The Coronavirus hasn’t reached its peak yet. Meaning that since doctors and scientists haven’t yet created a vaccine, more and more people will be infected so staying indoors is more imperative now than ever since it prevents the virus from spreading. While the sentiment of staying inside has been enthusiastically supported, for some of us (extroverted social butterflies) staying indoors for long periods of time can be tough.
Aside from cabin fever and anxiety, the lack of socialization and change of routine can affect our mental state. Here are five things you can do to help you stay centered during this chaotic time.
Meditation has proven to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression in people. Most importantly, it reduces stress levels. Currently, we are facing the world’s reaction to the coronavirus and mass hysteria has alarmed all of us. Naturally, some of us are worrying about whether or not this will get resolved soon, work, groceries and other things that were not of concern two weeks ago. To help develop a greater sense of awareness, meditate for 10 minutes a day. Meditation helps raise self-awareness as well as develop concentration. This will all come in handy to help prevent the panic from getting to you.
To mediate, close your eyes and sit in silence. Try to avoid any specific thoughts from dominating your mind. To detach from concern or thoughts, breathe in and breathe out. Listen to your breath. If you meditate outside, listen to the wind, trees, and birds. Try to stay still for 10 minutes. Try this every day and you’ll find yourself more still and more at peace.
Stretching is a must during the Coronavirus quarantine. This is particularly helpful with anyone with joint or chronic pains. Besides improving the quality of sleep and increasing the blood flow, stretching has been associated with improving the overall mental state of someone who stretches regularly. Stretching releases endorphins. Endorphins interact with the part of your brain that reduces your perception of pain. This is why when you stretch your joints and muscles feel as they just physically released any pain they were in. Endorphins also trigger a “high” feeling in your body. It allows you to have a clearer, more positive perspective on the day and life’s events. In today’s world, stretching is a must.
Reading is one of the best ways to work out mental muscles. It allows us to get away into a world of literature and creativity and it stimulates our mind long after we’ve put down the book. Experts have even said that exercising your brain can help prevent dementia. But besides physically altering our brain for the better, reading also makes us more empathetic. When we read into other ways of life, whether fiction or nonfiction, it helps give us a glimpse into how life can happen. People who read have shown to develop more empathy and connectedness to the world, allowing them to function for something beyond just themselves.
The benefits of journaling come from the dialogue you create with yourself once you begin to journal. When you jot down your ideas, emotions, and feelings, you are having a conversation with yourself that too often we don’t have. Giving yourself time to journal while you are self-quarantining, you are making all your thoughts come to life and therefore, confronting them. This will help you put concerns at ease or find solutions to any problems you have. It will also give you a voice of reason — yours.
Journaling has been so useful that it has become a resource and an exercise in both cognitive and trauma therapy. It allows for the person journaling to do self-reflection and to be introspective, giving them the opportunity to get to know themselves better,
Listen to Music
When was the last time you listened to music? I mean, when was the last time you really listened to music — uninterrupted. Listening to music and listening to a complete album can help you feel more understood. Music not only allows us to unlock repressed or unrecognized emotions, but it also serves as a language when we can’t find the right words to express ourselves. Besides improving motivation and endurance, music can also release stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, listening to music can improve your self-analysis and self-understanding.
I know cooking can seem like a chore sometimes. It takes time, it costs money, and the cleanup time is oftentimes too tiring. However, the benefits of cooking go beyond nutrition. In fact, cooking has actually become a go-to therapy tool for people who struggle with their mental health. Cooking also gives you perspective on how you are nurturing and providing for both yourself and your household. For an extra dose of therapy, as you are prepping your food, make sure to give thanks to the Earth and all the people involved who helped you receive your food.
Exercise in Nature
Being inside can limit our workout routines. Working out in nature can help you get some fresh air, maintain your social distance, and keep your body strong. Take a run around the lake, do lunges at outdoors, go on a hike. When you are in nature, the calming environment naturally puts you in a more peaceful state. The endorphins from your work out combined with the serenity of nature will automatically help you feel both accomplished and tranquil.