I’ll make this real simple for you…
Below is a list by a psychologist of 25 mental health tips for getting through quarantine. (I’m paraphrasing, and have added my own two cents here and there.) Print this list, put it on your fridge, make these tips a part of your life and it will help you manage the coming weeks and months as gracefully as possible.
Let’s dive in:
- Stick to a routine.
Notably, wake up at the same time every day. The systems in the brain that mediate negative emotions are tied to your circadian rhythm. Rising like “clockwork” can help you get a handle on stress and anxiety (or just borrow some young kids who become your alarm clock, ha!)
- Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have.
It’s amazing what putting on clothes you like can do for your mood.
- Get out once a day for at least thirty minutes.
And yes, socially distance for the time being when you do get out!
- Find some time to move each day, again for at least thirty minutes.
I’ve shared that I’m personally using this course: www.dailyom.com. I’ve invited you to utilize myrxx.com, BUT, if you’re bored of home workouts and looking for a little variety, my friend and Toronto personal trainer Conor Kelly gave me permission to share 24 of his best YouTube workouts (oldies, but goodies!):
- Reach out to others, ahem, daily for thirty minutes.
And don’t forget to set up virtual playdates for your kids via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—they miss their friends, too! My wife’s a Survivor watcher – and she and her friends have been having very enjoyable watch parties more regularly than they used to!
- Stay hydrated and eat well.
- Get your own self-care toolkit.
A self-care kit is basically a collection of things that are familiar and soothe you. This could be a journal for some, aromatherapy for others, or even a comfortable piece of clothing or a blanket. The point is to have some comfort-in-a-box you can call to when the need strikes.
- Spend extra time playing with children (if available).
- Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this. It’s important to move past blowups quickly, and you don’t have to “take the bait” when an argument looks imminent. Giving each other a wider berth than normal is a simple quarantine survival tip.
- Everyone should have their own personal space they can retreat to.
- Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently.
- Focus on making your kids feel safe.
These might be scary times for your kids too. In the middle of all the work deadlines, homeschooling, and trying to entertain in confinement, remember to lead with connection. Show lots of affection, follow their lead at playtime, and use verbal reassurances.
- Lower expectations and practice self-acceptance.
The best way I know how to express this is “practice being your own best friend”. I’ve freely admitted my own struggles with adapting to what’s going on. And I haven’t been as productive in terms of work-related projects or fitness as I’d like.
But these are unique times.
Be patient with yourself. I am.
- Limit social media and “virus” conversation, especially around children.
Do you still watch the news? Think that’s a positive mental influence these days? Are you learning anything constructive?
- Notice the good in the world, and the helpers among us.
- Help others.
Not only is doing something nice for someone else one of the fastest ways to boost your mood, but it has real health benefits which have been verified by research.
- Find something you CAN control, and control it bigtime.
- Find a long-term project you can throw yourself into.
Always wanted to learn how to e.g. play the guitar or learn a new language? Now’s the time!
- Engage in repetitive and “reciprocal” movements.
According to some studies, repetitive movement (like knitting, coloring, painting, jumping rope, etc) and especially “reciprocal” movement (walking, running, drumming) can be effective at self-soothing in times when you feel distress.
- Find a way to express yourself and go for it.
Sculpt. Draw. Sing. Dance. Write.
Get the kids involved! Hayden dug a hole with me the other day – we’re transplanting a big Yew front back to front yard (whew!) – he LOVED helping.
- Find lightness and humor in each day.
- Reach out for help—there are people all around who will support you.
Don’t forget this can include me. ;-)
Contact me if there’s anything I can do to help.
- “Chunk” your quarantine, take it day by day. There’s no manual for this, and we’re not sure how long it will last. Don’t get too far ahead.
- Remind yourself every day that this is TEMPORARY.
- Find the lesson.
Agree this could be a tough one. But maybe there is something for each of us to learn, big or small, through all of this – even if it’s just that we need to slow down or pause to catch our breath more often, in the midst of our busy lives.
That does it for this one. As for us Gelbers, we’re trying to make our backyard more hospitable for extended homestays. Home depot this week… gardening…and a lovely few walks with my amazing family.
Until next time, stay safe!