Military members and retirees are pretty resilient. So are our spouses and kids. But what is going on now, is just a little bit different. Remaining in quarantine for an extended amount of time is a challenge. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, but there are things we can all do to remain mentally strong. Below we’re offering eight tips to help anyone better manage their mental health while social distancing at home.
Tip #1: Take Breaks from the News and Social Media
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s important to take breaks from social media and the news.1
While you want to stay informed, taking in too much information can be upsetting and stressful. If you continue to refresh your news feed, listen to the radio or watch the news, it’ll be hard to break your attention away from the current global crisis. Find a balance that allows you to stay informed without overwhelming yourself. If you like to start your day by checking social media, for example, you may want to try changing your routine for the foreseeable future. With social feeds inundated with COVID-19 coverage, this could be a jarring way to start the day.
Tip #2: Remember to Exercise
Most of us want to stay on top of our physical health during this time, but exercise can be just as important for your mental health as it is for you physically. Whether it’s yoga, jogging or walking, riding your bike or hiking, participating in these physical activities allows you to take time for yourself - away from others and the news. And with spring in full swing, you may even be able to take your physical activity outdoors.
Tip #3: Practice Meditation
Even if you’ve never done it before, mediation is an effective form of self-care. Through patience and practice, regular meditation can help anyone become more mindful and at ease. It can increase calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance and enhance overall health and mental stability.2
Tip #4: Make Sure You Are Connecting with Others
While we're unable to physically be present with friends and family, it's still possible to keep in touch. Set up a Skype, Zoom or Facetime meeting with your friends or catch up over the phone. Some people quarantined at home have even started sending letters or notes to one another, like penpals. Get creative and think of ways you can connect and brighten someone’s day, because chances are your loved ones are feeling anxious as well.
Tip #5: Try a New Hobby
With more time on your hands than ever, now’s the time to try something new. Whether it’s painting, knitting, photography or whatever else you’ve always had an interest in trying, it’s a great way to do something fun while clearing your head. If you are at home with children, you could also do age-appropriate crafts and activities as a whole family, as this provides fun for everyone involved. If you haven’t picked up a board game in a while, maybe now’s the right time to start a weekly family game night.
Tip #6: Help Others
There are plenty of ways to stay compliant with social distancing regulations while still taking the time to feel good by helping others. Some ideas include:
- Offer to get groceries for at-risk neighbors and family members
- Donate to local food banks
- Provide meals to local hospital workers
- Make a monetary donation online
Helping others in this time of crisis not only helps the community around you, it can make you feel good too.
Tip #7: Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is a time to recharge your batteries, unwind from the day and prepare for tomorrow. Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep will help you to work better, feel better and stay healthy.3
Tip #8: Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet
We may be stuck inside more, but that isn’t an excuse to forego our healthy eating habits. While it’s perfectly fine to enjoy some treats in moderation, make sure that you are still eating meals packed with protein, fruits and vegetables. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help everyone in your household feel better both mentally and physically over the coming weeks.
We hope that everyone stays healthy and safe while doing their best to support themselves and their communities during this time. As we all endure the emotional and mental stress of the coming weeks, it’s comforting to know there are things we can do to make it better.
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