9 Tips on How to Stay Calm During the Quarantine
Self-quarantining is a challenge, but these basic tips for staying calm can keep your mind healthy.
For many Americans, the second week of self-quarantining and self-distancing is coming to a close, and unless a dramatic shift in coronavirus data reveals itself, it looks like the quarantine will continue for many more weeks to come. While our universal self-sacrificing of personal activities illustrates the wonder of the human spirit, for anyone stuck at home for the umpteenth consecutive day, living in relative isolation is a remarkable challenge. In fact, it's starting to be its own public health issue, but one of mental health. And if you're wondering how to stay calm amid such panic, you're not alone.
Medical professionals are starting to speak out about the very real danger of anxiety and possible panic that the public is starting to feel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Fox News recently, Dr. Oz said, "These symptoms can cause all kinds of detrimental effects, which is why a lot of doctors are feeling that the worry and panic about coronavirus is going to be worse than the actual coronavirus for them."
Meanwhile, Ezekiel Emanual, MD, hit the same note on MSNBC's Morning Joe, saying, "Desperation and panic don't help. We need cool, calm response to the crisis."
So how do you stay calm and cool and not go stir crazy while in quarantine at home? Here are daily practices that are proven to help with mental health, when we all need it most. And for more ideas, check out 11 Expert-Backed Ways to Manage Your Mental Health While Self-Isolating.
Develop a routine.
Falling out of one's daily routine is unsettling. Since many of us are now working from home, or are no longer waking up and getting kids ready and out the door for school, our regular day-to-day schedule is off. To combat this feeling of being lost at sea, create a new routine and schedule for the quarantine. Set your alarm and wake up at the same time every day. Plan on meals at roughly the same time and consider a basic schedule for your daily activities. Staying in control of the day's plans goes a very long way in maintaining a positive outlook. And for more ideas on optimism, check out these 30 Super Effective Positive Affirmations You Can Use Every Day.
Turn off the news.
Yes, we are living through a historic time, and keeping well-informed about recent developments and updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic is very important. But there is also such a thing as being over-informed. Keeping cable news on your television non-stop can be hazardous to your mental health. If you want to stare at a screen, there is no shortage of great movies and TV shows that can give you a nice vacation from the news. And for some ideas, check out 9 TV Shows We're Watching While in Quarantine.
While social distancing guidelines are clear about avoiding groups of people, it's still OK to go for a long walk. And the longer the walk, the better. Try to schedule an hour for yourself to be outside of the house, and depending on where you live relative to other people, perhaps go for a couple of walks. Being outside and seeing other people—from a safe distance—reminds you that the larger world is still out there and that you are not alone. And for more motivation to start walking, check out 30 Reasons Why Walking Is the Best Exercise.
You don't need to be a yoga expert to work out at home—nor do you need a fancy stationary bike or home workout equipment. If you are just starting out, don't be afraid to get on the floor and stretch. Work your legs, your back, and maybe follow with some old-school exercises like squats, planks, ab crunches, and leg lifts. Exercising every day is not only good for your body, but it also provides an important sense of accomplishment. The best way to deal with the blues is to work it out. And for some at-home exercise tips, check out The 15 Best Exercises for People Over 50.
The downside of stocking up on food for a long period of time is that your kitchen pantry may be loaded with temptation. In fact, it's probably a safe bet that national snacking levels are at an all-time high. That said, going out of one's way to eat healthy balanced meals that include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and unprocessed proteins treats your body well and helps you feel good about yourself, both physically and mentally. And for more ideas about getting healthy, check out 100 Easy Science-Backed Ways to Get Healthy in 2020.
Practice good hygiene.
It may sound simple, but taking a shower and getting dressed each day helps a ton in making you feel good. Yes, most people find house clothes and warm-ups to be comfortable and that's OK. But the lack of interaction with other human beings also seems to come with less personal hygiene. Take regular showers, get dressed, and even make yourself up or shave regularly if that makes you feel good.
Connect with others.
We are living in a magical time of remote communication tools. Whether you use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or just an old-school phone, don't be afraid to reach out to friends and family. Arrange a happy hour cocktail session with an old friend or someone you want to check in with. The best way to avoid isolation is to stay in touch with others.
Keep your home tidy.
A clear sign of low-level depression is an unkempt household. If there are dishes piled up in the sink or kids' toys strewn across the family room, take 30 minutes out of your day and tidy up. Keeping an organized home gives you a sense of staying in control and makes your environment infinitely more pleasant to spend your day in. Take charge and keep it clean.
It's important to remember that this is a challenging time for everyone, and as a result, national nerves are frayed. Know that you are not alone and that the compassion you provide to others will almost certainly be returned… in kind. Keep calm, and carry on! And for more helpful information, check out: 7 Coronavirus Myths You Need to Stop Believing, According to Doctors.