We’re all dealing with uncertainty while quarantining during this global pandemic. Social distancing and staying home are important to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but it’s not easy.
Uncertainty can lead to worry, which leads to stress — and that can negatively impact your overall health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try these tips to help you navigate these difficult times.
- Establish a routine. Weeks and months without a set routine or schedule can leave you feeling directionless. Establishing a structure — whether you’re working from home or homeschooling children — gives you and your family a sense of normalcy. Create a daily or weekly schedule that’s not too strict but gives everyone some structure.
- Get physical. If you’re not leaving your house, inactivity can take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. There are plenty of at-home workouts to help reduce stress hormones, promote relaxation and calmness, and give you more energy. Try breathing exercises to quiet your mind and focus. Try apps such as MoodMission, SuperBetter or HeadSpace to get started. Wind down before bed with a good book and without technology. Visit the national sleep foundation for more sleep hygiene tips.
- Rely on your village. Make a list of the people you can go to for emotional support and stay connected through phone calls, texts, FaceTime or Zoom hangouts. Talking to others experiencing the same thing creates a sense of community and empowerment, and minimizes boredom and feelings of isolation.
- Get in the game. Put together a puzzle, try your hand at solitaire or sudoku or connect with friends to play online games.
- Stay informed, but not overwhelmed. Limit news and social media scrolling to a couple of times a day to know what’s happening, and make sure you’re following credible news sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, or state and local health departments.
- Treat yourself. Your hair and nail salon may be closed, but you can still practice self-care to manage your stress. Listen to your favorite song, catch up on shows, step away from your desk for lunch, and take multiple breaks that may include a walk around your block.
- Reach out. If your company has an employee assistance program, take advantage of its services by phone, email or video. Ask your family care practitioner if its offers tele-health options so you can check in from home.
- Write it down. Focusing on what you’re grateful for and writing it down can help ease the stress you’re feeling. Make a list of three to five specific things you’re thankful for ― your spouse loaded the dishwasher, you made someone smile by calling ― to keep the positives in perspective.
- Virtually volunteer. Helping others is a sure way to boost your mood. You may not be able to serve meals at your local homeless shelter, but you can still give back to your community. Offer to make calls or help with a nonprofit organization’s website or newsletter, send cards to elderly church members living alone, or host an online read-aloud story session for neighborhood kids. For in-person giving, many blood banks are still open and desperately need donations.