Quarantine is a difficult time that may be taking a toll on your mental health, but consistently practicing self-care is a step you can take to combat this. It can be difficult to find the motivation to start, but once you start you have already overcome the most challenging step. Here are a couple of ideas for self-care!
1.Grab any piece of paper or notebook and BRAIN DUMP.You don’t need anything fancy to do this, simply have a writing utensil and a place to write. Feel free to jot down anything you want to help release your tension, feelings, and free thoughts. This can be pretty or messy, planned out or free-flowing- simply use this opportunity to express yourself. If you want, you can incorporate this more regularly into your habits by journaling on a regular basis. Journaling has helped many in reducing stress levels and lifting moods and I’ve personally found it really effective as well. Writing down your thoughts will help you better understand yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend choosing some of the following you are interested in and beginning:
- Write down things that have been bothering you, crumple up the sheet, and throw it away
- List 5 things you are grateful for, whatever it may be. It can be materialistic!
- At the end of the day, write down what you did during the day and reflect upon that
- At the beginning of the day, write down your intentions and plans for the day
- Simply write down any notable thoughts you have throughout the day
- Check out bullet journaling! Feel free to check out these awesome videos by some talented creators for inspiration:
2. Do a deep clean. Everyone’s life becomes uncontrolled and messy at times, and that is OKAY. Been there, done that. Some great places to start include your room, phone, and even yourself! Doing the laundry, hanging up clothes, vacuuming the floor, reorganizing apps, taking a warm shower are all possibilities but approach this in your own way. Cleaning is not only a productive way to spend your time that will give you a sense of accomplishment, but also an effective way to give you a fresh start and care for yourself.
3.Practice Mindfulness. This is a strategy meant to bring your attention to the present, release inner tension, and remove a need for judgement. Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of ways, from meditation to just taking a moment to sit still and observe your surroundings. Practicing mindfulness has many benefits, especially for your mental health – so many that just this one article wouldn’t do it justice. I’ll put it simply… it’ll make you feel good!
Lots of the impacts this virus has had are out of your control, so it’s best not to worry about them; instead, relax and focus on what’s going on right now. Additionally, While cooped up at home with limited social interaction, being aware of your thoughts and emotions makes you far more capable of handling them (as well as any other wacky stuff that might be going on right now). Finally, everyone is dealing with the situation differently, regardless of how much it has impacted you it’s important not to judge your own reactions. Just like the meme goes, “it is what it issss.”
4. Go outside. This doesn’t have to be far. Whether you drive to a nearby park or simply walk to your front yard, take a moment to enjoy the outdoors. Quarantine often keeps us inside and seemingly restricted to our rooms, so switch things up and enjoy the forgotten outdoors for a while. If you can’t go outside, open the windows and let the air come in or crack open the blinds and let the light shine through. Even if the weather isn’t the best, make sure that you are getting fresh air and going outdoors at least once every single day!
5.Get moving, in whatever way you love most. This is incredibly cliche and you’ve likely heard this a million times, but physical movement has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for your mental health. Some people enjoy high-intensity interval training and others prefer calm exercises, such as walks or yoga. No matter the form, getting yourself out of bed and testing you physical capabilities will be good for not just your mental health, but also your physical health. I challenge you to try this even if you don’t feel like it, as over time it will become easier and possibly even fun! Try exercising at the same time each day to create a routine or finding a youtube channel you love to follow. Here are a couple popular ones that are really great in my opinion, but don’t fret if you don’t love any of them, as there are so many different options out there when it comes to exercising.
6. Take a Nap. I am certainly biased when it comes to this because I am an AVID napper…moderation is definitely key when it comes to this! Whenever you feel that you need a serious energy boost, take a nap if your schedule allows for it. Make sure you’re fully committing to a nap if you do decide to do so! Set a timer based off the following lengths for what you want out of the nap (according to sleep.org) :
- 15-20 minutes: improved alertness, enhanced performance, mood boost
- 30-60 minutes: if you can, try to avoid naps of these length. You’ll wake up in the middle of your sleep cycle and likely feel more tired than before
- 90 minutes: If you have the time, naps of this length can improve alertness, better your mood, and boost your memory and creativity!
7. Indulge in your favorite form of entertainment. Whether that is reading a book, listening to a podcast, watching a movie, playing video games, jamming to a new playlist, watching Youtube videos, take some time to truly relax and do what you want. This could be a daily thing that you look forward to or something you do once in a while. Indulging in some entertainment is a great way to learn or to simply have some fun when quarantined.
8.Care for others… then recharge yourself! It’s often a greatly rewarding thing to do well for others, especially those around you right now during quarantine if you desire. Even little acts can not only instill a sense of accomplishment in you, but also strengthen your relationship with the people you are quarantined with. That being said, make sure to balance the action of taking of others by taking care of yourself. For a couple minutes a day, intentionally take yourself out of “caretaker” mode and allow yourself to do what you personally want to do.
9.Try something new! While quarantine certainly has numerous downsides, it offers us an amazing and rare opportunity; a plethora of time. Time gives you the chance to try anything you want, something you may not have tried in normal circumstances- take advantage of that! Use this opportunity to do something you’ve never done. Cooking, drawing, exercise, are just a few of the endless activities you can pursue during this time. You just might find a new hobby, hidden talent, or passion!
10.Video chat a friend or loved one.Video chat with a friend or loved one. Quarantine is hard. One of the most difficult parts is not being to see those we care about most in person. Text, call, or best of all, video chat someone you’d like to get as close to face to face interaction as possible. We’re all in this together. Even though you may be telling yourself otherwise, he or she likely wants to talk to someone as well. They’ll enjoy your company and love to know that you’re thinking of them. Go for it!