5 Ways To Live A Balanced Lifestyle While In Coronavirus Lockdown

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5 Ways To Live A Balanced Lifestyle While In Coronavirus Lockdown

If you're struggling to overcome feelings of isolation during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic lockdown, then you're not alone.

But just because you're in quarantine, doesn't mean you can't carry on with some semblance of your normal, everyday life.

It's all about finding a balance and protecting your mental health.

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Being trapped inside your house with nothing to do and nobody to visit sounds like an extroverted type-A personality’s emotional demise.

Factor in the necessity of working from home or ensuring enough quiet time, supplying meals, and homeschooling kids could seem like a recipe for a nervous breakdown — especially when you have to do this every day for the foreseeable future.

It might not be so bad if you could have support or keep your routines of self-care… but many of us can’t.

Not only are you socially isolated, but gyms, restaurants, stores, and faith and worship centers are closed.

You need to figure out alternative ways to keep yourself calm, cool, and collected during this COVID-19 crisis.

The suggestions below for keeping your sanity while under lockdown and aren’t meant to make light of the seriousness of this pandemic, just to make sure that you're keeping positive in lieu of panicking.

Here are 5 ways to keep a balanced lifestyle while in quarantine during the coronavirus lockdown.

1. Focus on your health.

Many people are seriously impacted by this virus and minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things seem insignificant.

But there are things you can do to care for yourself and help keep your mood stable during this time.

Some of the best things you can do for your mental health is to continue to focus on your well-being, get physical exercise, try to relax your body and mind, embrace fun, and create positive experiences for your kids if you have them, and yes — somehow remain socially connected.

One of the biggest ways to ensure feeling good emotionally is to feel good physically.

You’re already focused on washing your hands and not touching your face so you don’t catch this virus, but you can also be proactive in other ways.

First and foremost, get your optimal hours of sleep every night. Eat healthy, nutritious meals, and drink lots of water.

2. Get physical exercise.

If you're in an environment where going outside for exercise is still an option, do so!

The sun, fresh air, and movement itself will do you well. A walk, a jog, a hike, a bike ride… Whatever your lockdown situation permits would be great.

For those lucky enough to have a large yard, catch up on weeding or gardening. Plant something. Walk barefoot in your grass. Tend to trees or bushes you may have neglected. Pick some flowers to put on your table.

If you can’t go outside, still exercise. This will help boost your mood and take care of your body. Do yoga, participate in online classes, lift weights or use some of those canned goods you stocked up on.

My family enjoys doing the seven-minute workout together. Many gyms have put videos of classes that you can do at home online.

Getting active helps release pent-up emotions, especially anger, anxiety, and stress.

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3. Get creative.

Paint a picture, color in an adult coloring book, play an instrument.

Activities like cross-stitch, knitting, sewing, woodworking or baking can help you not only be creative but feel productive as well. If you don’t have those materials readily available, doodle.

Write a story, poem, or book. Writing can be a therapeutic way to ward off depression as well.

Remember and record the good times you’ve had in the past, the fun vacations you’ve been on, funny memories you have. Make a list of your accomplishments or goals, or things you’re grateful for.

Try to relax… without a screen.

Screen time actually isn’t considered relaxation for two reasons: The blue light messes up your circadian rhythm throwing your biological clock off, which can mess up your sleep. This likely impairs your patience and mood, increasing anxiety and depression.

Pick up a book or work on a puzzle instead. Read the stack of books or magazines you’ve accumulated over the years. Stargaze, meditate, do crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

Soak in a bubble bath or lay in a patch of sunlight. Stream your favorite music.

4. Engage with your family members and kids.

Many people are facing the challenges of trying to work from home, provide more meals and snacks for family members, and homeschool their kids.

The combination of it all can be quite stressful and challenging, so try your best to have positive experiences with your kids.

It helps you feel more connected to them and less frustrated and resentful that your life is disrupted.

Play a game.

Find that old deck of cards or dust off the board games.

Encourage kids to create a play and perform it. Watch videos to learn ballet, tap or jazz moves.

Have a dance party complete with them decorating the room for it and making the refreshments.

Have a photoshoot fashion contest.

Give kids a theme and see who can be the one who creates the perfect ensemble for it.

Have them create a runway and scorecards.

Take turns telling stories, riddles, or jokes.

Hold a family book discussion. Think of a structure or scenario the kids have to make out of legos or paper mache.

Scavenger hunts or treasure maps throughout the house can keep them entertained, as will good old-fashioned hide and seek.

Make moments together.

Take a video or photos of what the kids do.

This moment will pass, so document it. It’ll be an important event that you'll look back on for decades to come.

You remember exactly where you were on 9/11 and the feelings you had… This season will be ingrained in your child’s mind in a similar way.

The difference is that you have the power to help shape this experience for them. Try to make it better than the terrifying reality you see on the news.

5. Stay socially connected.

Write a letter or a card to someone to lessen both your and their feelings of being isolated. Emails or texts are fine too.

Duo, Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or whatever video chat platform you prefer is a great way to feel like you’re in that person’s presence when you can’t be.

If you’re prone to the slippery slope of a downward spiral into depression that social comparison brings, then do everyone a favor and stay off social media. A real phone call would be better.

If you’ve found yourself sucked into Facebook or Instagram, ask for your friends’ phone number and catch up in a more meaningful (and mentally healthy) way.

Figure out two or three people that you could reach out to during this time and send them something. It can be a gift you purchase for them online,  flowers, or a taste of something delicious that you can have delivered to them.

There are so many thoughtful ways that you can show people you care.

Consider finding ways you can still serve your community. Giving back is another great way to boost your spirits.

This can be financially supporting causes that can help beat this virus. Or give to people who won’t be able to earn money with these stay-at-home restrictions. Pay your housecleaner or gardener, even if they can’t come to provide their service.

Your helping the community can also be in more tangible ways. Provisions to the restrictions are given for medical appointments… perhaps you could make an appointment to donate blood since there’s a great need for it during this time.

Spend some time cleaning out your closets or your entire house and, once you can leave your house, donate unused items to charity. Drop some groceries off to a neighbor or someone you know who may need it.

There are plenty of ways that we can be kind and caring during this time, even from the comfort of our own couch.

Being kind to yourself will allow you to be kind to those in your household, as well. So take very good care of yourself at this time in order to stay healthy — both physically and emotionally!

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Amy Sargent is a licensed marriage and family therapist for over 10 years. For more information on her services, visit her website.