The first weeks in quarantine might have seemed like a nice break from reality. But as time has gone on, mental health has become a much bigger concern as emotions like fear, anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness, isolation, depression and even desperation take hold. So what are techniques or things we can do to help strengthen our mindset, elevate our well being and keep our thoughts from falling prey to those unwanted and unhealthy emotions?
Care for yourself. Make sure you are practicing the simplest self care rituals by taking regular showers, baths, getting dressed, moving, cooking healthy meals and drinking enough water or tea to keep you hydrated. Caring for yourself subconsciously speaks to your self worth and self love.
Care for others. Sometimes pitching in to help others is exactly what we need to feel connected, relevant, useful and like we are part of a solution. What can you do during this time? Can you sew masks for neighbors and friends? Deliver food to an elderly neighbor or your local senior center. Connect someone who is depressed or frightened with community resources. When you focus on others, your own issues melt away help you focus on the greater good.
Connect. Schedule a family FaceTime, call your family and your friends instead of texting. Reach out. Real connection and honest talk allows you to communicate and share in meaningful ways that have an uplifting effect on our psyche.
Make a plan. In the case of emergencies, knowledge is power. Knowing what you will do if your reserves run out will do a lot to settle general unease. Write down essential emergency numbers and make a list of your state and city provisions as well as local charities for things such as meal assistance should you ever find yourself in need of it. Sometimes just knowing it’s there will give you confidence and reassurance.
Limit News and Social Media. Turning on the news or scrolling through social media first thing in the morning is a direct way to depression. Keep the news off and just check in for the day’s highlights. Listen to music. Find things to “do” other than television and if you really want an update, call a friend to discuss the day’s developments.
Gratitude Journal. Gratitude journaling has a profoundly positive impact on your mental state. Just writing three things you’re grateful for each day refocuses your brain on what it good instead of what is bad. After a while, you look for more and more to be grateful for and, amazingly, you also have more and more to be grateful for.
Meditate and breathe. Meditation and breath work are powerful tools for calming your mind, body and spirit. You can start simply by getting in a quiet spot, in a comfortable position and breathing deeply and slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. With every breath, inhale love, peace and abundance and exhale fear and negativity. Add prayer or visualization to your meditation if you wish. Visualize and feel in your heart what a perfect day is for you. Call abundance to you and picture what that means. Your mind is your most valuable tool in creating peace of mind and contentment. If you need help, there are apps with amazing guided meditations and many free online sessions during this time as well.
Learn something new. Challenge yourself to come out of quarantine with a new skill or new knowledge, whether that’s learning to play an instrument, teaching yourself a new computer program, mastering a new game, learning yoga, how to meditate, learning a new language or becoming an expert on one subject that interests you. If you are learning, you are growing as a person.
Be in nature. Get out into the sunshine. Take your shoes off and walk in the grass. Take a hike. Bird watch. Fresh air and being grounded in nature is a universal healer.
Be present. 95% of the things we worry about will never happen. Learn to let go of worrying or anxious thoughts and ground yourself in the present moment. Take a deep breath. Explore your surroundings. Look at where you are at the moment. Ask yourself if you are safe. Do you have what you need at this moment? Put your full and mindful attention on where you are at your present moment.
Get help. If you or someone you love needs greater attention, never hesitate to seek the help of medical professionals. A few online resources include: