If you have been doing what you are supposed to be doing right now, you are most likely quarantining and practicing social-distancing. For me, it has been fairly easy since I’m already a homebody as it is, but I have needed to go to the grocery store a few times and I still need to go to work. But I have been doing my part in staying at least 6 feet away from people and really just keeping to myself. I deep cleaned my home, I’ve gone out and enjoyed nature on walks and runs, I have helped support local businesses by ordering online or over the phone for take-away, and I have been enjoying plenty of rom-coms and Disney movies (even if Togo hit home a little too hard for me). But this quarantining and distancing can really take a toll on your mental health. For some, the lack of human connection is really hard. Humans are social creatures so it’s natural for us to struggle through this. Here are some things I have thought of to help and some suggestions from my friends and followers.
- Reading – Whether reading is your favorite past time or not, you can’t deny the fact that getting lost in a story is one of the greatest things. Even an audiobook counts if reading isn’t your strong suit. If you need some suggestions you can check out my Goodreads.
- Get Out And Get Active – I can’t stress this enough: going outside is good for your physical and mental health and the doctors highly recommend this especially now! As long as you keep about 6 feet between you and anyone you may come across, you are all good. Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, do some yoga, whatever it is that you want to get active. maybe you could start some new habits while you’re at it!
- Meditate – Meditation is great for clearing your head, anxiety relief, and relaxing. If I remembered more often, I would probably meditate every day (I should really just start scheduling time each day but I’m human so I’ll probably still forget). I personally use the app Headspace and, when I run, the Nike Run Club app which has guided meditative runs that work wonders when I’m stressed out or don’t have the motivation to run. And if you don’t want to spend the money on either of the apps, and you’re not sure where to begin, you can find some guided meditations on Spotify and Youtube.
- Finish Up Those Long Lost Projects – Do you have a scarf that you’ve been trying to finish knitting for almost 3 years now? I certainly do not… which is a complete and total lie because I do have said knitting project and I’m here to remind you it’s ok and now you have the guilt-free time to finish it! Another project to do is your taxes. We all hate doing them but even though the deadline has been pushed back, it’ll creep up on you faster than you know. Doing them now will save you a lot of stress down the road. Whatever your unfinished project may be, big or small, you can now get it done because you have the time on your hands. And for those of you doing online school right now, any free time that you may have is perfect for not procrastinating that paper or project that you have assigned.
- Snacks & Fresh Food – My friend Katy said: “it doesn’t feel like quarantine if you have your favorite snacks and fresh food” which is so true. and if you’re worried about how your food will stay fresh: green bananas will ripen later so get some that are ready/almost ready and a bunch that’s green, it should last you a couple of weeks (hanging bananas also prevents them from browning too quickly) and harder apples last longer and you can put them in the fridge to help with their shelf life. If you are second-guessing your ability to eat all this fresh fruit, buy frozen fruit. It’s perfect for snacking and smoothies and even make a better dessert alternative to something like ice cream (one of my favorites).
- Reconnect – The best thing we can all do right now is to reach out and talk to people. We are all in the same boat. We are all struggling and trying to get by. And today it is so easy to talk to people. we have social media, video chats, texting, calling, and if you really want to wait a while for a response, write a letter or send a card! Communication is easier than ever so why not reach out and talk to your grandma or great uncle? Why not talk to your friend from school that you haven’t seen in a while? Call your friends and their family. We should all be social distancing but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk to each other.
- Help Others – Helping each other out is very important and there are a few ways you can help. Offer to get groceries or run some errands for someone who is elderly, disabled, or has a compromised immune system. Donate to local food banks and shelters because they are getting hit pretty hard. Donate to animal shelters too. Donations don’t have to be monetary either. If you have food or supplies you can spare, call up your local shelters and see if they could take them and work out a system that keeps both parties safe.
- Get Involved In Your Community – Along the same lines as helping others, help your community, too! On the plus side of all this social distancing, the Earth has gotten quite a bit of a break from us humans causing a ruckus and it has helped reduce our carbon footprint. But we can do more. We can clean beaches, clear walking trails, volunteer our time at a sanctuary or a rescue, start a compost bin and/or a garden. There are so many things, like so many things, that you can do to help the planet. All you have to do is get creative.
- Try Something New – It is so easy to get stuck in the same routine which isn’t the best when we are all so alone right now. Try seeing if there are some crafts you can do at home with what you have. Learn how to play an instrument or a new song. Try baking or cooking something new. Draw and doodle things around you. Make up a new game. Play a new game. Start a blog, youtube channel, or podcast. Maybe pick up a side hustle to earn a little extra cash. The possibilities are endless! All you have to do is start.
- Support Each Other – Times are hard right now for everyone. See how you can support your favorite local businesses even if it’s just by buying a gift card to use later, every little thing helps. Something I’ve seen is promoting your friends’ businesses and hobbies, too. While everyone is stuck at home, we are all probably on our phones and, if you are like me you have some friends who are creators as well. My friend Robin has a podcast called Hero’s Archive that you can find on any platform that you would normally listen to podcasts. My friend Cam is a YouTuber and TikToker known as Sheed (but I’m an old lady and I still miss vine so I’m not on the whole TikTok wave). And my loveliest friend in Florida, Liah, has started a photography Instagram that you should all check out.
- Create New Good Habits – Habits are either easy to make or not and usually the easy ones are not the best ones. For me, I want to start getting up earlier without hitting snooze, make my bed properly in the morning, mindfulness/mind dump journaling, running more regularly, meditate daily, and drink more water (no matter how much I try, I cannot live solely off tea). With all this time quarantining, it’s the perfect time to start a new routine and some better habits and its a great time to stop the bad ones.
- Register to Vote – Many places have the awesome ability to allow the people living there to make decisions about how the government is run. How cool is that? But not everyone takes advantage of that right to change and so I’m here to encourage you to register to vote. So many people have risked so much in order to allow everyone to have the right to vote and make a difference in our towns, states, and country. Its never too late and your voice and your vote do matter.
- Do What You Love – This was one of my favorite suggestions from someone on my Snapchat. They said “Don’t forget to keep doing what you love! It’s hard not being able to see people every day, but a little fun can go a long way.” Like how sweet and amazing is that? I’m mad I didn’t think of it. And It’s true. the most important thing we can do is to protect each other and stay positive. and It’s okay to have hard days, this is not easy. Keep your chin up and keep on keeping on!
COVID-19 is a serious thing that we really need to take even more seriously than we are right now. There are lives at risk. You may not know these people but they have other people who care about them and it affects everyone. I ask on behalf of everyone in the world. Please quarantine yourself. Please practice social distancing and only go out into public areas if you absolutely need to. Do your part to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of the coronavirus.