6 Social and Mental Health Tips For Quarantine
June. 29, 2020
The current pandemic is like nothing that the world has ever seen. Our lives are shaken up - the sense of routine and the financial stability pulled out from under our feet. Here is a deeper look into the impacts of COVID - 19, and what changes we can make in our day-to-day lives to stay calm and connected.
With lockdown rules in place, many of us are separated physically and isolated in quarantine. As a big part of our routine relies on social interaction, it’s easy to feel lost and alone. There is a ton of research on the benefits of social interaction for mental and physical health. To sum it up, the biggest two are longer lives and healthier habits.
Here are some tips for restoring order and social connection back into our daily lives.
Establishing a Day-to-Day Routine
This is tremendously important during this time, and establishing a routine will restore order and organization back into our lives. Start by breaking your day into chunks - morning, afternoon and evening. Schedule in various tasks into each part of the day for when you’re most productive, and make sure you schedule in time for social connection.
A 30-minute call may not seem like a big deal, but it can help tremendously to uplift your mood and let you take a break from work! On Sundays, I especially love to carve out a good chunk of time just to catch up with some friends.
Use Technology For Good
Many regard technology as a big time waster during this quarantine, and it really could be. However, you can also use it for good.
See this extra time as a tool, and connect with those you normally don’t have the chance to talk to due to the busy schedule. Have zoom chats with friends and family, and even schedule virtual events together, such as study sessions and workout times! The possibilities are truly endless.
Also, use technology as a tool to stay up to date with what’s happening. Be sure to be conscious of your media intake though, and set a time if you get easily overwhelmed. Stay in tune, but don’t give in to panic!
Practice Self Compassion
We can’t always be around people, but during this difficult time, let’s train ourselves to be our own best friend.
Practice self-compassion, and be gentle with yourself. Self-compassion leads to high self-esteem and lower stress and anger levels. The next time you’re feeling frustrated with how things are going, take a deep breath and simply say to yourself, “You’re doing great, and I believe you are exactly where you need to be. Good job, and it’s okay to take a break.”
It may seem silly to talk to yourself, but it’s very encouraging and feels like a warm hug!
Another way to practice self-compassion is to speak aloud or write down self-affirmations. Here are a few of my favorites.
I am always doing better than I think.
I am exactly where I need to be.
I am a friendly and compassionate friend, to others and to myself.
Impacts on Mental Health
The media portrays a ton of discouraging statistics, such as death toll and businesses shutting down due to lack of income, which could be immensely draining on mental health. Know that if you’re feeling worse than usual, it’s normal and you’re not alone. Here are some tips you can apply to help yourself feel more at peace.
Practice Meditation and Shutting Technology Off
Once you’re mindlessly scrolling or refreshing the same page for the fifth time, it’s time to shut it off. See this time as a chance to get to know yourself better. Take time to yourself, set goals for the upcoming weeks, journal your thoughts, and just enjoy the little things you usually gloss over.
If you feel like you need to recollect your thoughts, look into meditation or guided breathing. One of my favorites is this simple 3 minute guided meditation, it helps clear my head after completing assignments!
Don’t Ignore Your Mental Health
If you feel your anxiety higher than usual or your mental health getting worse, don’t ignore it with the hope that it’ll go away. Express your feelings instead of repressing them. Talk to a friend or journal it out - there are a ton of therapy options available online during this time!
Pay attention to your mental health and remind yourself that it’s okay. This situation is temporary and it’ll pass. By focussing on your mental health rather than suppressing it, it can reduce anxiety and even increase productivity!
Shift Your Focus
This is different from ignoring your mental health, but rather shifting your focus after acknowledging the problem. Focus on what needs to be completed, and also the admin tasks you might usually not have the time to do.
For example, whenever I feel myself getting restless, here are a few tasks I turn to.
Working out - even a short one helps!
Goal setting - envisioning the future month or upcoming weeks
Creating art -whether that’s through doing a photoshoot, drawing, or writing my thoughts down
Playing with my dog - did you know being around pets can decrease your stress levels?
Hopefully, these tips have helped give more insight into the mental health and social consequences of COVID - 19 and aspects that are less talked about. Try out these tips to restore some order back into your life.
If you're looking for more like this, feel free to check out these resources from Karen's blog, Rosethorns and Honeydew.
How to Schedule and Time-Block Your Day
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