Some people wake up early and witness the slow rise of the sun. Its warm colors start to shine and fill up the gloomy sky. They explore every detail of their window view to see whether anything changed from last night. Others wake up later when the sky is already blue and clear. They prefer to ignore the outside world since it is just another day of quarantine and their window view is a reminder of their current limited life.
In this unusual time, many of us no longer keep track of our routine, feel very unenergetic, or simply can’t find a motivation to start our day. Once in a while, a memory pops in our head. A memory of older days where we were rushing to work or school. Where we had a tight schedule and a list of responsibilities. Where all we wished was for the weekend to last for longer. We wanted to stay in bed, finish all the shows we saved for later on Netflix, eat chocolate chip cookies, and simply forget about the outside world for just a bit longer.
Well, the weekend we wished for is here and was extended for longer than expected. After a month, some of us still find ourselves in the same pajamas from the first day of the quarantine, wondering whether the effort to get out of bed is worth it.
We live in a very extraordinary time. The thin line between taking a day off and completely failing to care for oneself becomes blurrier with each passing day. After a month, being stuck between four walls could take a mental toll on us. In times like this, it is especially important to be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and general reality. Before COVID-19 was introduced, the Canadian Mental Health Association reported that 50% of the Canadian population experienced some sort of mental illness only by the age of 40 and 5% of the population was affected by anxiety disorders .
With our new reality, spending so much time at home may increase these statistics remarkably. Whether you live in a studio apartment or a big house, spending too much time indoors away from your routine, friends, and family could influence your mental state and your general well being. It could be seen in a variety of symptoms such as moodiness, anxiety, trouble sleeping, low immune system, change in eating habits, and general fatigue.
It is quite unclear how much longer this reality will continue. While the media and the government strongly emphasize on our physical health, we need to be also very cautious about our mental health and protect it by all means. To do so, there are several steps we could integrate into our daily life which can elevate our mood and make us feel generally happier and healthier.
1. Take Care of Yourself
Nothing can be done if our physical and mental states are neglected. The actions to change it vary among people. However, there are some common steps everyone should try. It could simply start with taking a shower, eating healthier, staying hydrated, and practicing a healthy sleep routine. You could also get creative and use your time to try new things such as homemade skin care facemasks , search for new healthy recipes, start exercising, or even practice breath and meditation. All these little changes will distract you from the current reality and add some enjoyment and relief to your day.
2. Find a Hobby
Our routine and tight schedule can make our life seem very busy and hectic. Now, when most of our responsibilities were taken away, we need to find something else to fill up our time. For once, it is up to us how we decide to spend our days. With so much time on our hands, we could explore new areas and topics that we were curious about for a long time or that we never even considered. Finding a hobby can give us purpose and make our quarantine more enjoyable. Suddenly, you can find joy in cooking, drawing, dancing, writing, reading, and the list goes on and on. These new hobbies may continue with us even after quarantine is over, bringing some comfort into our daily routine.
3. Set a Goal
Give yourself a purpose. It will positively influence your mood, motivation, and bring some meaning and satisfaction to your day. The variation of goals you can choose from is endless. It could be as simple as cleaning your room, finishing a book you procrastinated for a while, working out for 20 minutes per day, or catching up with your friends. Although creating and achieving a goal is important, don’t forget to enjoy your journey.
4. Be ware of Your Feelings
Times like this are very unfamiliar and confusing. We try to distract ourselves and often avoid our thoughts and feelings. However, avoiding something will not make it disappear. It is very important to be aware of your current reality. During moments where you feel upset or anxious, try to explore this feeling. The reason behind them may not always be clear. However, there are several ways to help put your thoughts together.
One way is to write them down. Sometimes your emotions could be explained by one word or by a whole paragraph. Try to go farther and think about what triggered these feelings. Although it might seem unclear at the beginning, with time, you could find answers you never considered.
Your final step is to look at your feelings written down on a piece of paper and think of ways to improve your situation. You could feel better by simply talking to a family member or a friend, change your routine, or find an activity that brings you joy.
Our life might get so busy that we often suppress our feelings. Now, when we are locked with them, they are harder to be avoided. Instead, we need to confront and accept them. It might be hard at the beginning but will give a great relief with time.
5. Stay Connected
It is very common to feel lonely and isolated during times like this. However, we need to remember that we are not the only ones who feel that way. We are surrounded by lonely people who hide behind screens. During times like this, it is important to reach out, express yourself and wonder about others. Communication is the key to a healthy mental state .
6. Be Someone Else’s Support
Sometimes, feeling happy takes a group effort. Although your friends and family could be far away, make the effort and constantly check on them. Make sure they are happy and safe. Hearing that your loved ones are doing well may positively affect your mood. And if they are not doing as great, let them feel cared for and loved. During this quarantine, we can’t open our door. But we need to open our hearts and support each other.
7. Ask for Professional Help
Sometimes our mental health demands bigger actions than the individual can provide. Referring to a professional could be sometimes the best cure. In this case, the Canadian Mental Health Association provides around the clock assistance.
To use this resource, visit their website: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19