Staying indoors, disconnected from the rest of the world, can seem like a dream come true for some people and a total nightmare for others. There’s no denying, however, that long periods of isolation can be pretty detrimental for one’s mental wellbeing. As an introvert and a homebody myself, I too am able to notice the times when all I want to do is be outside because it can all get too much.
Amidst this crisis, many may notice their depressive and anxiety-ridden tendencies resurface. In addition to following the protocols issued by the health authorities to ensure our safety, it’s just as important to pay attention to our mental health. So here are a few simple tips that can help you keep your mental health in check while in quarantine:
1. Get enough sunlight
Make Vitamin D your new best friend. Staying indoors for a long time can make our bodies stiff and mood dull. Make it a point to get some sunlight – draw the curtains to let the light in, sit beside a window and if possible spend some time on the balcony or the roof. The sunlight on your face and body makes you feel energized and helps get rid of any lethargy. Not to mention, science has long linked a Vitamin D deficiency to depression.
2. Less news
Staying off social media has always been a favourite mental health tip of mine and it certainly applies in this case too. With more free time, you may find yourself lost in the endless scroll, so it’s helpful to keep that in check. Moreover, the news we receive, be it via television, newspapers or pesky family Whatsapp groups, is currently very overwhelming. The state of uncertainty in the world right now does nothing to help one’s anxiety take a back seat. So do yourself a favour and shut some of it out.
3. Drink lots of water
It’s crucial to maintain a proper diet during this time. You might choose to stock up on some chips and cookies to munch on when you’re bored, but it’s a better idea to keep the junk food intake to a minimum as overeating unhealthy food can cause you to feel miserable and even irritated. Stock up on fruits and vegetables, cook proper meals, eat at the proper schedule as you always have and drink lots and lots of water.
Keep the body moving. It doesn’t have to be a full workout – some walking around and stretching will do wonders considering sitting inside all day in one place can make your body stiff. A decent amount of physical activity is very beneficial for your mental health and it’s necessary to not neglect it now. Go ahead and dance to some music like nobody’s watching!
5. Maintain a proper sleep schedule
We have a lot more time on our hands and naps can be tempting, but our sleep cycle can make or break our mental strength. It affects productivity and of course, the general mood. It’s essential to get the proper 7-8 hours of sleep. Don’t sleep too little or too much, sleep at a proper time and wake up at a proper time; maintain a healthy sleep schedule. On the same note, it’s also a good idea to not stay in bed all day, even if you can. It’s better to take your work on a table or a desk rather than in bed. Keep work and leisure environments separate.
6. Physical distancing, not social distancing
Get on Whatsapp, Skype or Zoom (who knew virtual backgrounds could be fun) and have a fun chat with your friends and family. Establish a routine of checking in on your loved ones. It’s crucial to engage and interact with one another in any way we can especially during this time. Social isolation has a big negative impact on mental health, so make the most of today’s technology and stay in touch. You don’t have to feel lonely.
7. Keep your mind occupied
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. It’s very important to try and not get bored. Read a book you’ve always wanted to or some articles online on a topic you’re interested in. Declutter your wardrobe and set aside some clothes to donate later. Learn to cook something new. Paint something. Play fun games online. Watch a movie you’ve always wanted to. In the history of humanity, there hasn’t been an easier time to stay indoors and keep ourselves entertained. So let’s make the most of it and keep ourselves busy during all the extra free time.
There you go! It’s normal to feel scared, overwhelmed, angry or irritated right now but there is plenty we can do to make things easier for us. It helps immensely to try and be grateful for all the positives we can think of during the crisis, of which there are many. All in all, the most important way to protect our mental health is to keep our minds busy and establish a routine. It’s very easy to get distracted and lose grip on many things, but taking small steps every day, one day at a time will help us all get to the other side of this.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones. I’ll see you soon and thank you so much for reading!
All images are taken by me.