We’re experiencing a huge shift in our everyday lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are we trying to remain calm within a crisis, but we’re also facing frustration. It feels like we’re losing control of the way our time is structured. It’s hard to form and maintain healthy habits when there is so much going on.
To keep that frustration from taking over, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) encourages us to stick with “normality and routine that mirrors life’s daily patterns and practices.”
Here’s our list of healthy habits and ways to maintain structure while social distancing:
Practice well-deserved self-care and hygiene.
JVN summed it up pretty well when he tweeted “Omg I love my new snake skin gloves, oh wait that’s just my new hand skin washing them 17,000 times a day.” But it’s not just about washing our hands. According to the American Psychological Association, “maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine.” Sticking with your self-care routine- showering, brushing your teeth, etc. are ways to maintain your daily routines and boost your mood for the day.
Get all dressed up with nowhere to go.
During times of isolation and distancing, this phrase is actually positive. Dressing as if you are going into work is a great way to maintain a routined mindset- no matter how tempting those sweatpants look. “I think the most important things in a daily routine to stay humanized is to actively dress like you would be going out, and maintain your rituals of being productive,” says psychotherapist Jennifer Freed.
Cook for yourself, and try to stick to your regular nutrition plan (as much as possible). You’ll be carving out intentional self-care time to nourish yourself, and you’ll stick with a somewhat consistent meal plan. “Steer clear of sugary drinks, sugary foods, and too much caffeine,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly, PhD. Dr. Manly says. “Fluctuations in blood sugar and adrenaline can add to a sense of anxiety.”
Just because restaurants and bars are closed doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected with your people. And thanks to texting, FaceTime, social media, etc., it’s easier than ever. People have even started hosting virtual happy hours to connect and socialize.
Despite gyms closing, tons of fitness studios are streaming workouts that you can participate in remotely! You can also use fitness apps for guided yoga or meditation. If those options don’t sound like your thing, try going on a 15-minute walk, just to get out a moving.
Be kind to yourself.
“Right now, it’s OK to not be OK,” said Val Arkoosh, licensed physician and public official, during a recent news conference. “This is a very unusual and unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in, and it’s changing every single day, and it’s perfectly normal to feel unsettled.” Social distancing in the midst of crisis is not easy. Be patient with yourself and trust your ability to establish a sense of control and mitigate stress and panic.
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