Isolating at home is an essential measure to prevent the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 virus, protecting yourself and the most vulnerable members of your community. However, social distancing and the disruption of everyday routines can affect your mental health. During this Mental Health Month and throughout the rest of quarantine, what are some healthy coping mechanisms you can count on?
1. Take Breaks for Self-Care
Amid the other responsibilities that comprise your day, make time to sleep, exercise and eat nutritious meals. Find activities that help you relax, such as baking, meditating or pursuing an artistic endeavor. Keeping up with news about coronavirus is important, but you can’t stay glued to the news cycle all the time if you want to prioritize your mental well-being. Recognize when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, and step away to do something enjoyable.
2. Reach out to Others
If the prospect of staying indefinitely quarantined has you feeling on edge, fight off cabin fever by staying in touch with family, friends or co-workers. Doing so could be as straightforward as sending a quick text that says, “I’m thinking about you,” or you could take things to the next level and organize a virtual scavenger hunt or home poker game. You don’t have to be in the same room with people to enjoy good company and feel a sense of connection.
3. Remind Yourself of the Need to Isolate
After spending a month or more in quarantine, you may lose sight of why you’re doing this. If you start feeling frustrated, consider that even people who are asymptomatic have spread the virus to others. By doing your part to prevent the spread of this deadly disease, you are providing a community service by keeping your neighbors healthy and ensuring that people who are sick can access the resources they need.
4. Recognize When You Need Help
Even when you’re isolating, you’re never alone. Plenty of online resources exist to help people get through this unprecedented challenge, and it seems more are cropping up daily. Everyone is working through COVID-19 and social isolation somewhat differently, but there’s no wrong way to ask for help if you need it. Make a list of people you can contact if you’re struggling, such as your therapist, a sibling or a recovery sponsor.
5. Avoid Boredom
When you only leave the house for essential errands and are sharing a limited amount of space with roommates or family members, the days can start to blend together. Preserve your mental health by staying physically and mentally active. If you’ve been spending most of your time sitting, set a timer to remind you to get up and move around at least once an hour. Even short bursts of activity – like five minutes of jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches or triceps dips – are enough to get your heart rate elevated and give you a burst of energy. Take a moment each day to stretch your mental muscles, too. Work on a crossword puzzle, or read an informative article on a topic related to something other than the coronavirus.
Start Your Recovery Journey Today
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