How to Protect Your Mental Health During COVID-19
Quarantine is rough on the psyche. During all this isolation, you might be losing your patience, your temper, maybe even your sanity. But it’s important not to get caught up in dysfunctional patterns, and instead work to protect your mental health for yourself and those around you.
When you put your energy towards fulfilling hobbies that love you back, you’ll notice a dramatic shift in how you approach each day of self-isolation. Here are 13 mental wellness practices to help you prioritize emotional health during COVID-19.
Discover New Music, Podcasts, and Audiobooks
Explore the world of audio. Create a mental retreat from the corona pandemic by seeking out exposure to new ideas through speakers and headphones. You’ll strengthen a positive mindset and have plenty to discuss with colleagues and friends when we return to normalcy.
You can build a confident, reassuring outlook on the future by listening to an audiobook on self-help or career advice. If you’re feeling anxious, distract yourself by tuning into a funny or spooky podcast. Browse different genres or eras of music to widen your taste (or revisit old favorites for some nostalgic comfort). Learning a language is also an immersive opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and find new ways of expressing yourself. Share your discoveries with friends and family to stay connected .
Plant a Garden in a Sunny Patch of Space
Quarantine might feel like a rainy day that won’t end, but it’s springtime. So whether you have a balcony, backyard, or kitchen window, you can still make the most of the sunshine with a home garden. All you need are seedlings and a couple of gardening tools to get started.
Caring for something outside of yourself will help encourage a sense of patience and purpose, all while you work up a meaningful sweat with invigorating exercise. It doesn’t matter if it’s holistic herbs for your tea or a gorgeous bed of petunias for your coffee table: helping something to flourish always makes us feel like we’re flourishing.
On top of an uplifting sense of productivity, a sustainable produce patch has benefits for your immune system: fresher air, a healthier diet, and fewer trips to the grocery store, which are all essential during this pandemic.
Get In Shape for Summer
Mental and physical toughness are often linked, so you can boost your mood by hitting the home gym. The endorphins from exercise will help manage the overwhelming anxiety and boredom of self-isolation. A consistent fitness regimen and a shift into fitness attire for the day ahead can also provide stability and structure, making us feel safe and secure – two essentials for our inner worlds as we work to contain the coronavirus.
A sense of progressive accomplishment is what keeps us feeling effective, so we don’t burn out from the same routine day after day. Many fitness companies are providing free online trials and tutorials because of the coronavirus, so take advantage of these opportunities to switch up your cardio and strength training; you’ll stay engaged and balance your mental health.
Became a Master Chef
A proper diet is the bedrock of a strong immunity, and you’ll feel deep enjoyment and satisfaction in providing it for yourself and your family. Mindful meal planning is super important for keeping consistent eating patterns and practicing portion control during self-isolation.
Cooking and baking is all about precise timing, measurement, and movement, which can help you stay focused. It’s also an extremely sensory experience, keeping you grounded in the present. With a few kitchen essentials, you can stimulate your palette and curiosity with flavors from around the world.
Practice Healthy Grooming
Negative self-image can quickly derail your day’s potential. That’s why self-care is still necessary in quarantine, even when your reflection is the only one that sees your face. With confidence in your appearance, you can approach each day with a positive frame of mind, which leads to healthier choices.
Maintaining healthy grooming practices can make you feel good and improve your confidence. Deep conditioning your hair, or moisturizing and toning your face can help you feel healthy and rested. You can also experiment with eye makeup and a contour palette to try out the playful and professional looks you find online. By channeling good self-esteem, you’ll feel less moody and reactive throughout the day.
Take Up a Creative Outlet
Art eases tension. It’s motivating to work towards a finished piece and creatively freeing to have a constructive place to unleash your anxieties. You might discover a hidden talent.
Scrapbooking can be a hopeful reminder of good times past and to come, while journaling can help you process your reaction to the pandemic. Plan a vision board of what you hope to accomplish during quarantine or what you want to do after it. Hem a meaningful quilt to pass down as a coronavirus heirloom. Consider candle making, pottery, or woodwork. Even something as simple as a paint-by-numbers can quiet your inner corona commentary.
Connect With Your Kids
Children are so observant. While we’re in quarantine, it’s important to catch our emotions and work to understand our mental health before we harm ourselves or our family members. Making time for our kids reminds us of how important it is to validate others during this pandemic and address their concerns. In sharing or consoling their fears about the coronavirus, you can distract from your own concerns.
Build a fort or a puzzle or a model set; compete in trampoline tricks or nerf wars; play flag football in the yard or ping pong on the dining room table. Gather family night around a karaoke machine or a board game. Ask your kids for suggestions to bring you into their hobbies. If this time of quarantine has given you a unique opportunity to spend more time with your kids, use it to your advantage by learning more about their interests and help nurture their passions. Spend some time teaching them a new skill or about the interests you love.
Play With Your Pets
In moments of isolation and uncertainty, our pets give us comfort and a reason to get out of bed in the morning, which we all need during this public health crisis. Their silliness, patience, and unconditional love keep us both psychologically and socially stimulated.
Go for a walk or a run with your dog, tease your cat with a laser or wand, build a maze for your bunny or hamster, teach your bird a trick (or even a phrase if it’s a talking bird). Sit, stay, and be with your furry or feathery friend, because even petting your creature or watching your fish swim around has shown to alleviate depression and boost your immune system through positive mental health.
If you’re feeling lonely in quarantine, this is a great time to foster a pet and give it a good home while managing your own anxieties and sharing a bond. Be sure to load up on pet essentials for quarantine.
Redecorate Your Zen Den
Home is where the heart is, and everything else for the foreseeable future. So it’s time to get comfy. As you take shelter in place, make sure your interior is inspiring and peaceful.
Mirrors or metallic pieces can brighten a dull design. You can also bring in personality through accent pillows, curtains, or wall art with vibrant colors, patterns, and textures. The high contrast can add visual interest, which might make heavily used spaces like your living room or home office more enjoyable during this long stretch of isolation. Think decorative accessories like vases, picture frames, and sculptures for quick, affordable touches.
To soothe a chaotic palette and create a “getaway” from the virus, infuse more earth tones, like canyon browns or cloudy greys. Oceanic blues and mossy greens can feel like a breath of fresh air. In fact, using more natural elements — from shapes to materials — touches on the biophilic trend that has people feeling happier in their homes right now. If you’re missing the great outdoors, this is an ideal time for a spring refresh.
Pamper Yourself With Creature Comforts
Cozy and thriving don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Quarantine is giving us time to get back to ourselves, so if your idea of mental wellness comes from taking a load off, then pursue relaxation. And if the idea of stillness makes you restless, you could probably benefit from some meditation, too.
Relish aromatherapy and a facial from a massage chair as your hair mask settles and your feet soak. Swaddle yourself in silk pajamas and fuzzy slippers while you sip wine and finish a crossword puzzle or romance novel. Throw down a memory foam mattress topper and quality bed sheets to get better, longer sleep. Whiten your teeth, give yourself a manicure, exfoliate — try an ear wax candle if you’re really going all-in. All these “non-essentials” can help to establish a sense of refreshment and calm.
While the emotions you’re feeling during quarantine are valid, it’s necessary to have things to look forward to and feel excited about. Try one or all of these mental wellness suggestions and stick with what feels authentic. By taking proactive steps (even baby steps) to ensure your mental health, you can feel more hopeful and optimistic during self-isolation and be more present in the moment.