Mental Health Wellness Tips for Quarantine
- Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time. Create a schedule that includes time for self-care as well as work.
- Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.
- Get some fresh air. Go outside at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned about contact, try going first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and take less traveled streets. If you are unable to leave the house, open the windows and blast the fan.
- Find some time to move your body each day, for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!
- Reach out to friends and family, at least once daily. Use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, phone calls, or texting—connect with friends and loved ones to obtain and provide support. And don’t forget to help your children with this as well! Set up virtual playdates with friends via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!
- Stay hydrated and eat well. Stress and confinement can have a big impact on our eating habits , We may find ourselves over-indulging or forgetting to eat. Remember to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced, nutritious diet, And consider challenging yourself and your loved ones to learn how to cook something new!
- Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). Here’s an idea for each to get you started: a soft blanket (or stuffed animal for your kids), a cup of hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, and a weighted blanket. Consider journaling, reading an inspirational book, or coloring in a coloring book to calm the mind.
- Spend extra time playing with children. In addition to being a source of fun and connection, lay can be cathartic and help children learn to problem solve and stay present.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth when necessary. Every person will have moments when they are not at their best, and being cooped up and in each other’s space doesn’t help matters. Try not to sweat the small stuff, and to not show up to every argument you are invited to. Almost everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this difficult time.
- Find your own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is a good idea to try to separate work space from the rest of the house, and to identify space dedicated to relaxation. For children, consider helping them to identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”.
- Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. Children rely on structure and routines constructed by their caregivers to make them feel safe and to shape expectations. Don’t be surprised by an increase in anxiety and fear, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, limit testing, and/or meltdowns.
- Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. We are inundated with information on COVID-19,. Limit your consumption of news to a few brief sessions a day. Try to Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children.
- Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. But there are also stories of people sacrificing, donating money and time, and supporting one another in inspiring ways. It is important to counterbalance the heavy information with the hopeful information.
- Help others. Find ways, big and small, to help those who are suffering the most. Support restaurants, check in with elderly neighbors, raise money for the unemployed—helping others can give us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.
- Find a project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.
- Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts. Find a creative activity (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) to try out.
- Find lightness and humor in each day. Try to counterbalance the heaviness with something funny each day: comedy videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.
- Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. If you are having difficulty coping and don’t have a therapist, consider seeking professional help for the first time.
- Remind yourself daily that this too shall pass. We will return to feeling free, safe, fulfilled , and connected in the days ahead.
- Recommended activities for self-care that actually help quell the nerves and release the stress while practicing social distancing and quarantine:
– Breathing Exercises
– Don’t spend too much time online – Having trouble with that? Install a website blocker to prevent repeated visits to sites that may produce more anxiety
– Take a bath, light a candle, have a cup of tea – Either all at once, or one at a time, find ways to relax and unwind.
– Start a gratitude list or a happiness jar – write down things that you appreciate in your life and put them on the list or in the jar. When you need a little pick-me-up, pull a piece of paper out of the happiness jar (or refer to your list) for a reminder.
– Start/revisit a hobby – Knitting, painting, drawing, scrapbooking, sing/karaoke, writing/journaling, sing… just to name a few.
– Read – If you want to make it a group activity, read aloud. Take turns reading from the book.
– Experiment in the kitchen – Take chances, be bold, make something unexpected, or make something you love.
– Organize – There’s always that drawer that needs some help, take an afternoon to clean it out, declutter it, and if you’re feeling bold, donate/purge the things you haven’t used in over a year.
– Watch a fun series or movie – Even when we are inundated with the news cycle on every device, take some time away from it to watch a little lighter fare
– Have pets? – Snuggle them. Play with them.
– Call your friends and family – Even if you live by yourself, you’re not alone. Call friends, neighbors, family– check-in. Odds are they need it just as much as you do.
– Listen to a podcast – Try these: “On the Power of Unplugging”, “On Creativity, Empathy & Resiliency”, “That Escalated Quickly”, “Change your Story, Change your Life”, “On Being Wise”