Most of us have never been in this situation before. Public places like bars, restaurants, and gyms have been temporarily shut down and while places are beginning to open up, we’ve been encouraged to stay home as much as possible. Millions of Americans have been laid off for the unforeseeable future, if not let go entirely.
Social distancing is what they call it. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must limit our physical interaction and proximity to other people. However, while this helps you take care of your health in terms of avoiding the virus, it can be quite difficult to adjust to these changes mentally.
Working from home (or not at all) was a bit of a novelty at first, but over time our mental health can start to suffer. Between overwhelming boredom, isolation, and feelings of cabin fever, you can learn how to take care of yourself while adhering to social distancing protocols.
How to Take Care of Your Health during Social Distancing
The question is, what can you do to improve your mental fortitude while stuck at home? How can you ensure you’re taking care of your mental health and stay sane while social distancing?
Keep reading to find out.
Get Ready for the Day
It may sound trivial, but it can significantly improve your mindset if you spend a little time getting ready for each day. Even if you’re working from home (or not at all), spending all day in your pajamas can foster a sense of worthlessness in ourselves.
Instead, avoid sleeping in. Wake up early, shower, get dressed in something other than pajamas, and get ready for the day. Odds are you’ll be much happier and much more productive.
Stick to a Routine
Routines represent some semblance of order in our lives, even when you’re working from home, you can’t find toilet paper anywhere, and everything feels upside down. Most of us thrive by adopting some sort of routine in our day-to-day lives.
Working or not, you can still make sure you’re staying busy each day with a regular schedule.
Okay, so how does one stay busy during social distancing if they aren’t working?
Staying busy doesn’t mean finding shows on Netflix to binge-watch or diving so deep into a video game that you lose touch with reality. It means finding ways to be productive in and around your home.
For example, this is a great time to conquer nagging home improvement projects that are long past due. These can include anything from decluttering your home, repainting rooms, finishing the basement, cleaning the gutters, and more. You could also try your hand at new projects that scream “productivity” like planting a garden.
It helps to set goals for yourself each day or week to maximize your productivity. We tend to work harder when we have an objective.
Take Time for Self-Care
Learning how to take care of your health means learning how to set aside time for self-care. In busier, more socially active times before the outbreak of COVID-19, this could be as simple as watching your favorite TV shows or movies or getting lost in a video game.
However, with social distancing, we’re guessing you get plenty of that in already. Moreover, too much screen time can lead to more anxiety and depression.
Instead, focus your self-care strategy on activities that build on your mental fortitude, physical health, self-confidence, etc. This includes working out, meditating, doing yoga, giving yourself a manicure and/or pedicure, expanding your education, and more.
This is also a good time to reinvest in hobbies you haven’t had time for until recently. You could pick up your old knitting needle, go back to painting, or get back into music.
Next, remember that just because we’re social distancing, it doesn’t mean we have to stop being social. Humans are social creatures. We thrive in societies and benefit from long-term, committed relationships with friends and partners.
To satisfy your social needs, get a group of friends or family together on a live chat and spend a few hours catching up. Make sure you’re spending time with one-on-one conversations each day as well. Texting is great, but we recommend using phone calls or video chats to humanize the process.
Believe it or not, showing love to someone can improve your mental health.
While you may not be able to access any public beaches or go to a public swimming pool right now, it’s still important to get out into the sunlight this summer. When our skin absorbs sunlight, our bodies synthesize vitamin D, which is very important to our mental health. You will only need about 10-30 minutes of sunlight to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D. However, do not forget to apply sunscreen when exposing yourself to the sun in pursuit of increasing your vitamin D reserve. Protecting yourself against skin cancer risks is just as important as obtaining your daily dose of vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps keep our moods lifted. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to increased levels of anxiety and depression.
Just because many public gyms are closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t still be active. In fact, you should be active. Sedentary lifestyles are commonly linked to poor moods, mental illnesses, and physical diseases.
Make sure you’re spending time each day introducing some kind of physical activity into your routine. You could go for a run, jog, or walk around your neighborhood. You can also invest in some weightlifting equipment and/or a cardio machine to start an exercise routine.
We understand that some of these things cost money, but learning how to take care of your health physically and mentally is invaluable. If that means spending a few hundred dollars for a modest home gym, it will be worth it in the long run.
Eat Healthy Foods
Finally, remember that the foods you consume play a major role in your mental fortitude. Eating pizza, ice cream, and other junk foods is immediately satisfying. However, that feeling typically disappears as soon as we’ve finished eating, leaving us feeling guilty (and sometimes with a bit of a tummy ache).
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in these types of foods intermittently, you should focus the staple of your diet on nutritious whole foods to maximize your mental health.
Not only will the vitamins and minerals boost your mood on a chemical level, but the physical results will also improve your self-image. Aim to eat whole, nutritious foods (veggies, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, etc.) 80 percent of the time and allow yourself your guilty pleasures 20 percent of the time.
Looking for Healthcare Professionals in Your Area?
Sometimes, learning how to take care of your health, mentally or physically, means reaching out for help. These are interesting times that, for most of us, are unprecedented. Don’t feel bad about needing help.