Emily Aiken ’20, Editor-in-Chief
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the world began shutting down, the idea of staying home for an extended period of time did not really bother me. I consider myself a homebody, so I did not think quarantine would be as difficult as it was. About a week and a half in, I found myself feeling lost as I could not go to school, go to the gym, or see my friends. I was bored and lonely, yet I had zero motivation, and the thought of quarantine lasting possibly for months daunted me. I realized that there is a big difference between choosing to spend time at home and not being able to leave home at all, and that everyone is experiencing this right now. A lot of things going on are out of our control. This may cause feelings of anxiousness, but it is important to remember that you can control how you react. So while we are stuck at home, why not make the best of it? Here are some ways to keep yourself sane during this time.
- Take a break from the news – While the media can be a good way to stay informed, we tend to focus a lot more on the scarier things going on. Negative news is everywhere, especially during a pandemic, and if you tend to be anxious, stressful news can amplify that. This pandemic is also considered an infodemic. False information is everywhere, so always check your sources. Stay informed, of course, but do not let the media consume you.
- Start a new hobby – The routine you once had of going to school, work, or the gym has suddenly been taken away. While sticking to a routine can give you a sense of “normalcy,” breaking out of a pattern can ultimately help you doing these times, and one of the best ways to do so is starting a new hobby. There are tons of new things you can try out, and the internet is the best place to start. Try learning a new language, giving yoga a shot, or finding something else creative to do like painting.
- Implement healthy and productive habits – Because life looks so different right now, it is easy to find yourself unmotivated or in a rut. You may feel like you can not workout as much because you do not have access to any gyms, or you may find yourself procrastinating more because of the ample amount of free time you now have; however, you should view this time as an opportunity to develop new habits. It is difficult for a lot of people to begin implementing habits during their normal lives because things pop up or they get too busy. During these times, you have a lot more predictability with how your day is going to look, which ultimately allows you to build new habits that you can bring with you when life returns back to normal.
- Stay in touch with loved ones – Human beings are social creatures, and socializing is vital for all aspects of your wellbeing. According to doctor Angela K. Troyer, having an active social life allows for better physical and mental health, and it even helps you live longer. But how are we supposed to maintain a healthy social life if we are stuck at home? Nothing beats face to face interaction, but virtual communication like social media, text messages, phone calls, and email can do the job for the time being. Websites like Zoom allow for video chat among many people, and it is completely free. Netflix has a new feature called Netflix party where you and your friends can watch shows and movies together while you group chat.
- Prioritize the health of you and your family – During times like these, it is easy to feel pessimistic. Staying home 24/7 mixed with uncertainty can really take a toll on your mental health. Thanks to the world of technology, there are a variety of applications that can help you cope. Apps like Headspace and Insight Timer Make give you access to hundreds of guided meditations. Other apps like Talkspace give you virtual access to licensed therapists. Be sure to also check on your loved one and remember that everyone reacts to stressful situations differently. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends to call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your everyday activities for several days in a row.
This is a very uncertain time, and that can cause a lot of fear. But it does not mean that you have to give into that fear. Take advantage of this time. Be smart. Be safe. Be informed. Most importantly, take care of yourself and others.
Photo courtesy of aljazeera.com