Tips to Stay Sane During Quarantine

Written by Emily Rose


You know how we all say our lives are too busy and we don’t have time to take care of ourselves? Well, chances are, unless you are in one of the essential businesses, your life just got a whole lot less busy. If you are a nurse, Doctor or health worker thank you for everything you are doing and please stay safe out there. For the rest of us, now’s the time to talk self-care. But many of us go-getter types end up crashing and burning when faced with a vast block of unregulated time. So how do we cope? What do we do with all that time?

Creating a routine can help make sense of everything and give you back a sense of control. If you have kids, chances are you’re already trying to create some kind of routine to keep your kids active and engaged. If you’re able to work from home, that’s great, because you naturally have a routine; however if you are stuck home with no work, then creating a routine is the first major step. Even if you are working from home, you probably have added time now that you don’t have to commute or maybe even put on real clothes.

There’s nothing wrong with vegging out on the couch and binging Netflix; that can be its own kind of self-care, especially if you hardly ever get free time like that in your life. Most likely though, you will find that after a while this starts to suck life out of you and has the opposite effect on your mood. Instead, try scheduling in your relaxation time. Is it an hour? Three hours? No problem. Just carve out a set amount of time and then plan to do something else. Alternatively, if you’re into binging, plan a binge day, and then plan to do something more productive the next day.

You don’t have to go as far as planning hour by hour, unless that’s your thing, just make sure to make a list. Personally, I’ve found list-making very beneficial in my whole life and this situation is no different. I’m finding it helpful to make an overall list of general things that need to get done and then make a list day by day to accomplish a few of those things.

There’s a definite satisfaction in crossing things off the list. There’s also a much higher chance that you’ll do the things on your list if you write them down as opposed to just plan them in your head. Otherwise that binge-athon of The Good Place might just take over your whole day. For many people the idea of controlling something, in a situation where we lack pretty much all control, is good for your mood and your stress levels as well. If you’re in a situation where finances are a concern, which is a large chunk of us, then taking down your stress level in any way possible is going to help you get through this more easily. Less stress equals less strain on your body, your immune system and your mental wellbeing. So let’s get de-stressed!

 

What kinds of things can you do in your routine?

What you add to your list will vary person to person, but here’s some guidelines that might help you get started.

Movement: Movement is key to making this time as bearable and productive as possible. Whatever your level of activity, you should find something to keep you moving. Exercise has so many benefits including managing weight, regulating blood sugar, lowering risk of disease, improving sleep and drastically improving your mood. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps with depression, anxiety, ADHD, stress and trauma.

Our New York State parks are still open so if you are getting stir crazy at home you can go out briefly, as long as you keep your distance from other people. That said, there are tons of resources at home you can use as well. Get outside in your yard or on your porch- enjoy the sunshine, do some activities outside. I am a huge fan of Beachbody on Demand, which allows you to stream a ton of workout programs from Yoga to P90x on any device, for about the cost of Amazon Prime. If you want free options though, check the never-ending resources of YouTube for fitness videos or your favorite local trainer’s page. Just get moving, and schedule movement time into your day so you actually get it done.

Passion Project: Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the time? Is there an interest that you’ve been thinking about reading up on? Now’s the chance! Find something you really enjoy and the time will fly. If you already have something, then pull it out and get back to it. So often the things we enjoy get pushed aside for the things we have to do. Enjoy this opportunity!

Cleaning: Maybe I’m just showing off the Type A side of my personality, but cleaning is a great thing to do when stuck at home. First off, it restores a sense of order and control, secondly, you literally have no excuse not to do it. If your house is already fairly clean (first off good for you!) then maybe now is the time to do those deep clean projects that you have been putting off. How often do you clean an oven? Since I’ve already been home for a week I’m finding that all our used dishes are getting cleaned daily, which I will admit is not the case usually (we don’t have a dishwasher and we both work full time).

Organize and Declutter: You’re stuck at home with all your belongings, what better time to assess their value in your life! Does this blanket spark joy? Nope! Time to reduce your belonging and take stock of what matters to you. If you’re going to spend all your time in your home, shouldn’t it feel nice? Plus you can donate your goods to your favorite charity when this is all over.

Work: If there is any type of work you can be doing right now, then make a plan to include that in your day. For me, although I clearly can’t do massage, I can do other business-related activities on the computer, watch continuing education videos, write blogs like this etc. If I put it on the list, then it will actually get done. Otherwise you’ll find me on the couch.

Connect with your spiritual practice: If you’re religious or spiritual you may not be able to gather in person but it doesn’t mean you are disconnected. Some organizations are coming up with ways to connect digitally. Prayer, meditation or spiritual practice are all ways to give you grounding during this stressful time. Whatever your beliefs, they can be a source of comfort in a time of upheaval.

Connect with family and friends: The internet is amazing folks. Just think of how much opportunity we still have right from the comfort of our homes. If you’re sheltering alone, you can still reach out to friends and family through all your digital devices! How about virtual Pictionary? Use Skype or Facetime or whatever your tool of choice and keep connecting with your friends and loved ones. Netflix is even offering a digital chatroom for watching movies together. Of course if you are sheltering in place with family members then connect with them too. Pull out a board game, turn off the news for a while. Enjoy each other’s company, and then give each other space. Both will be important.

Relax

Last but not least, don’t forget to relax. Find something you enjoy and make sure you include it in your routine. Watch tv, do some crafts, read, do yoga, do something creative, write, innovate, take a bath, learn something new, garden, sit outside and soak up the sun. Whatever you enjoy, keep doing it- just make sure you stay at home.

Other fun suggestions:

Take the Census - Yes, I realize I said fun. It’s super important to have everyone counted in order to have funding distributed appropriately in the US. Everyone should do it. Period. And you can do it online. Seriously, what else are you doing? Take it here: https://www.census.gov/

Support your Local businesses - We plan to still be here whenever this is over. Your purchase of products and gift certificates will help us if it is within your means. Please support local restaurants and businesses as well.

Plan a trip - You may not be able to travel now, but one day you will. So look into doing something you’ve always wanted to do and see what the logistics are. (Honestly planning is much more my husband’s thing, but I’m sure some of you will find this enjoyable too.)

 

Whatever you do, please be sure to take this lockdown seriously. We don’t want to be closed but for everyone’s safety we are adhering to the guidance of the State and country. This will be over sooner if we all help to stop the spread. The more people that go out, the longer this will drag on, so please, take this seriously and make the most of your time at home. We hope these tips help you to get through this with some sanity!

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