In a normal year, casual walkers fill the streets of neighborhoods across the US. In 2020, those same streets are nearly empty. In a normal year, stores are open for customers to waltz in and purchase the goods they need. In 2020, those same goods are harder to obtain with panic buying and long waiting lines taking over shopping centers and grocery stores. The Coronavirus pandemic has sent the United States into a national shutdown.
Humans are social creatures and long-term isolation can easily cause mental struggles. To ease the mental stress of quarantine,The Muse has created a guide to show you how to stay mentally healthy during this time of crisis.
Everyone has heard practical tips on how to keep “calm” during this crisis from various news and media sources—things like continuing to stay in contact with friends digitally, exercising, sleeping well, and eating healthy. This guide focuses on how to keep a healthy mindset during quarantine.
1. Do not suppress your true feelings – Let your feelings run free. If you keep your true feelings about the situation locked away, there is no chance that you get better mentally. You have the right to feel unmotivated, tired, or even downright lazy. However, it’s important that you try to implement structure in your life to prevent these feelings from becoming routine behavior. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains that it is important to “pace yourself between stressful activities and do something fun after a hard task.” You can pace yourself by making sure that you have a schedule that you can follow. The more organized you make your life, the easier it’ll be to navigate through it.
2. Lift up your loved ones – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that “taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.” One way to feel positively about those around you is to make them feel positive. Keeping in touch with positive and like-minded people can help decrease any social stress you may have.
3. Find a difference between reality and possibility – Amid the exaggerated and downplayed news, thousands of cases, and worldwide panic, it’s common for people to overreact and overthink. Being scared of what could happen is completely OK, but it’s important to look at “probability” instead of immediately letting “strong negative emotions” control you. Look at how you have been trying to combat the virus and understand that each situation is different. If you have kept good care of yourself and those around you have as well, it is more likely that you will be safe.
4. Creating a consistent lifestyle – It is important that you continue to forge your own path during this pandemic. Establish safe and cautious guidelines that fit your lifestyle. The CDC explains that you should take care of your body by “taking deep breaths, stretching, meditating , trying to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.” It’s important that you keep yourself physically intact if you want to be at your peak mental stability.
5. Continue to take action every day – If you feel trapped inside your house all day, you can also try out new things that you may have never done before. For example, activities like playing an instrument, picking up a new art, and learning new recipes are possible ways to spend your free time. Look at a whole new world of possibilities to find something fun that you would’ve never tried pre-quarantine.
You can always reach out to a trusted adult for help through this time. It’s okay to not be okay. What’s important is that you do your absolute best to stay mentally alright during this crisis.
Keep up with The Muse’s coronavirus coverage and updates on social media @themuseatdsoa and our website, www.themuseatdreyfoos.com !