For the past 2 weeks I’ve sleeping in and binging on Netflix. I realized that it might be time to write about mental health. Most of us are used to our early morning-work routines, fresh air and in-person interactions with other humans. But, during a quarantine we have to find a way to preserve our mental health. Not just to keep ourselves sane, but our families as well.
Now is the time to search for connection, in a different way.
I completely understand how important this quarantine is for our society’s health and future. It’s not just another flu, it’s a deadly virus. Since Corona is a respiratory disease and I have asthma, I am being very careful. I’ve been staying quarantined until it’s an emergency such as getting groceries or prescriptions.
I’ve been doing out-of sorts-types-of-things, that many of you may relate to. I’ve stared at walls so many times, I can trace constellations out of the dots on the ceiling. I’ve been wearing pajamas so much that I’ve forgotten what jeans and bras feel like. I now have easy access to the kitchen, leading to more snacking than usual. It gets hard to shake off the “cabin fever fog” when the most interesting thing I see is my cat, who obviously can’t talk back.
When I step on the porch, the sun beams shock my brain into a state of confusion. Now, I’ve got a migraine. It takes me about a minute to re-process that there is fresh air and a world outside of my apartment. Last and the one that I regret the most is…
I have resorted to Reality T.V. What has become of me?!
Despite the overwhelming amount of information telling people to STAY INDOORS because this could KILL US ALL….People are still going out. Those are the people that get the virus and the news is the only thing that lives to tell the story. It is understandable, in a way, how people want to go back into the world. I mean, I would “die” (no insensitive Carona-pun intended) for Froyo and a walk in the park. Dang, I’d even pay you to let me talk to strangers and I’m an introvert. In addition, I miss my family and want to play with my dog again. Unfortunately so, we aren’t military members, trained on how to handle isolation. You can go one day as yourself and the next you are crawled up in a ball in the corner. I think I’ve diagnosed myself with claustrophobia and an allergy to my roommates. You could have started as yourself and now you’re questioning your own existence, or lack-therof.
Isolation can cause a complete personality change, if you let it.
But, this is not a time that we can follow all of our wants. This is a PANDEMIC. That means we are going to have to find ways to deal so we don’t all die. Pretty basic stuff here, guys. But what has us ripping our hair out is, how?
Don’t fear, Caeli is here!
This is my Quarantine Recipe to Sane Mental Health
Step 1: Set your normal routine. Wake up as you would for work, make breakfast, take a shower and get out of bed! Get up now so you can sleep that night. It’s a seductive choice to lay in bed all day. But, it is a choice. That doesn’t mean your choice is now laying on the couch either. Move as you normally would in the mornings. Granted, you may have a harder time rolling out of bed. But, you do it every morning so that you can see a better day ahead. Why waste every day until life turns into a blur? Just because when you have been home before, you’ve been lazy doesn’t mean you have to continue doing that. Before, home was a place to relax because we’ve spent so much time during the day working. Well, why not work in a different way?
Step 2: Actually get up now. Remember the hobbies that you’ve neglected before now. Painting, cleaning, the mess in the closet, writing, cake decorating, or learning something new online. Now you can get back to them.
You can always find time to expand your mind. When you do, it will feel just as good as endorphins from exercise. Doing the things that you love will help you take your mind off of your anxieties. You have the choice to just sit there and feel sad and nervous for the world every day. You also have the choice to turn your time into personal improvements of yourself. No matter what we go through in our lives, we are responsible for our health. That also means our perspective.
Step 3: Take the time to exercise. You have more free time so why not use it for your health? Self-care is something we’ve ignored before because we always used the excuses of I’m too busy or I’m working. Well, now you might not be! So, take care of yourself. If you usually go for a run on the trails, switch to your T.V. There are more than enough workout videos to get you in shape. By the time you go back to work, people will be amazed at your transformation. And so will you. It may feel weird at first, taking so much time for yourself, you may feel guilty, almost as if you aren’t actually doing anything. Think about this time as your personal work. Every day work harder at being a better version of yourself. Once you go back to work, you will be surprised at what you’ve actually learned about yourself. Getting through personal hurtles will help you professionally as well.
Step 4: Reach out to your community-online. Social isolation can really mess with your mind. We actually do need to talk with other people because it is a survival instinct. Now is the time to re-define what a community is. There is something to be said about the physical energy you get from others in a physical space. But, since that is not possible, we find a way. Still call and Skype the people you care about and maybe reach out to those you’ve seemed to forget. The more we find connection in others through sharing our opinions and coming to conclusions together, the easier every day gets. That’s called support. And we sure need it.
Step 5: Realize this is temporary. The anxiety that most of us are feeling is because we are racking our brains for the answers to our “what ifs”. But, those possibilities have not come into play. Therefore, we cannot say the future. We can only focus on the best that we are doing right now. We are not going to be in this situation forever. We always find a way to do what we need in life. We’ve survived this far. We can keep going.