It is so important to stay positive in quarantine. Our duty is to stay isolated and at home, and for some this can be very hard and triggering.
Quarantine causes feelings of abandonment, fear, isolation, worry, and dread. Those who suffer from mental health issues are at extreme risk to be effected by the current COVID-19 outbreak and the increasing requests to isolate and remain home.
Many are working from home for the first time in their adult lives. Even more have their children home with them 24/7, which can be extremely challenging.
It is distruptive for children’s routines, especially those receiving special needs support. This causes extreme stress for the child, parents, and siblings. We are at extreme risk for depression and anxiety. But there are a few things we can do to stay positive in quarantine.
Maintain Good Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene every single day might be the most important thing to do in this time. One major symptom of depression is lack of motivation to maintain good self care, like showering, washing and brushing your hair, brushing your teeth twice a day, changing into clean clothes, and trimming your nails.
We have so many feedback loops that tell us how to think and feel. Whether it actually causes you to feel better, or its the placebo effect doesn’t matter. Taking care of yourself physically, makes you feel better mentally. Make sure that you and your loved ones are taking the time each day to maintain your hygiene habits.
Maintain a Routine
Speaking of routines, you need one, especially if you have children. But even for my fiance and I, we need a schedule to ensure productivity, harmony, and a good mood.
Try to keep it as close to your previous routine as possible. Get up at the same time every day, and make sure you’re in bed at the same time. Keep meal times firm, and break up your day with specific activities.
Eat at a table
This is one of the best pieces of advice for anyone trying to lose weight or improve their relationship with food. But for a time when you have very little stimulation and are stuck inside, mindless eating can run amok.
Avoid the grazing temptation, or the ease of snacking. Aim to have at least two meals a day at the table to ensure the break in the day. It also helps you recognize and enjoy your food more because you are present while eating (with the tv off).
Spend time in the sun
I know for some this may be very difficult, but spending at least 15 minutes outside in the sun is very important to your mental health and well being. A lot of our biological processes like hormones, sleep, and eating depend on sunlight to regulate them.
Sun exposure also is key for Vitamin D production. It is so important for us to be able to make this vitamin, and supplementation is recommended for those living in low exposure areas.
Go outside and walk around, stand in the sun, breathe the air. If you can’t go for a walk, head out on your patio or balcony. Just get as close to nature as you possibly can.If you can’t go outside in the sun, due to restriction or weather, make sure to at least open all of your windows.
Bring in every drop of natural light that you possibly can. Rearrange your furniture to spend some time basking in that light (yes, just like your animals do…hmmm maybe they’re onto something.)
Stay in contact
Quarantine is defined by self-isolation. Many of us are lucky to have the benefit of isolating with our family unit. Which at times can be trying, but is still better than self-isolating alone.
Regardless, it is so important to stay in contact with your friends and family. You can utilize video chat, phone calls, and text messages. Even just a silly gif or meme every day can cheer someone up and remind them they’re not alone.
We are in this as a collective, and supporting every single person is key to our individual well being.
Limit media exposure
You should absolutely be checking the updates issued by the CDC every day. But I highly recommend limiting your media exposure and social media exposure during this time. Our media has 24 hours in a day to fill, and many times repeats itself, and seeks out unvalidated or hyperbolic information. Just to chew over the same things time and time again. This is not good for our mental health.
Stay aware of the facts and what the government is saying (for example at the CDC’s website), beyond that I would stay away from the talking heads for a while. Much of social media is rallying together and finding support. But it can also be a scary and triggering place at a time like this. Stick with those you know and stay away from the larger pages.
Odds are they are just trying to get you to buy something or increase the fear of the unknown to manipulate your emotions. Follow up on friends and loved ones, but don’t get lost on the bigger platforms in things that just don’t matter.
Try something new every day
Make sure this is as fun and carefree as possible. But, make an effort every day to try something new. Whether its a new show, a new exercise move, a new food (like that sauce you’ve had in your pantry for a while), or learning something new on YouTube.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in a cycle of the same. That can lead to depression and dissatisfaction. Keep yourself busy with novel and new things to do or learn.
I know the pajamas are so alluring, I feel the same way. But part of keeping our routine, is creating boundaries and distinctions throughout the day. And using clothes is one amazing way that we do this.
Take the time to get dressed every day. I’m not saying you need the dress pants and tie. But you should put on clothes that you could walk out the front door without worry in.
Something that you wouldn’t wear to the supermarket, is not going to cut it. If you’re a hair and makeup person, make sure to do that as well. You can stop short of the shoes, but make sure that it’s something you would wear out of the house.
During the Great Depression clothing was one of the first signs of depression for workers. Especially on Wall Street, the managers looked for traders who stopped coming in dressed professionally.
Once again whether it is causal or a placebo effect, doesn’t really matter. Take the time to get dressed every day and stay positive in quarantine.