The world is reacting to the coronavirus with a variety of different reactions and expectations. Some of these are simple, such as the perfectly reasonable request for everyone to properly wash their hands. Some require more work, such as social distancing and quarantining yourself if you’re sick. And then there are others that are nearly unheard of, such as issuing “shelter in place” orders for vast swaths of states, nations, and even the world as a whole.
If you find that your life has been impacted by the COVID-19 scare, and at this point, that’s certainly likely, here are a few coping suggestions as you sit at home and have nothing to do but amuse yourself with your electronic gadgets.
Watch Your Mental Health
Sometimes mental health distress can arise from something as simple as the food you eat. However, in the midst of a pandemic in addition to quarantine, there are many, many other things that can creep into the mental health picture. That’s why it’s important to take stock of your mental health on a regular basis.
For starters, begin by combing over your digital usage. On a purely physical level, over-exposure to blue light can have a serious, negative effect on your ability to rest. On top of that, dwelling on social media and reading the latest news headlines can expose you to a slew of potentially negative thoughts and emotions.
If you’re going to use social media, use filters to get rid of the “Negative Nellie” comments in your feeds whenever possible. If you’re going to read the headlines, do so with an end goal in mind and then stop.
In addition to cutting off these sources of mental distress, it’s also important to embrace positive activities as well. You can start by researching cognitive distortions, working to identify when you’re thinking negatively, and then trying to shift your mindset. In addition, look for ways to stay active and keep your brain busy. Anything from cleaning the house to listening to a podcast, working on a creative project, or even developing a new style for your wardrobe can help you keep the negative thoughts at bay.
Be Proactive About Your Body
Alongside guarding your mind and emotions, it’s important to work hard to maintain your physical health. Sitting at home and twiddling your thumbs with nothing better to do than peruse Facebook is a recipe for unhealthiness.
Instead, as you work to weed out that digital usage and cut down on your social media and blue light exposure, look to replace it with healthy activities that are focused on exercise. If you’re stuck inside, try looking up an aerobics class on Youtube or download a 7-minute workout app on your phone.
If you can get outside, your options are nearly endless. Go for a walk, look for a lightly-used hiking trail, or work on your yard. Things like gardening and lawn care can be the perfect balm, both for your physical condition and for your mental wellness.
The point is, just because you can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get creative as you look for ways to stay physically active.
In addition, make sure to keep up your healthy food intake. Depression and anxiety — not to mention boredom — can lead to the fearsome temptations to overeat and seek out comfort food. Challenge yourself regularly, comb over your past meal choices, start a food journal, and only stock your pantry with healthy food options.
Organize Your Space
Thoughtful organization is key when you’re stuck in the same living space for days, weeks, and months on end. There are several reasons for this. It’s well known that clutter can play a significant role in how we feel. If you allow your living space to get messy, it’s going to add to the mental strain that you’re already dealing with.
Beyond the stress factor, though, organizing your living space is essential if you’re going to use it for multiple activities. Take sleep, relaxation, and work as an example. If you work in your bed, you’re likely going to have a hard time drifting off in the same spot when it comes time to sleep. In the same vein, if you relax in your office, you may find it distracting and difficult to focus on work.
Strive to designate areas of your living space for each major activity. Then look for ways to organize and neaten each space to help you reduce the discouraging, stressful effects of a cluttered space. Everything from tucking away that pile of cords under your work desk to fully embracing minimalism can help you maintain your sanity.
Maintaining Yourself in the Midst of a Pandemic
As the world waits for quarantine measures to be lifted, it’s critical that you make an effort to maintain your mental, emotional, and physical health. Fight against the natural proclivities of quarantine by being proactive and striving to cultivate a positive attitude.
It’s only by pushing against this natural slide into despondency that each of us can fight to survive and thrive, even through the most uncertain periods of life.