Coronavirus and Mental Health: Tips to Take Care of Yourself During Quarantine
These past few weeks have been some of the most stressful and mentally taxing of my life, and many other people’s lives on this planet. The world has been overwhelmed with news and fear surrounding the outbreak COVID-19, or the “coronavirus,” a new and highly contagious disease. Schools are online, businesses are shut down, employees are working from home and people everywhere are trying to adjust to this new normal of social distancing, quarantine and staying at home.
With the 24/7 news cycle and the ability to stay constantly up-to-date on everything via social media, it can become very stressful and anxiety-inducing. For college students, this time is especially stressful, as we had to uproot our lives, move home and prepare to complete our courses online. During this time, it is absolutely vital to take care of your mental health and focus on what you can control. Here are some tips on how to prioritize your mental health during this stressful time.
1. Be cautious of your news intake
Especially as PR professionals, monitoring and limiting your news intake can be extremely difficult. We are constantly refreshing the news and are expected to know all of the latest trends, happenings and breaking stories. With the news frequently changing and getting tenser every day, it is vital to take some time every day to step away and not check your news sources. Step away for a bit to let your brain breathe. The news will be there when you get back. Make sure you limit the amount of time you spend reading or watching things making you feel worse. Decide on a specific time to check in with the news. Also, there is a lot of misinformation swirling around - stay informed by sticking to trusted sources of information such as government and CDC websites.
2. Stay connected with people
During this time of social distancing, isolation and quarantine, it can become very easy to feel lonely, depressed and disconnected from the people you love. One of the beauties of technology and social media is the ability to stay connected with people you love, even while you are distant. Set up regular calls or FaceTimes with your close friends so you can still talk and “see each other,” even if it’s through a screen. Check-in with your friends regularly - even just a simple text asking how they are can go a long way. One of my favorite things to do is go to the movie theater and see films with friends. Netflix has an extension called “Netflix Party” and this allows you to stream shows/movies with your friends in real-time. You can communicate with a chat sidebar and enjoy the streaming experience together. If you’re quarantining with family, spend time with them and set-up fun things to do together while in the house. Have a movie night, play games together, make Tik Toks together, anything!
3. Take up a new hobby
While in quarantine, I have this strong urge to take up a new hobby and start baking. I’ve been meaning to get better at baking for a while, and want to do things that keep my mind active while also letting go of stress! This time is vital for trying new things. Read the book that’s been on your shelf for months, buy that new video game, pick up that recipe, learn that new dance craze. Picking up a new hobby will keep you feeling productive and allows you to learn new things.
4. You can still go outside
Even though the country is practicing social distance and self-quarantining, you can still go outside. With the weather getting nicer and the sun starting to shine, it is imperative to get out for some time every day and enjoy it. Take your dogs for a long walk or sit on your porch and read a book. As long as you are being cautious and aware, there is nothing wrong with going for the occasional walk and keeping yourself active.
During this global pandemic, it is extremely vital to take care of ourselves and our communities. Take care of yourself, check-in with your friends and family and stay healthy.
This blog post was written by Caitlin Gemmi, Vice President.