If you’re quarantined right now during the Covid-19 pandemic or are spending more time at home due to chronic illness or caregiving responsibilities, it’s essential that you focus on both your mental and physical health. Both of these are vital to keeping your sanity and overall wellbeing. Read on for practical tips to improve your mental health, practice self care and even thrive during these difficult times.
Easy Does It
Right now is not the time to stress out about doing everything perfectly. If you’re a parent, your kids are home and trying to learn online. You might be trying to work online as well. During this time, try not to stress about being perfect and doing everything right. Don’t compare yourself with other people (especially online!) who are at home and are being brilliantly productive.
Whether you’re spending more time at home because of the pandemic, chronic illness or caregiving, putting too many expectations on yourself is going to make your feelings of stress and panic worse. This is very detrimental to your mental health.
Do give yourself a break and remember you are trying your best given the difficult situation that you’re in today. Everyday, set a couple of small goals that can aren’t too difficult to get done, but be open and flexible for things to change.
First Things First
Create a simple daily routine and stick with it. Consider what your biggest needs are right now. This could mean time for your spiritual life, self care, business tasks, connecting with friends online or on the phone, finding a therapist who you can work with remotely, getting in a little exercise or getting more fresh air. Once you’ve identified what it is you need the most right now, the quicker you can switch up your schedule to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
One of the best ways to do this is by using a journal. After you’ve had your morning coffee and feel somewhat awake, use a journal page to write down your intensions for the day. You can easily refer back to them later when things get busy or stressful.
Don’t become a couch potato at this time. If you can get outside, go for a walk, walk the dogs, do some gardening or other home improvement activity. Take a family stroll if you can. If you live in an apartment setting or are on a very strict quarantine situation, there are dozens of YouTube workouts that you can do for free and without special equipment. Yoga, pilates and walking fitness workouts are a great place to begin.
However, this is not the time to pressure yourself to become “bikini fit” or do any intense workouts that you’re not used to. For one thing, they can tax your system, leaving you more vulnerable to colds and flu. And if you try them and feel inadequate, it can set you up for destructive food binges.
This is NOT the time to begin a diet. Pressuring yourself to follow the latest diet fad isn’t good for your mental health. But before you find yourself mindlessly raiding the refrigerator or pantry, take a minute to consider the following:
- Are you genuinely hungry or just bored or stressed?
- If you’re hungry, make a small plate and sit down at the table to eat it.
- Don’t eat in front of the screen.
- Eat with your family.
- Make the healthiest choice you can with what you’ve got on hand.
Start a Journaling Habit
Journaling is one of the best ways to reduce stress, get the noise out of your head, get creative and practice mindfulness. There are tons of journaling prompts to be found on Pinterest, or you might want to check out some of mine! Set a daily time to do this, morning or evening and then just do it.
Limit Social Media
With our 24/7 news cycle it’s all too easy to check in on the latest #coronavirus updates at any time. This is incredibly toxic to your mental health. Every time I do it myself I start struggling with anxiety and overwhelm. Of course you want to stay informed but designate a few trusted news sources and check in with them once or maybe twice a day. Don’t mindlessly scroll. If you get on Facebook or Instagram, note the time and limit yourself to 10 or 15 minutes. Tops. Otherwise you’ll get sucked in. You won’t feel any better at the end of it and may find yourself looking to stuff your feelings with food or something else.
Create Your Own Personal Space
Being together with your family 24/7 is taxing. And I’m saying this as a long time homeschooler. Sometimes you need to get away from all of them. Every member of the family should have a safe space that they can retreat to when they’re feeling stressed out. It could be a bedroom, a corner in the living room, or a fort or tent outside.
Do you have any self care or mental health tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to leave a comment below!