apps, some of which are free, that offer a variety of practices that can meet your needs. Calm and Headspace are good apps for meditation. Staying active can also effectively lift your spirits, whether it is following a virtual workout or going for a run outside. This is an opportunity to try different things and you may be surprised when you encounter a new sense of fulfillment.
Another way to be productive is simply taking care of ourselves and treating ourselves with kindness. When we are fighting a battle in our own minds, we should try to validate our emotions and not beat ourselves up for feeling the way we do. It also helps to open up to someone about our struggles as a reminder that we’re not alone and have people who love and support us. With the lack of regular human connection, it is easy to feel disconnected from your friends, family and other important figures in your lives. Voicing our fears and our struggles out loud—knowing that you’re not alone in experiencing them—can provide a lot of comfort.
Staying connected could also entail conducting regular Zoom sessions as an alternative for dinner parties, brunches and hangouts. You can play games, watch movies on Netflix and have a quality time with your friends or loved ones. I always find myself feeling significantly better after being on Zoom with my friends until 3:00 in the morning.
What can also help is to curate your social media feed to content that brings you comfort and happiness, like cat videos and self-care accounts. We now have endless opportunities to spend time on our phones and scroll through social media, which is why adjusting what we’re exposed to can help maintain a healthy perspective.
However, these conditions already seem to be facing an end in many states; some have lifted stay-at-home restrictions in recent weeks. This is a sign of hope but also brings fear of the possibility of a new outbreak. Many may feel wary about going back out while others have been anticipating the very moment. However, reopening doesn’t mean going back to the way things were before. While going to beaches, restaurants, and gyms, make sure to always wear a mask and follow social distancing orders. Adjusting to this new normal will help to accept the circumstances rather than fight it and protect those around you in the process.
Whatever feelings you may have are valid and human. It’s understandable to be struggling in a number of ways due to the nature of the world and our personal battles. Just remember, there are many resources at your disposal if you need to reach out and talk to someone, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and several depression helplines. You are never alone and there is always someone that can help.