7 Ways Quarantine Has Been Good for Your Health

Staying home may be doing more for your mental and physical health than you ever imagined.

It's easy to feel like anything related to COVID-19 only has a negative impact on your well-being, from having bad dreams to feeling heightened levels of anxiety and stress. However, there are a surprising number of ways staying indoors may actually be changing things for the better when it comes to your health. So, if you need some added incentive to stay at home, discover these quarantine health benefits you may have overlooked.

You eat healthier and cook more.

dad cooking with his daughter, skills parents should teach kids

For many people, a healthier diet is one of the biggest silver linings of being in quarantine. "You have the time to pay more attention to your nutrition," says psychologist Nekeshia Hammond, PsyD. "Many people have started cooking more at home and taking vitamins to help their immune system." And according to a multinational study conducted by Global Web Index, that trend seems likely to continue—15 percent of those polled said they plan to continue healthier eating habits going forward.

You spend more time working out.

Man running on the treadmill at the gym

All that extra time inside—and a sudden lack of time spent commuting—has made it easier for many people to find time in their day to prioritize their physical fitness.

In fact, according to the Global Web Index study, 40 percent of those polled said they planned to keep up with their habit of exercising more even after orders to quarantine are lifted. And if you want to stay fit, discover these 23 Easy Exercises You Can Do at Home During Quarantine.

And spend more time playing sports.

Father and Son Playing Soccer Parenting

There's never been a better time to play a game of catch with your kids, kick around a soccer ball with your spouse, or learn to ride a bike. And according to the Global Web Index study, 18 percent of people polled imagined themselves continuing their new sporty lifestyle in the future. And if you could use a little extra "me time," start with these 15 Effective Self-Care Tips That Are Made for Quarantine.

You spend more time with family at home.

Family playing board game

While long workdays and social demands once made it difficult for many people to connect with their family members, in quarantine, "we're able to slow down and reconnect with our loved ones," says licensed mental health counselor Dana Carretta-Stein, owner of Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling. Better yet, the Global Web Index study found that 26 percent of families plan on doing the same once the pandemic has subsided.

And more time connecting with them virtually.

Older couple looking at a phone surprised

"Finding creative ways to connect with our loved ones is at an all-time high," says psychologist Chantal Côté of Pyramid Psychology. Eight percent of Global Web Index subjects indicated an intention to keep up those communications in the future—and doing so might just be a boon to your health. In fact, a 2018 study published in BMC Geriatrics reveals that elderly individuals who consistently video chatted with family found doing so to be "very beneficial" to overall well-being and helped reduce social isolation.

You spend more time pursuing your interests.

young black mother reading book to son

Whether you're finally digging into War and Peace or honing your needlepoint skills, quarantine has provided many people the lack of external distractions they need to finally tackle some more mindful activities. 

"Daily life is usually too busy to focus on self-care, so now is your opportunity to calm your brain and de-stress," says post-graduate psychiatry resident Patricia Celan, MD.

Celan notes that quarantine provides "more time to enjoy the little things in life that can give you a sense of contentment and relaxation, such as warm baths, enjoying a good book, and sipping tea without the usual pressure to meet your responsibilities quickly." According to Global Web Index's data, these changes may not be short-lived, either—13 percent of those polled planned to continue reading or listening to more audio books and four percent planned to continue devoting extra time to reading magazines. And for some ideas on things to try, check out 13 New Hobbies to Master During Quarantine.

You're more likely to declutter.

Woman packing up boxes getting ready to move

If you're going to be at home—and likely being a bit more fastidious about your cleaning efforts—why not take the time to get your space organized? "There is a great correlation between order in our environments and order in our heads," explains clinical psychologist Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD, CHt. In fact, according to a 2010 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, subjects whose homes were cluttered or otherwise "chaotic" had higher levels of stress hormone cortisol than their neater counterparts.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more