In our recent blog posts, we’ve been discussing how to take care of yourself while staying at home. Most states have a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, which means it’s important to stay at home when possible and to practice social distancing when leaving the house. We’ve talked about how to stay physically fit, as well as healthy eating habits, but mental health is also incredibly important during this time.
We know that some people are self-isolating alone, and others are with family or roommates, but no matter what the situation, during troubling times like these, anyone can find themselves with high levels of anxiety or even “cabin fever.” These are truly unprecedented times, so many people are experiencing feeling cooped up, uncomfortable, and worried. Here are some tips that can help you stay mentally healthy while at home.
Daily tips for mental health
Some of us find it helpful to stick to a routine, but others find trying to maintain a routine even more stressful. Either practice is fine and should depend on the person’s preference. Whether you add these items to your routine or not, here are things you should try to do every day.
- Make your bed and put on clean clothes (even if they are lounge clothes). When you make your bed in the morning, it means you’ve accomplished something, so even if you do nothing the rest of the day, you get into a clean, made bed at the end of it. And while most of us have ditched the formal clothes, it’s important to put on a clean outfit each day instead of staying in pajamas.
- Go outside if you can; if not, open windows and shades. If you live in a crowded area, then going outside might not be an option. Alternatively, try going for a short walk early in the morning when you are less likely to see people. When there are others around, just make sure to keep six feet apart. If you cannot go outside, be sure to open your windows and shades to see some natural light and get fresh air in your space. You’ll be surprised how refreshing this can be.
- Do some sort of exercise, even if it’s just ten minutes. Getting active will help you stay focused, so aim to do some sort of exercise each day. This could be simply ten minutes of walking up and down the stairs just to get your heart rate going.
- Do something to stimulate your mind. While there are many great shows on TV, each day try to do a mental activity. You could read a book, play Sudoku, listen to music, but be sure not to stare at your phone the whole time.
General tips for mental health
While you don’t have to do the following tips on a daily basis necessarily, make sure to work them into your schedule.
- Video chat friends and families. People around the country are having video chat happy hours and lunch dates to stay connected with friends. Using the video chat tool on your phone or try Zoom or Skype to connect with loved ones.
- Foster a pet (if you can). More and more people are fostering pets to stave off loneliness and because we have more time. Pets provide great comfort during difficult times, so if you think you have the capacity to do so, contact your local animal shelter.
- Pamper yourself. From facemasks to new foot scrubs, there are many ways to pamper yourself during this time. Try doing something for yourself each week as a treat.
- Improve your space. Now is the time to do mini-home improvement projects. Have you been meaning to fix that shelf? Make a goal of fixing something each week. Alternatively, give something a deep clean. We can all probably give our ovens or fridges a cleaning, so try doing a project like this once per week.
- Try a new hobby. If you’ve always wanted to try a new craft, now is the time. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to knit or paint, so if you can get the supplies, let yourself be creative.
Prioritizing your health
It’s important to prioritize your mental health during this time. For some, that means taking part of the day not to talk about or read news about Covid-19, which is perfectly fine. Everyone is experiencing a variety of stress and anxiety now, so be sure to check in with yourself and stay healthy.
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