Focusing on Your Mental Health During Quarantine
Contributed By Caroline Currier
Although the majority of Americans are not necessarily considered to be at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19, we are all certainly more susceptible to suffering mentally from the stress and the isolation that comes with quarantine. Many are facing financial distress due to the loss of their job. Many are missing friends and families, frustrated that we are having to cancel our weekend trips or annual vacations. Schools are closed, leaving teachers to scramble to get their assignments out to their students and forcing parents to take on additional responsibilities to keep their children on schedule throughout the day.
While quarantining is essential to the health of our families, friends and neighbors, it has never been more important to give special attention to our own physical and mental health. The best way to maintain a healthy mental state is to maintain good habits and make time for self-care. It is also important to keep a close watch on loved ones that may be having a hard time or feeling more stressed than usual under the circumstances. If you are seeking inspiration for methods of coping with the stress that comes with quarantine, see the suggestions below:
- Keep the Routine: Maintain your daily routine as much as possible and encourage your children to do so as well by scheduling times for schoolwork, breaks and exercise
- Opt for Video: Regularly video-chat with your loved ones and co-workers to maintain face-to-face communication.
- Use Snail Mail: Mail cards or letters to your loved ones.
- Family Fun: Pass time by doing activities with your loved ones, in person or by video, such as cooking together, looking through old photographs, doing a puzzle, creating or building something that you can continuously work on together.
- Be Active: Try to exercise 30 minutes per day. Many workouts are now available online and video chat will allow you to work out with a group of friends or family members. You should try to get outside every day for at least 15 minutes, even when the weather isn’t great.
- Get Organized: This is a great time to clean out closets and complete those home improvements you may have forgotten over time.
- Stay Social: Social Media can also keep you entertained and help pass the time.
Remember: the first step in beating mental or physical distress during this pandemic is to be aware of the pitfalls and the effective methods to avoid them. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a great resource, and they recently partnered with Instagram to share resources to support mental health. They also have a help line to get you connected with volunteers to answer questions and offer support.
If you are needing some extra encouragement do not hesitate to reach out and call a friend or family member for support. We are all in this together!