With the government issued quarantine keeping people at home and with everyone doing their part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, concerns around mental health and isolation arise as the time we spend in our homes extends. For most that find solace in routine, the drastic change in everyday life can be very overwhelming while for others, the loss of security can bring upon stress and anxiety to everyday life. Moreover, the simple things in life such as going grocery shopping, running errands, or taking public transit has become more daunting as fears on all the ways we can accidentally contract the virus runs constantly in our minds. Even with the uncertainty on when we can return back to our normal way of living, what we can do now is brainstorm on some healthy coping mechanisms that we can utilize to help alleviate stress and help others too.
How you can cope with stress
Although everyone has their own way of managing stress, these examples are just some of the things that you may find helpful in implementing in your daily life during the quarantine:
Create a routine: Start by writing down a daily routine with a list of tasks that you would like to accomplish for the day, it can include something small from organizing a drawer to completing a project. In creating a routine it allows us to feel a sense of control and creates a feeling of normalcy.
Exercise/Eat Healthy: It comes as no surprise that our physical and our mental health are intertwined. Substitute ordering out by finding simple and healthy recipes that you can make at home. Use platforms such as YouTube and apps to find ideas on how to work out indoors.
Do what you love: Engage in hobbies and activities that you enjoy doing or have been planning to do. By staying creative and keeping yourself entertained this will help reduce your stress and make the most out of your time in quarantine.
Limit screen time: The over-exposure to negative news from social media and news outlets can take a toll on our mental health. To stay informed, limit your information source on the virus to one or two accredited sources that can provide you with updated and accurate information.
Practice mindful meditation: Practicing mindful meditation includes staying grounded and being aware of your thoughts and body in the moment. By being more aware of ourselves during moments of stress we can navigate ourselves to a place of safety. Body scanning and box breathing are just a few types of meditation that can be incorporated in your daily routine.
Cognitive stimulation: Keep your brain healthy by engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, learning a new skill, or solving a puzzle. These fun activities will not only help with boredom, but may keep your stressful thoughts at bay.
Set Limits: To avoid burnout when working from home, set time for breaks and rest.
Sleep: Avoid sleeping late and oversleeping by keeping a consistent sleeping schedule. This can help improve mood, maintain a healthy immune system, and enhance brain function.
Stay connected: To combat isolation, stay connected with friends and family through text, social media, and video calling.
How you can help loved-ones
With most of the world under quarantine, chances are you are not alone in how you are feeling and other loved-ones in your life may be in need of support as well. Support others that may not be able to leave their homes by doing their grocery shopping or getting their medication for them from the pharmacy. Keeping in touch with others and helping people in need promotes community engagement and spreads positivity.
Things to Remember
The most important thing to keep in mind during our stay at home is that it is perfectly okay to not be productive or to come out of the quarantine as a new and “improved” person, as we all have our ways of coping whether it may be exercising, organizing, sleeping, or binge-watching our favourite TV show. Remember to treat yourself kindly as we are all working together to do the best we can during these uncertain times.