15 Self-Care Tips For Balancing Mental Health While Isolated In Coronavirus Quarantine

Photo: by Olle from Pexels
15 Self-Care Tips For Balancing Mental Health While Isolated In Coronavirus Quarantine
Self, Health And Wellness

The COVID-19 virus has not yet reached its peak in North America, but already it has taken hold of the nation's psyche. With the news of a pandemic on the rise, this novel coronavirus has led to a need for quarantine and isolation, which has driven up stress and anxiety levels around the globe.

At some point, every person will be impacted in some way by this crisis. Protecting your mental health by practicing self-care is just as important as protecting your physical health during this time.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Stress Level Down & Immune System Up Until COVID-19 Is Contained

Worry and fear are natural reactions, and during a pandemic and national emergency, it can almost feel like the world is standing still.

It's not, and you can move forward.

But what can you do if you're in self-isolation?

Of course, if you're officially under quarantine or in isolation after possible contact with someone with the COVID-19 coronavirus, or just as a precaution following travel, you should follow the advice of your local public health or federal agency.

You could be doing a good deed by staying out of the public and slowing down the spread of this highly contagious and serious illness, or you're a complete germaphobe who wants to hibernate to avoid catching the virus at all costs.

Either way, you're going to be looking for ways to pass the time and effectively cope with your situation.

It doesn't matter if you're confining yourself to a room or an entire house, being cooped up for weeks can be a mentally daunting prospect for anyone.

On the one hand, you might have less anxiety knowing that you and your loved ones are protected, but on the other hand, being alone when you're worried has the potential to make you feel worse.

Isolation can be isolating. It can cause loneliness, a sense of disconnection, and separateness. It has a profound impact on your mental and physical health.

You crave contact, but you can't have it just now. To ward off the possible adverse effects of staying home without physical contact with others, you need to consciously create a plan for your time.

Don't allow yourself to get sucked into a panic, imagining ghastly symptoms or morbid outcomes.

Sure, stay in the loop on the latest breaking news, but watching an all-day news channel won't help you maintain your positivity — something everyone needs if they want to fight this outbreak.

Instead, stay pragmatic, compassionate, and grateful. Find ways to be happy, healthy, and productive.

Here are 15 self-care tips to help balance your mental health during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic isolation:

1. Get your finances in order.

Take advantage of your seclusion by getting a jump start on your income taxes or by revisiting your household budget. Either way, you'll feel like you're in control of something, even if it's bad news on that front. Plus, something arduous will be out of the way.

2. Do the chores you never get around to.

There are things that you never get to do, like defrosting your freezer to sort through expired, freezer-burned food and chip away at ice.

Imagine making room for the groceries you've just ordered online and containers of virus-fighting chicken soup you're going to make over the next few weeks!

If you're confined to your bedroom, you'll obviously skip this one, so tackle your bathroom or closet instead and feel the same sense of accomplishment.

3. Give yourself a mani/pedi.

Who says you must stay in your pajamas looking like you haven't left the house in weeks? (You can if you want to!) Still, you deserve to look and feel your best while you're housebound. Your self-care doesn't have to suffer.

Fix your hair, sport a classy shade of red nail polish, and video chat with some friends!

4. Attack your inbox.

If you're looking for something constructive to do, you can face your mailbox. You can start by deleting the thousands of downer messages about the virus, then take a serious look at your subscriptions.

If you're no longer getting value from being on a mailing list, it's time to unsubscribe. Keep the emails that lift you up or serve an essential purpose. Set up folders, rules, and whatever else to get ahead of the curve when you're back in the world, consumed by your busy life.

RELATED: How We Must Reframe 'Social Distancing' To Truly Protect Ourselves & Others During The Coronavirus Pandemic

5. Sing.

Singing quite simply makes you happier. Sing in the shower. Sing while you're doing the dishes or washing your hands.

Check out this video by Gloria Gaynor to her hit "I Will Survive." You will. Keep washing your hands and singing.

