After several months of staying home, social distancing, and avoiding contact with others, you are probably a little frustrated and anxious. Your feelings are totally understandable, under the circumstances. Many people are experiencing these same challenges. As we wrap up Mental Health Month, let’s take a look at some tips to improve your mental health during self-quarantine.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers the following guidance to help you during these stressful times:
Maintain a Routine
Although not much seems to be normal these days, keeping a regular routine will help you feel more productive and focused. If you are working from home, try to keep the same work hours as you would if you were to commute to your job. Maintain boundaries, physically and mentally, between your home life and your work life.
When you get up in the morning, go through the same routine for work as you “normally” would. Shower, dress, eat a healthy breakfast, and start your workday. Separate your workspace from your personal space as much as possible, setting up a room or even just a corner with a table or desk. It may be tempting to lie on the couch and watch tv while you work but this would not be part of your routine during normal times and so should not be during self-quarantine either.
Take Reasonable Precautions, But Don’t Go Overboard
News about COVID-19 tends to be scary. When you use the proper precautions, though, you can stay safe and healthy. One of NAMI’s tips to improve your mental health during self-quarantine is to not obsess over these precautions. Check with reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on appropriate guidelines, such as washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. When you struggle with anxiety, you may be tempted to go overboard with your precautions but that will only increase your stress level.
Find Ways to “Get Going”
Motivation may seem difficult to find when you must stay at home and social distance from other people. While you may not be able to go to work, go to your favorite gym, or even go for a leisurely day of shopping and eating out, you can find ways to get yourself going each day.
Take steps to boost your “psychological immunity” as well as your physical health and well-being. Exercise is a great motivator and it can help you relieve your stress. A brisk walk outdoors, while safely keeping your distance from others, is a very effective mood booster. Practicing yoga each morning is a positive way to calm your mind and get your day started.
Try Not to Fixate on Sleep
Just as your normal daytime routine may be disrupted by the effects of COVID-19, so might your sleep routine. Particularly if you are also experiencing anxiety, you may find it difficult to sleep well or at all at night. Worry and insomnia can become a frustrating cycle. If you are not falling asleep after lying in bed for 15 minutes, get up and change your “mental channel.” Read a book, listen to relaxing music, or even watch a little tv. Use meditation techniques to notice what is happening in your mind and body, observing your thoughts rather than getting caught up in them.
Stick to Consistent Meal Times
Your new routine should include consistent meal times. Instead of snacking throughout the day, out of boredom or stress, plan healthy, nutritious meals that will feed your physical and mental health. A few comfort foods now and then are fine but focus on eating well and eating on a regular schedule.
Follow Your Regular Mental Health Treatment Plan
One of the most important tips to improve your mental health during self-quarantine is to continue with your treatment program. If your therapist has had to close their physical office, they probably offer a telehealth option so you can continue your sessions virtually. The same goes for addiction treatment programs. Now is not the time to take a break from your recovery. Work with your provider to ensure you can continue receiving the care you need for your mental health and for your addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Practice Mindfulness and Acceptance Techniques
Stress and worry about the future are common during the pandemic. Manage your mental health by focusing on the present moment. Meditation, yoga, prayer, and mindfulness techniques can help you temper your emotional reactions to the isolation of self-quarantine.
Be Kind to Yourself
Self-compassion is critical for being able to cope with emotional challenges. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can ease your feelings of isolation by realizing that you are not really alone in your situation. Take care of yourself by following these tips to improve your mental health during self-quarantine so you can stay mentally and physically healthy.
FIND THE HELP YOU NEED DURING COVID-19
At Sober Austin, we will continue to provide available resources throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, so you can get the help you need for substance abuse, mental health, and other areas you may struggle with in your life. Check out our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to also contact us directly by calling 512-640-9661 or emailing email@example.com.