For some of us introverts, it’s nothing new, but for the majority of people out there, it’s an entire shift in their day-to-day life. I, myself, am on Day 23 of self isolation and social distancing, and it’s hard not to think about how weird it will be when getting back into the swing of things in a few months. As a student, I miss seeing all my friends in class, face to face, where we could collaborate, explore, and broaden our horizons. As a worker, not having a routine to look forward to or the smiling faces of customers to meet really makes me rethink my prior appreciation for human contact. And as a family member, having to distance myself from my loved ones may be the hardest thing of all, but taking time to remember they are just a phone or FaceTime call away settles the worry that has ensued with this pandemic.
As we all have seen and know personally, social distancing and staying home is hard. I’m writing this from my small New York City apartment where I’ve been holed up with my roommate, and sometimes the space gets a little too cozy for comfort. What’s saving me right now is our fire escape. And with most of the city that never sleeps shut down, we’re bringing alternative ways of interaction online and into our homes. Essential workers like hospital staff, food deliverers, mental health providers, and many more are putting in overtime to help with the situation as best they can. They know this is a time that can cause spikes in anxiety, stress, and loneliness, and they are keeping their virtual doors open to help as many affected as possible. Here are some tips sourced from experts around the internet on how to stay happy and healthy at home.
- Bring nature in. Plants. Fresh flowers. Find a sunny spot in your home and get some vitamin D. It has a way of making all of us feel better. If you have a yard go outside. If you don’t have a yard or balcony be sure to wear a mask if you have one and keep a distance of six feet between you and the person in front of you when leaving your home.
- This may be one of the hardest things to do. Some people are still doing their thing: going to outdoor gyms, hanging out with friends, having get-togethers. We need to realize that we are the force that is going to drive this situation away, and the second we accept that responsibility, the quicker we can get back to doing our thing. But for right now, take a deep breath, and know that staying inside and showing support and solidarity from afar is one of the best ways to help. Your effort is noticed.
Adopt a new routine (or stick to an old one)
- A routine is one of the best ways to stay on track. Though, you might have to tweak a thing or two, there are always alternatives to the things we feel are so normal. Instead of focusing on the fact we can’t meet up for a yoga class, try online yoga sessions a lot of studios are offering for free. Whatever that one thing may be, you can always find something as equally as stimulating. I find that waking up, making my bed, taking a shower, and getting ready for the day whether that be with makeup or a nice outfit just to sit at home in really improves my mood. Find a routine that makes you comfortable, but more importantly, don't push yourself.
Take it easy
- Many of us are used to a “grind culture” mentality. Sometimes we forget to give ourselves a break. I am seeing all over social media people finally decluttering their house or filing all that paperwork or starting their new side hustle. Sometimes people even say if you don’t come out of this with one of the things you’ve always wanted to do done, you didn’t use this time correctly. Well, they’re wrong. You are allowed to take as much time as you need to work through this situation. Not everyone copes the same way and that is okay. Do what’s best for you right now and forget everyone else’s expectations. We are all on our own paths in this.
Turn off the electronics
- I know I’m not the only one avoiding the news right now. Hearing anything of the sort can be more detrimental than you think when we are in vulnerable states of mind, whether it’s good or not. You can watch here and there, pay attention to your own threshold, and if you need a break, turn it off. Turn off the TV, close the social media apps. The outside world can wait for a minute; and instead, try some tension-relieving techniques like painting or meditation. Revisit when you’re ready.
- We don’t realize in our everyday life how much human interaction is a necessity. It’s just such a natural thing that you don’t really think about it. And that’s why it can be hard in times like this when maybe our mentality gets the best of us and we think it may just be easier to sit in our room with the door closed and not talk to anybody. If you get to that point, try to encourage yourself to reach out. Whether it’s with your parents or grandparents, or a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Having someone there for you can be very therapeutic for the soul.
Talk to someone you haven't
- As aforementioned, regular communication is key. And I’ve been seeing a lot of stories circulating around about how being in the company of yourself more often makes people realize that they miss others in their lives. One man reached out to his estranged sibling and reconnected, and another to a parent or friend. I bet we all have someone in mind when thinking about this, and odds are, they are struggling just like you. So if you were waiting for a sign to reach out, this is it. Build those bridges up again because you never know how much good it can do.
- You may have noticed that because of our newfound free time, more people are talking about ways to stay active at home. Some have even set the goal for themself of coming out of quarantine fitter than when they went in. These are great objectives as exercise is one of the best ways to relieve mental stress and start producing some dopamine. I personally have taken up the goal of doing the splits and learning how to cartwheel. Whatever it is, staying active is pivotal right now as we all try to stay healthy physically and mentally.
- Piggybacking off the topic of staying active and healthy, another thing I’ve been really enjoying is finally having time in the morning for a routine cup of tea. Tea flowers are not only nourishing and healing, they also provide many antioxidants, hydrate the body, lower blood pressure, and more. So the next time you feel yourself getting a little overwhelmed, jittery, or stir-crazy, heat up some water and add your favorite tea bag for some extra relief. My go-to has been The Qi’s Chrysanthemum flower. Every morning it just makes me feel like I’m drinking sunshine. If you don’t have any tea handy, even some hot lemon water would do the trick of warming the soul.
Give yourself space
- Most importantly in the midst of all this, remember to give yourself space. It’s definitely a new thing for me and my roommate to be home all day in the midst of each other. We have learned many new things about each other in the way that we live. Even statistics in other countries where coming out of self-quarantine has increased divorce rates isn’t calming for families either. It’s important to remember, whether you are by yourself or with someone else, that respect, communication, and time alone is healthy for any situation to work. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, and try to approach things with as much positivity as possible. We’re all going to need it.
How these tips can help
Your mental health is key in this pivotal time. We’re surrounded by uncertainty and fear, so finding that one thing to center you when it may just be easier to give in to all of it is so important. If we all work on these things daily, life after may not feel so hard. Maintaining a good health, stable support system, and positive mindset can ultimately make it easier for you and those around you to feel safe and supported as well.
Have a tip that’s not on our list? Tell us what you’ve been practicing at home in the comments below.
*All images via Getty Images.