6. Do video chats with your family.

You can get sucked up into social media or news apps and fall into a negative spiral, or you can use your technology for good. Telephone your family or go further to create a sense of connectedness by video chatting.

Seeing someone is almost like being there. This is especially important for seniors in your life or those more likely to experience social isolation along with you. Kids love video chats, too, and so will your sweetie if you're going to be apart for a while.

7. Organize your photos.

At first, this idea might not appeal to you. You probably have thousands of pictures on your phone: Selfies, photos of empty shelves at Costco, your family reunion a few years ago, and your cat looking unimpressed by all your snapshots.

But if you dive in, you'll feel good and you'll want to preserve the best photos for other days when you're a little off. So get out your extra drive, make a few folders, and create some free phone space and lasting memories in the process.

Carve out some room for brighter days to come.

8. Contemplate your direction.

A period away from the world provides an opportunity to look in the mirror, see where you are at in your life, and assess whether you're where you want to be. Think deeply without any outside pressures. All you have are your thoughts, your inner wisdom, and your reality.

Now is a great time to think about that career change you've meant to make, ways to get your business back on track, or what more you can do to live a purposeful, authentic life.

9. Give your resume a facelift.

It's always beneficial to keep your resume current. When you're in the throws of work, you sometimes forget everything you've accomplished and the impact you've had on organizations and their people.

Now that you have some time to focus, consider what role you'd like next and how to position your talents. If you haven't been impressed with how your company has been handling this pandemic, you might want to upgrade your resume sooner rather than later.

Find a workplace that values the health and wellbeing of its employees.

10. Do some spring cleaning.

Since you're sanitizing your place anyway, you might as well clean everything and get more of your spring cleaning out of the way!

Get rid of cobwebs, dust on the baseboards, spots on the carpet, and make those windows shine! Oh, and sing while you're doing it.

11. Declutter.

Just like Marie Kondo says, there is magic in tidying up; it's life-changing.

So, while you're getting rid of the psychic vampires in your closet, create a pile for donations, and freshen up some other items to make some cash on sites like Poshmark or Mercari.

12. Read a new book.

It's time to slip under the covers and get lost in one of the many novels on your bedside table. This is your time, so don't feel guilty about wanting to feel inspired or travel a century away in someone else's life.

Spend an entire day reading — just like you did when you had fewer cares on your mind.

13. Watch comedy.

If you're stuck inside all day, be grateful for your TV and your wifi! ­­You may even have hundreds of channels to select from­­ or millions of options on YouTube or simply Google.

You can opt for a comedy. You can choose to laugh, and unlike conferences, schools, special events, and parties, laughter hasn't been canceled.

So, dial back on the news that's likely to invoke more stress, and check out funny videos online or watch goofy, gut-splitting comedies from the good old days.

14. Create a new habit.

It takes about three weeks to create a new habit. If you're isolating yourself and shaking up your routine for a few weeks, you have an opportunity to make worthwhile and lasting changes in your life.

Start a gratitude practice in the morning when you wake up, drink water throughout the day, or reduce your dependence on coffee, smoking, or social media (yes, you can become addicted to it).

The best way to start a new habit is to latch it onto a current one, so try it out and prove to yourself that you can be the change you need in this world.

15. Simply "be."

As the great mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zin writes, "Wherever you go, there you are." Take this opportunity to be with yourself.

Sit for a few minutes during the day, connecting with your breath, letting your thoughts come and go without judgment, and giving yourself the compassion you deserve. Whatever will be, will be. All you have is this moment right now. Feel the fear, then keep going.

This coronavirus can take away many freedoms, but it doesn't take away your ability to decide how to spend your days or how to feel. Experiment with some of these tactics and gain productivity and experience greater joy as you move through this challenging yet temporary period in your life.

RELATED: 40 Funny Coronavirus Memes To Help You Stop Panicking Over This Worldwide Pandemic

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach (ACC) who works with busy women who want to beat overwhelm, find their voice, and create more joy and meaning in their lives. Contact her for a free call so you can jumpstart the changes you want in your life, starting today.

This article was originally published at Lisa Petsinis. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Expert