Being self-quarantined can be very stressful during these “unprecedented times”. With words like Coronavirus and COVID-19 everywhere, how can we take care of ourselves during this critical time? I know some of you are feeling overwhelmed with the task of homeschooling your children, being locked in for these next few weeks, and having very little physical contact with the outside world. I would like to offer you a few suggestions to help you cope with the stress of self-quarantine and following the “stay at home order”.
Keep a regular schedule
It may start to feel like a long vacation but without some sort of structure you will start to feel less and less grounded. We crave a sense of normalcy in our lives. Try to push yourself to get up at the same time every day, plan your workday or school day. This might include things like exercise, work, leisure, and social interaction. Keeping a regular schedule will help maintain a sense of some control over things in your life during this time.
Make Healthy Food Choices
There may be a lot of temptation right now to binge on junk food/comfort food, but this won’t help you in the long run. Make sure you get enough fruits, vegetables and lean protein to help you maintain a healthy body.
Just because we have a shelter-in-place order that doesn’t mean we can’t go outside. Consider going for a walk or a bike ride. (Respecting appropriate social distancing.) Exercise and fresh air both help to keep us our body healthy. There are a ton of great options. I have seen a lot of trainers posting free work outs for people to follow at home. So, whether you are into Yoga, weightlifting, Pilates, or dancing, you can find some options on the internet. Get your kids involved too. Staying active can help your mental health too.
Get Good Sleep
It is very easy and tempting for us to binge watch Netflix or stay up late watching movies. But getting a good night sleep is important for your immune system, mental health, and physical health. A minimum of 7-8 hours a night should be the goal. If your sleep is already out of sorts, try to create a nighttime routine to get yourself back on a regular schedule.
Spending time out of your day to reflect on things can be calming. When we pray it can be helpful to remember the parts of prayer: Adoration (Give God praise & honor), Confession (Honestly state your struggles and weaknesses), Thanksgiving (Verbalize what things you are grateful for), and Supplication (Pray for the needs of others & yourself). Prayer and Meditation have some potential effects on raising your immunity as well as maintaining good mental health. Mindfulness exercises such as being mindful while you’re eating, doing the dishes, or going for a walk can help your brain maintain a healthy space. Things such as anxiety and depression can slip in very quickly so it’s important for you to be mindful and stay in the moment without over thinking.
Limit the News
There is so much “unknown” about this virus and there is breaking news coverage every day. We can easily get caught up in information overload and fatigue. Limit the amount of news that you take in each day. I know that this is difficult to do but please try to unplug as best as you can.
Take Care of Each Other
It is easy to get caught up in the anxiety from all of this, or to just focus on yourself or your immediate family. But you are not alone. This is affecting the whole world. It is important that we support our neighbors and all the workers who are out there on the front lines. Be sure to thank them with gratitude and appreciation. If you are well and your neighbor needs help getting supplies, ask them if you can help them by going to the store for them.
Lastly, Stay Connected
Call or text a friend, family member, or therapist during this time. We have been ordered to practice “social distancing” but we are social creatures and must remain connected with others. Let’s call this “physical distancing” instead. Thankfully, there are options to stay connected with those we care about through FaceTime, phone, or text. Counseling support is also still available even if you are home bound with HIPPA compliant telehealth options that allow for either FaceTime or phone options.