Mental health is a hugely important part of our everyday life, and it can be especially hard to manage currently with everything going on in the world. If you’re having trouble with overstressing or experiencing bouts of depression during quarantine, follow these tips to stay positive and keep your mental health from degrading.
It is psychologically and biologically proven that spending time outside can lead to increased happiness, among other things. You may have heard that getting sunshine and exercise will make you feel better, and that is true, but you shouldn’t feel like if that isn’t how you spend your time outside you’re doing something wrong. The sun releases Vitamin D and other important nutrients to help your body function properly, so you should aim to get at least a few minutes of sunlight a day. That being said, just getting out of your house and breathing in some fresh air will go a long way. Bring your laptop onto the porch and do some work outside, get take out or pack a picnic and eat at the park, go on a walk late at night, or engage in any other outdoor activity you like!
Set More Personal Goals
Without much external stimulation or pressure from the rest of the world, it can be easy to settle into a routine of just sitting in bed all day doing nothing or the absolute bare minimum. To avoid feeling completely unproductive and unmotivated, try writing down a list of things you would like to accomplish at the beginning of each week and spend the next seven days working on slowly crossing things off. This can be anything you want! Taking out the trash, going on a walk, cooking your own food, reading a book, saying “I love you more”, or literally anything else you can imagine! They do not have to be difficult, it is just something to do to get you out of bed.
Learn A New Skill Or Pick Up A New Hobby
Finding a new interest will not only keep you busy, but it will help remind you how to be excited about things. Many people have reported feeling increased depression and depressive symptoms as the pandemic rages on and quarantine lasts longer and longer. A common feeling associated with this is a lack of interest or excitement, even in what has always been one of your favorite activities. This is natural, however, the longer you let these feelings settle the harder it will be to shake them. To continue feeling like yourself and to keep your mental health positive, work on finding one or more new things you are excited about and dive into them! This could be reading, exercising, creating something, or whatever else you desire! Just try to avoid making your new hobby binge-watching all 31 seasons of the Simpsons.
Reconnect With Old Friends
While you may not be able to physically meet up with people much anymore, luckily this is the age of the internet! With Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and everything else out there today, it is likely that you have a horde of old friends and acquaintances built up on your friends or following list that you hardly ever talk to. Use this as an opportunity to catch up and reestablish missed connections. Try reaching out with a generic message that is easy to respond to and leads into a conversation. Mentioning the pandemic is a great start! You can then lead into asking how they are handling everything regarding quarantine and go from there.
Spend More Time Cooking
Mental health issues express themselves in many ways, and one of those is often food. You may be finding yourself eating nonstop or not at all during quarantine; both of these are normal. With your average schedule being so different, it makes sense that your body would have a hard time adjusting. In order to take a step back, try focusing on the task of preparing yourself a meal. Cooking is very therapeutic in a lot of ways. First, it keeps you distracted. You must first pick a recipe, then shop for the ingredients, do prep work, cook, plate, and finally, clean. It is more than just the five-minute process of reheating a frozen dinner. Additionally, eating a warm, homecooked meal will be rewarding to both your tastebuds and your body, as most of ours could use a break from fast food at this point. You don’t have to make every meal from scratch, but start by picking a few days each week to cook dinner and watch how your mental health improves.
Do Some Decluttering And Cleaning
Having a messy space can make it hard to focus and will cause you to stress out, regardless of whether you are a naturally messy person or not. Having a spotless room is not necessary for good mental health, but you will benefit extremely from a little bit of decluttering throughout your day. Make an active effort to keep surfaces such as tables and dressers as cleared off as possible, keep large, clean walkways present on the floor, and make sure any dishes make it into the sink when you are done with them. You will be surprised at how much these three simple things will change your life!
Journal Or Blog
Writing down how you feel and getting the emotions out can go a long way towards helping your mental health. This is a similar concept to going to see a therapist, but is a lot less intense and can be as personal as you want to make it. While I prefer journalling, a blog is the perfect way to put your thoughts out into the world as well. Simply document the things that you are thinking about at any given time. Particularly if you are frustrated, angry, or sad recount what happened to make you feel that way and how you are looking to do better. This will help you calm down, think rationally, stay positive, and be more prepared for the next time something comes your way.
Keep That Morning Alarm Set
Even if your schedule looks extremely different than it ever has, it is important to not let yourself get too off track. Keep things feeling normal and stay prepared for when things begin to let up by continuing to get up roughly at the same time you always have each day. You can push it back slightly, but try not to set your alarm any later than an hour or two after you normally wake up for a day. This will help keep you productive and feeling like yourself.
Put A Time Limit On Binge-Watching Netflix
It can be all too easy to find yourself laying in bed or sitting gon the couch watching season through season of the same show. While there is nothing wrong with that once in a while, you will want to be sure that it doesn’t become your entire life. Try to set a time limit of no more than three hours each day that you can binge television and then force yourself to go do something more productive. It will go a long way towards keeping your mental health positive.