Don’t Let Your Time In Quarantine, Turn Into A Time Of Depression.
With the pandemic of COVID-19 sweeping the world, our lives are being turned upside down. With the world around us closed down, we are learning and getting use to this “new normal”. There is a lot that we can’t control right now, but there are some things we can control, and it is important we make the most of those things. In tough times like this, it is important to pay close attention to how you are doing mentally. It is easy to get down when there seems to be so much sadness and boredom surrounding us. With that said, I am here to help with some tips and guidance to keep your mental health in check through this crazy time of COVID-19.
I once described to my therapist, “I don’t feel like I am currently truly depressed, but I feel like I am living as if I were depressed”. I had just had ankle surgery and couldn’t walk for two months, meaning, I was alone in my apartment with my butt on the couch for two months. Now with social distancing and isolation going on, some of those same feelings have started to arise again. In this article you can expect to learn a few ways to help keep your mindset in a positive place during this time spent away from each other.
Keep a routine and respect a healthy sleep pattern! I know it can be difficult to get up and going for the day, when your days are currently far different than normal for most. Keeping your days as close to your normal day-to-day lives (life without a pandemic), can really help you maintain feeling in control of your life. What’s the point of going to bed on time if you don’t have to wake up early? The point is that it can have a major impact on how you feel. Watch your sleeping patterns, are you sleeping too much? Not enough? Sleeping a healthy amount is important in feeling healthy, mentally and physically. Remember, you can over sleep, possibly making you feel more tired!
Stay as active as possible. Permitting what you are allowed to do, go on walks! If you have a place nearby in nature, even better. Just make sure you keep your safe distances. Go get some steps in, take in some fresh air and jam to some of your favorite tunes. Can’t get out? Do what you can at home to stay active. Try an online work out video, do some stretches, sit ups, dance, anything! Just get your beautiful body moving a little a bit.
Stay in tune with how you are feeling about the amount of time you are spending alone, or with you quarantine buddy. You may not be able to control how much time you spend all alone, but make sure you acknowledge how it makes you feel. There are many different ways to communicate with each other these days, make sure you put in the effort and utilize the communication methods you prefer in order to stay connected to your friends and family. Zoom, a video chat platform has been very popular during this pandemic. Get creative with how you spend your time together over a video call! Have a double date, play a game, you could even have a drink “together” after work! Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, you now most likely have the time! On the flip side, you could possibly start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of time being spent with the people who you are spending quarantine with. You may love them to death, but eventually, anyone can start to get on your nerves after being in a confined space for a long time. Accept that it is completely okay to have some time apart. Try spending some time working or doing your own thing in different locations of your home. Now, if it’s your kids driving you crazy, you are just going to have to hang in there and I wish you the best of luck!
Don’t overdo yourself with social media! With the extra time on your hands or the boredom of staying inside without normal socialization, it is easy to spend a plentiful amount of time on social media. We have all heard that too much social media can be bad for us, and it is true! In an article posted by HelpGuide.org it was simply explained as; “Ironically for a technology that’s designed to bring people closer together, spending too much time engaging with social media can actually make you feel more lonely and isolated — and exacerbate mental health problems such as anxiety and depression” (Lawrence Robinson and Melinda Smith). Keep track of how social media makes you feel. Media is not worth making you less of a happy person!
Enjoy the little things and fill yourself with gratitude. I cannot stress this enough. Filling your heart and mind with gratitude makes it much harder for negative thoughts to consume you. Sometimes it may feel like there is nothing to be thankful for, I can promise you however, that there is always something to be thankful for. Harvard Medical School conducted research on how gratitude can impact happiness. Harvard went to publish the following conclusion about their study; “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships” (Harvard Health Publishing). Don’t forget to give thanks to all the little things in life as well. Taking extra time to give more appreciation to the small joys in life will leave you feeling much more whole hearted.
Stay in touch with your body and emotions. Listening to how you are feeling and acting upon them in ways that you can, is so important. Never be ashamed or embarrassed by your emotions. In this time especially, there are so many possible emotions to feel. You are allowed to feel whatever emotions come your way! With that said, it is important to do what you can to make sure those emotions are as healthy as possible. Track how certain things make you feel, and find things that help improve negative emotions. Remember that you do have control over somethings that effect your emotions! Do you feel crappy after eating bad food? Try to find some healthy options to fuel your body. Does watching 8 hours of Netflix make you feel sluggish? Listen to how these things are making you feel and do what you can to make small changes towards feeling better!
HelpGuide.org, Authors: Lawrence Robinson and Melinda Smith, M.A. Last updated: January 2020.
Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.