Stay connected to self and others during the coronavirus isolation recommendations. Get creative, stave off screens, be in nature, help others.
Consider the below ideas based on the most recent health and safety recommendations from the CDC and the WHO, as well as your national and state governmental regulations. This article will not be updated daily to reflect all of these changing recommendations. Please use your discretion also based on personal health and ability levels.
Updated April 8, 2020.
Struggling with COVID-19 and your mental health? Not ready for “fun” connective ideas? That’s ok: read this article first.
Get Creative During COVID-19
If you’re feeling stuck inside the house while heeding social distancing recommendations, your home can easily become either your prison or your sanctuary. During crisis and isolation, a numbing of thoughts and senses can come along with not feeling grounded in your normal routine plus with having increased vigilance of the world. So reach into your heart to create more of a sanctuary. Embrace your space with fresh perspective of how to cherish it and your self. Write down your own list of new ways your home can spur your creativity:
Ground into creative presence by:
– digging out creative arts supplies & getting inspired
– reading those “some-day” books sitting on your bookshelf
– cooking a new recipe
– make a fort in the living room for reading magazines, playing games, or FaceTiming friends
– play uplifting music: get out those old records or instruments, or make a new Spotify playlist
– Been wanting to rearrange furniture, or hoping for time to clean out the garage or basement? Well, here you go, I suppose.
Think of how you can find JOY with added time at home, making your space more precious and well-lived in. Want more inspiration? There are countless resources out there right now. Try Colorado Public Radio (CPR)’s new podcast At A Distance with ideas for living well at home and virtual game nights!
Stave off Increased Screens
Let’s be honest: screens are extra seductive right now with all the attention to the latest coronavirus news plus checking in with friends, family, and co-workers about COVID-19 life.
But the same studies and our anecdotal experiences still apply: screens make us feel worse. We seek unreal, untrue “connection” via social media, which is shown time and time again to decrease our collective & individual moods and increase dissatisfaction with life. Those outcomes are not going to help in these new and interesting coronavirus times.
Consider seeking the opposite of your urge right now and set your phone down. You’re having to look at extra screens already due to that WFH or online-school life, and social time might be more phone and video than in person right now. So when these apparent necessities are done for a moment, set your phone, tablet, laptop, and TV to the side.
There is a lot lately about “coronavirus means more time to binge watch TV!” Ask yourself if more TV will really help your current state of mind. Ask yourself if you’re numbing with TV or scrolling IG out of underlying anxieties of coronavirus life changes. Do yourself a favor and try out the other ideas in this article.
Don’t Neglect Nature: You Can Leave Your House!
*As of publication time, it is still allowable to go outside — so GO!
Get out of the house: Walk yourself or your dog. Go for a hike. Bike around. Discover your backyard/sideyard/courtyard/balcony/windows!
Especially if you have access to nature (like we do here in Denver!), then utilize it. Or go to a local park. Don’t stay stuck inside with the growing negative thinking that this is all you have. Get fresh air and vitamin D to help with your mindset and all the icky changing hardship of COVID-19.
If you are on a trail or sidewalk: still make eye contact and greet others who pass by. It’s no surprise that “pandemic” elicits fear. Unfortunately this can also mean fear of “others.” Notice if you are unnecessarily not even greeting people as you normally would and instead cultivate a mindset of togetherness and compassion. Even if we are less “together” physically and socially, we can still convey empathy to each other.
Stay Active at Home
Missing your local yoga studio or gym? Talk to friends about their favorite online options for workout videos or yoga. I personally love the genuinely goofy and chill Yoga with Adriene free videos on YouTube (not an ad, just a fan).
Stay active in your yard or taking that neighborhood walk. Try to build in movement options in your day just as you would if you were leaving home. And as always, follow your body’s cues about what movement you need: if feeling down and vulnerable, do some gentle yoga; if anxious energy or overly couped-up-ness prevails, consider a brisk walk or jog.
Helping Others Is A Great Cure for Coronavirus Helplessness
Helplessness is a common experience during times like coronavirus and other social crises. A beautiful way of mitigating your personal helplessness is to help others. As fitting (physically, mentally, and public-health-wise), consider how you can help a neighbor or friend who might be immunocompromised or of advanced age, etc, by aiding in obtaining groceries, food, entertainment, comfort, or safe connection. Ask people who come to mind what you can do to be useful. If from afar, contact older relatives who might feel isolated with phone calls. There are social media and other neighborhood outlets to join online where folx nearby can ask for assistance; if there are public-health-responsible ways to do this, give it a try!
And of course when the stress of coronavirus exceeds your coping or you want a third-party ear, consider talking to a licensed psychotherapist about anxiety or deeper fears. In the Denver area? Read more about Brittany Bouffard, LCSW, and reach out to schedule a complimentary phone introduction at BouffardPsychotherapy@gmail.com. #inthistogether
More on Coping with Coronavirus and Your Mental Health here
Consider these recommendations based on the most recent health and safety recommendations from the CDC and the WHO, as well as your national and state governmental regulations. This article will not be updated daily to reflect all of these changing recommendations. Please use your discretion also based on personal health and ability levels.