Over the course of a few weeks, almost everything about the way we live and work changed, as a pandemic swept over the world. Recent surveys have found that 77 percent of Americans are afraid of contracting COVID-19, and 91 percent are concerned about the negative impact the pandemic will have on the U.S. and global economy. On top of ongoing stress about the pandemic, workers must manage a variety of changes in their professional and personal lives. Working from home, homeschooling, getting things done with others in the house, and adjusting schedules can be hectic and stressful.
In addition to minding your physical health during this time, maintaining a healthy mental state is of the utmost importance as well. While there are plenty of tips and guidelines for protecting yourself and others from the virus, it’s important to handle the stress of uncertainty in a healthy way. Here are some ideas for focusing on your mental wellbeing while respecting the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
Keep yourself busy
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the endless news articles, frightening social media posts, and nonstop discussion about what’s happening in the world due to the global pandemic. It’s a time of worry, job loss, and loneliness, and it can be hard even on the strongest person, so it’s important to try to avoid overloading your mind with information and stay positive by focusing on activities to keep you busy. The right option for you depends on your interests and resources, but some options include, starting a creative project or hobby like painting, coloring, gardening, sewing, or knitting.Read a book or listen to a podcast. Practice daily meditation to ease your mind and spend some time with yourself. Use puzzles, board games, and card games to occupy your mind in a healthy way, while also spending quality time with those you may be quarantined with.
Maintain your social connections and relationships
Free video chat platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts let you have face-to-face conversations with friends and family you’re unable to visit. You can even play games remotely. Rather than a text, email, or phone call, video chats make your conversations more personal and intimate.
Get some exercise
Being forced to stay home all day makes it a little too easy to relax on the couch. While binge-watching the newest Netflix or Hulu series makes quarantine seem like a vacation, studies have shown that there are plenty of negative effects caused by binge-watching TV-including higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Combat these downsides by staying active. Gyms and fitness studios may be closed, but with plenty of free online resources like guided fitness videos and live yoga classes, there are endless opportunities to staying physically active at home.
Get fresh air every day
While everyone is working to do their part to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19, it may seem a little difficult to get outside the house aside from essential activities like going to the grocery store. However, research shows that spending time in nature can effectively lessen anxiety and stress by reducing blood pressure and heart rate. Even if your local parks or trails are closed at the moment, stepping outside for even a few minutes each day will help to calm your mind and refocus your energy on positivity. A little bit of fresh air and vitamin C will go a long way for your mental wellbeing.
Stick to a regular routine
The sudden disturbance of daily routines and regularities has not only caused stress and anxiety on the mind but on our bodies as well. People are having to adapt to a new temporary way of life-from working from home to losing time with friends and family to missing out on daily exercise. Keeping a routine every day will help your mind stay organized and equipped to take on the day. Here are some ways you can revise your routine in quarantine:
- Set a consistent time to wake up and go to bed every day.
- Stick to a regular meal plan schedule. Sitting at home all day may make it easy to snack or drink that extra cup of coffee, but by sticking to normal meal times you can keep your routine balanced.
- Determine a goal for each day. Whether you plan to finish a project, read a book, or go for a walk, carve out some time in your day for this specific goal.
- Imitate regular life as much as possible. If you’re adjusting to working from home, avoid wearing pajamas all day, and set up a designated workspace to keep yourself motivated.
The COVID-19 global pandemic we’re experiencing is life-changing. Luckily, humans are willing and able to adapt in the face of struggle. While the current state of the world may seem overwhelming, just keep in mind the importance of your personal wellbeing and find what works best for you to overcome stress and anxiety. If you find yourself struggling to cope, there are endless amounts of resources available to you. But just remember: we’re all in this together.