Many of us have been living with some level of quarantine or lock down for a few weeks now in the wake of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. And without a doubt we are all getting a little stir crazy. Some of you may have a house full of children with energy to burn, and others may be by themselves and struggling with loneliness. Whatever your home circumstances are, we are all experiencing different levels of anxiety about the uncertainty of the future. Finances, health, and loved ones are all things impacted by this pandemic. And with so many unknowns swirling around us, it's time to focus on the ways we can be good to ourselves. Here are 7 simple ideas for self care during quarantine:
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests physical exercise can have a positive impact on mental health. Regular exercise increases the volume of blood and oxygen to the brain, helping to reduce the effects of stress. It may be difficult right now to follow your regular exercise routine, especially with gyms closed. But that's not a good reason to give it up entirely. There are a ton of at-home workout options through the internet or your cable provider. And if your neighborhood allows for outdoor exercise while still maintaining social distance, you can ride your bike or go for a walk to get your heart rate up.
Mindfulness is all about being grounded in the present moment and not letting other things distract or disrupt you. Right now, it's way too easy to obsessively worry about the future. But taking time to stop and be present, focusing on your breath, can bring a sense of peace and comfort in a chaotic time. It's surprisingly hard to sit quietly and just focus on breathing, but the benefits are well worth the effort. There are plenty of apps out there to assist with practicing mindfulness, like Calm or Headspace, and you might find that a side bonus is improved sleep quality.
Finish a Project
Since we're all stuck at home trying to keep occupied, why not use some of the extra time to finish a project you've had on your list for awhile? Maybe you've been meaning to clean out your linen closet or organize a box of family photos. You now have concentrated time to get things done around your home that have been sitting unfinished for awhile. The sense of achievement you'll feel when you tick that item off your list will definitely help ease the struggle of feeling cooped up.
Talk to a Loved One
Through the magic of technology, you can reach out to family members or friends and see how they are doing even if you can't be with them physically. Swapping quarantine war stories can help you feel less alone and increase your sense of community and connection even during a time of separation. Do a video chat. Text someone you haven't communicated with for awhile. Find a support group online. Extending care and empathy for others can do wonders for your own anxiety. We are all in this together!
Get Fresh Air
Depending on where you live in the world, getting fresh air may not be easy, but try to do it nevertheless. Even if it's just opening a window and sticking your head out to breath the springtime in, give it a go! You need to feel the sunshine on your face. Hear the birds chirping, and smell the world coming back to life after winter. Sit on your front porch or back patio. Get in your backyard and enjoying a bit of gardening activities. Breath in the world around you and practice some mindfulness. You are alive and well right now in this moment.
Learn Something New
New experiences aren't just about trying the latest restaurant or visiting a new city. You can have new experiences at home too. With all this extra time is there something you've always wanted to learn that you kept putting off? Maybe you haven't picked up your guitar in awhile and it's time to learn a new tune. Maybe you've always wanted to make homemade pasta but it seemed intimidating. Thanks to YouTube videos and free apps, you can learn a new language, download free sheet music, watch a tutorial on making a container garden, or start a photography project. Make a list of things you've always wanted to do and pick one to start working on. If not now, when?
Limit News Exposure
Most of these self care ideas focus on things you can positively be doing. But here's a word of caution. The amount of exposure you have to news on the COVID-19 outbreak could be connected to the level of worry you're experiencing. Consider limiting your exposure to the news. In fact, you may want to take a news free day and really focus on the good things going on in your life. We all want to stay informed, but obsessive dwelling on the situation can take a serious toll on mental health. This includes social media. A lot of misinformation and fear-mongering can hide amongst your friends' posts. There may be some benefit in taking a social media free day to let your mind unwind and enjoy some of these self care ideas.
Please share your own tips for self care during the COVID-19 quarantine and be well!