Many people during this time of quarantine and self-isolation have a lot of free time on their hands. This may be due to their jobs closing or a lost opportunity. You are not alone.
Being a university student home for the summer and unable to work has disrupted my routine. This results in me, like many others, having the necessity of trying to figure out how to manage Coronavirus while also creating new routines or plans. For this balance of activity and stress management mindfulness of any anxiety and/or other mental health concerns should be continuously examined.
To keep busy and set up a routine there are some things that you can do. This is a compilation of tips from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Way, and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
CMHA’s tips include: avoiding excessive exposure to media coverage, connecting with your loved ones via social media, texts, and phone calls, adding extra time for daily stress relief, practicing self-care, and focusing on your mental health.
7 examples of things you can do
1. Clean different areas of your house.
In our everyday lives, we tend to neglect certain things. These areas may be where you leave items your unsure you need, a counter you need to declutter, or a closet that could use a refresher. Make sure that while doing this you take the time to be mindful of what you would like to keep, or what you need. Don’t hold on to things that bring bad memories or that you’ve been too lazy to get rid of. This ‘spring cleaning’ may be as little as a single drawer in one room, however, it could cause you to clear some part of your mind and take your mind off worrying about the virus.
2. Improve your mind.
Write down what you want to learn, or find a task that you have been wanting to complete. If you have a specific topic you enjoy but don’t have time to study or look at because of school or work then take the time to focus on it now. There are tons of online websites that provide free courses on a vast array of topics. You might even find an area you would love to learn more about.
3. Say five kind words to yourself.
Being alone or with family can be stressful. Make sure you take the time to think positively about yourself. The New York Times has shown that this motivational self-talk can lead to not only a speedup of problem-solving cognitive abilities but also those involved during task performance. Therefore, this may be an activity you carry over after quarantine.
4. Talk to your loved ones.
Like the above, everyone needs some positivity in their lives. Having a good support system can go a long way in destressing, and making it through this tough time. BJC Health Care’s BJC EAP site states that these support systems of friends and family can lead to higher levels of wellbeing, reduced depression and anxiety, and better coping mechanisms.
5. Make sure you go outside to get some fresh air.
Some activities could include: going for small or long walks, meditating outside, exercising, stargazing, watching the flowers bloom, listening to the birds that are coming out due to spring, or just spending some time in the sun. Try to be active, it is a great way to keep the mind engaged and your body healthy.
6. Try to keep to your meals.
During quarantine when some are not working or going to class anymore, keeping to a regular schedule may be hard, however, keeping to well-balanced meals can help with one’s mood. This may also be a time to try new foods or cooking techniques. Look for new recipes, you may find a new favorite.
7. Take a break from the news, and/or social media.
Staring at a screen all day can be draining on your mental health and your body. Make an effort to put away your screens whenever possible and take some time to engage with yourself or your loved ones.
This will be the same with regards to children. Make sure to reassure them of their safety and discuss all of their concerns.
Remember always to be gentle with yourself and do things that make you happy. You are doing the best you can.