With all the talk about the current state of the world, chances are you’ve been feeling the pressure. Even if you haven’t been affected by the economic state of the world and have been able to work from home, the sudden restriction of social activities where we would normally blow off steam can undoubtedly take its toll. We all must do our part to stop the spread of coronavirus, and follow the directives of “stay safe, stay home” to help flatten the curve of vial infection. However, the toll that this takes on mental health should not be ignored.
Humans are social creatures by nature. Even those of us who proclaim ourselves to be introverts need social interaction once in a while. Not only that, but many places where we would normally go to relieve stress are closed down (which, of course, is for the best). Gyms, rec centers, pools, shopping centers, and the like are all currently shut down. Many of our daily routines have been interrupted, and the question for many of us has become, “How do I stay sane during all of this?” Stress can be hugely detrimental to our mental health, and in this challenging time, it is essential for us to find outlets for our anxieties.
Relieving stress at home when many of our homes have become our base of operations for our jobs, as well as our families. However, it isn’t impossible. At least once a day, try to get outside and get some exercise. A twenty-minute walk around the neighborhood is a great way to soak up some sun and get out of the house. Research has indicated that a lack of sunlight can be linked to reduced serotonin levels, which can lead to symptoms of depression. While depression itself should only be diagnosed and treated by licensed mental health professionals, it is important to do what we can to take care of ourselves. Getting some fresh air and staying active can do a lot to help us maintain a routine and keep our minds healthy.
Cluttered spaces can also make us feel anxious and stressed. If you feel like your body tenses up when you enter a particular room in the house, assess the mess. Cleaning a messy space can help you feel more organized in your home and mentally. Keeping an organized area gives you a safe space where you can take a break from the day and relax. A bedroom or living area is a perfect space for this and can help provide a sense of order and normalcy during an uncertain time. If you want to take it one step further, take advantage of the time at home by decluttering. Get rid of old clothes, those dishes you hate, and other things gathering dust around the house. You will be able to breathe a little easier knowing that your house is well-organized.
Using your newly cleaned and organized space to do some meditation is also a wonderful way to help keep stress levels under control. There are a number of meditation styles to try, ranging from self-love to mindfulness to mantras. Now is a perfect time to try one out and see which method works best for you. Meditation is a great way to take your mind off things and take the edge off of your stress levels. There are many guided meditation recordings available on Youtube and Spotify to help you get started.
Picking up where you left off on an old hobby can help you reconnect with a sense of normalcy. The world feels chaotic right now, and returning to something that you love and are familiar with will help you feel more grounded. Hobbies like writing, painting, and crafting are a wonderful and healthy way to either distract yourself or to express the emotions and anxieties that have been building up for the past few weeks. It’s also an excellent way to help yourself feel more creative, rather than feeling as though you haven’t been productive enough in your free time. You can also use this time to learn something new, like playing that guitar you bought ages ago or learning to crochet like you’ve always wanted. Anything that is constructive and that you can measure your progress in is a great choice to start on during this time of social distancing. You could even make something to give to a friend when social distancing has ended.
If you have found yourself feeling sluggish while being indoors, try looking for at-home workouts to try for yourself. Yoga is excellent for maintaining strength and flexibility, and there are plenty of guides to help you get started on Youtube. If you are the kind of person that needs a faster-paced workout, pilates is a great place to start. There are also a number of games available on various consoles that are entertaining and will help keep you moving even if you can’t leave the house. Exercise is proven to help lift your spirits by increasing endorphins and is perfect for relieving stress that might build up during the day. While we are all paying special attention to our health because of coronavirus, we should also try to remember that staying fit is an integral part of our overall health and will help us avoid other health issues.
This past month has been stressful and scary for a lot of people. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world and it can be hard to know how to handle the anxiety that it brings. Fortunately, there are a lot of steps we can take to ensure that we are managing our stress effectively. Use this time to focus on you and your family’s mental health. Chances are that your children and partner are also feeling the pressure the pandemic has caused, even if they don’t fully realize it. Set goals for you and for them to do something productive each day, and remember to take it one day at a time.