Are you using healthy coping mechanisms for quarantine? From the global COVID pandemic, to widespread unemployment and political clashes, 2020 is a stressful year to say the least for many around the world. Aside from the immediate focus of protecting our physical health, it’s incredibly important to also safeguard our mental and emotional health during this time. Healthy coping mechanisms can help destress and maintain our sense of safety and well-being in these trying times.
Coping Mechanisms for Quarantine
Fun fact: I was in a Doctorate graduate program for Psychology after undergrad. While I left this program to pursue other things, I’m fascinated with psychology and place high importance on maintaining good mental & emotional health. A lot of these are gentle reminders for myself as well. I hope you find these healthy coping mechanisms helpful in 2020 and beyond.
Stick to A Routine
Many of us have been social distancing and working from home for nearly 4 months now. It may be easy to slip into vacation hours – staying up & sleeping in late, eating whenever we want, and having a different schedule each day, but science shows that’s not as healthy for your body or emotional health. Try to stick with a routine that your body and mind can count on. This means going to bed, waking up, and eating 3 meals around the same times every day.
Destress with Exercise
I know it’s cliche, but that’s only because it’s true! Make sure you sweat a little each day – and not just from the summer heat! It may be tough since it’s not fun to run with a mask on, and gyms aren’t open in many cities, but there are so many ways to get great exercise in at home! Here are some ideas:
- Take long walks and explore your neighborhood
- Get a jumprope on Amazon to keep up with your cardio
- Go for a hike
- Create a schedule of YouTube workouts to do each day (you can search for any type of workout & length of time – they have everything!!)
- Take virtual classes online with an instructor to keep you accountable (Endurance Pilates is a great one)
- Kayaking (my roommate impulse bought a kayak and is loving it)
- Bodyweight workouts (pushups & sit ups during your Netflix binges)
Eat Healthy, Well-Balanced Meals
Food is medicine! Make sure you’re giving your body plenty of vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber to keep it working to the best of its ability. Here are some tips to a well-rounded diet from the CDC:
- Healthy Fats: add more avocado, lean meats like salmon or tuna, sprinkle slivered nuts on your salads, use olive oil or sesame oil in place of canola or soybean oil.
- Cut the Sodium: avoid processed pre-packaged foods, add herbs and no-salt seasonings instead of salt
- Fiber: snack on raw veggies, oatmeal with pecans, steam veggies rather than boiling them, and add a cup of beans or peas to your meals
- Eat Colorfully: Keep a variety of colors on your plate, such as dark, leafy greens, oranges, & tomatoes.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Never underestimate a good night’s sleep for your mental health. I know a lot of us have been struggling with this one this year especially. I’ve always been a night owl, so it’s extra important to set a good routine and prioritize getting 8 hours of sleep. Here are some things to try if you’re struggling in the sleep department:
- Exercise more, just not right before bed
- Also avoid large meals at night
- Establish a wind-down bedtime routine: This can be stretching, brushing & flossing, washing your face, reading, meditating, essential oils such as lavender, etc.
- Stick to a routine: Get your body used to winding down and falling asleep around the same time each night
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
Coping through Meditation & Journalling
This is a great way to clear your mind and let go of all those thoughts bouncing around your head. Meditating can teach you to find inner peace despite external conditions. Journalling can help you realize what your thoughts are, and either let them go or problem solve your worries.
Hobbies: Keep Your Brain Active
If there was ever a time to start or expand on your hobbies, it’s now. Finally try out those creative edits for Instagram, write those blogs you’ve been wanting to do, or learn how to master Pinterest. Do puzzles, learn new card or dice games (like Yatzee or Gin Rummy), read, write, listen to a new podcast, get some plants and learn how to properly care for them, reorganize your room or your house, paint your furniture a new color. Stay busy in a way that you enjoy.
Just because we’re physically distancing doesn’t mean we have to be socially distant. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you’re feeling anxious or down. Catch up with a new friend every few days, or set recurring group chats with friends and family. Take a social distancing walk with friends & family, or even a short staycation like our trip to Provincetown on Cape Cod. Humans are social creatures by nature, so be sure to find a way to stay social while being safe and healthy.
Talk to a Professional
There’s no shame in the therapist game! If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need an outside party to vent to, make the time and investment to talk to someone about it. This can be extremely beneficial to not only yourself but those around you. Insurance often covers a good portion of these sessions, and if you call or go to your insurance website you should be able to find a database of professionals to talk to.
What are your healthy coping mechanisms for quarantine?
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