Well into week two of staying home and hunkering down with our families, social distancing can start to take a toll. The fear of the coronavirus outbreak is already causing a lot of concern as it is. Besides the general nervousness we feel about our physical health, news from around the world, along with isolation, is taking a larger toll on our mental health.
Several organizations are providing guidelines on counteracting the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. It is necessary to take care of our mental health, while we look after our physical wellbeing. Social distancing is a practice unnatural to humans since we are, by nature, social animals.
Here are some helpful practices you can integrate into your life during the downtime to keep your mental health in the best possible shape.
Try to maintain a routine
Everybody knows and understands the importance of having a routine. From children to adults, we all thrive due to the routine of our day-to-day lives. The author of the book Sometimes When I’m Sad and renowned psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, has said that keeping a routine even during traumatic times can prevent the chances of people taking up unhealthy practices for coping with boredom. Making a schedule will also save you from having to decide what to do every day after you wake up.
Spend some quality time with family
Take this downtime as an opportunity to spend some good quality time with your family. All the stresses of our daily lives, like going to work, school, college, meetings, and a plethora of social commitments can keep us from spending a decent time with our loved ones. Our busy lives often barely leave us any time to spend with our families.
Now that there is no other choice but to stay at home, you should spend more time with them. Talk with each other, read aloud, play board games, grab a movie together on the couch. If you’ve got Jenga on hand, it’s a sure-shot way to get everybody engaged! These family activities won’t just distract you from the stress of the situation but they also help you connect with each other better.
Reconnect with people
Like yourself, most other people around the world are spending more time at home. How about you use some of this time to reconnect with friends you have lost touch with? You call your friends over long-distance or even have group video calls with them. It can be one of the most entertaining experiences you have had in a while. It might just help you rekindle long lost connections from your life before you became so busy.
Use the time to reflect on life
When things are normal (and busy!), we tend to lose sight of a lot of the life plans we’ve made over the years. Consider the situation today as a gift of extra time. Use it toto give proper thought to reflect on your past and plan for the future.
There might be things you have wanted to do, but you have been putting them off for the longest time. Perhaps some significant life decisions or a change in career you might have contemplated at one point? Or a lifestyle change you wanted to work on? Maybe even a hobby or life skill you wanted to learn?
The possibilities are endless. Make the most of this time to focus on all these things and work out your plan for the future.
As bad as the situation is, the pandemic will eventually subside, and things will go back to normal. It is up to us to make the most of the time we have right now. Things will be tough for a while, but this time does not need to be unbearable.
Think of all the things you can do around the house and with your family, but you haven’t because of your busy schedule. As long as they don't involve breaking safety precautions, now is the time to do them and make the most of the situation.