Social distancing and self-isolation give us our best chance of preventing and defeating COVID-19/the coronavirus. However, this goes against our natural survival instincts and needs. We thrive off of social connections and venturing outdoors in the sun.
Being stuck inside, no matter how vital it is for our communities and healthcare systems right now, can take a serious toll on our mental health and wellbeing. Isolation, loneliness and the feeling of being trapped can all cause excess anxiety and/or depressive symptoms.
So, it’s important to prioritize self-care during these tempestuous, unsettling and uncertain times. Otherwise, the weeks ahead will seem harder and longer than they need to. We’ve put together 8 essential tips and advice to help support you in staying positive and healthy during the quarantine period.
We’re not saying to go in heavy on a spring clean, but organizing your home and living spaces can actually be a great way for calming down the mind and relieving stress. Don’t get overwhelmed by tasking yourself with decluttering the entire house all in one day, just take one corner at a time. This will help you spruce up your space whilst calming down your potentially whirring brain.
Did you know that the act of breathing can do wonders for your happiness levels? Deep inhaling and exhaling flood our symptoms with endorphins (our happy hormone!) which tells our brain to chill out.
If you haven’t already, try to meditate each day. There are loads of apps out there to download and try if you think you need some additional guidance. It’s totally simple too: turn your phone away, and just focus on your breathing!
Deep breathing can also help your skin: a true bonus! It will flush any excess carbon dioxide from the body and replace it with oxygen which is vital for cell energy. By improving circulation via your breath, you will invigorate your cells and minimize the impact of stress on your skin too.
Humans thrive on routine and the potential dramatic shift in your schedule can leave you feeling out of kilter. Try to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every night. Schedule meal breaks, screen breaks, social time like phone and video calls with friends and family, and exercise breaks and really try to stick to them. It’ll help your brain manage isolation much better.
Moving our bodies can really help keep those stresses and worries at bay. There are millions of work out videos on the internet and plenty of apps and influencers to follow online. 30 minutes of exercise per day is the recommendation. If you’re in total lockdown, it’s essential to help keep the blood flowing and the body active for a healthy mind.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not claiming TV is bad – there are some incredible box sets to catch up on right now on a variety of platforms. But too much screen time can have a negative effect on your brain’s structure and function and really dampen your mood. Be mindful of what you're choosing to watch too… It might not be the time to buckle down on a zombie apocalypse film, right?
Take some time away from your computer, phone, tablet or television and read that book you’ve always said you wanted to read. You’ll really feel like you’ve accomplished something too!
It’s vital to look after your health right now, so make sure you’re getting the right nutrients. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (if possible!) and supplement your diet with vitamins and mineral tablets where needed. You can find vitamins and supplements in large supermarkets, or online.
Water plays a massive part here too, so keep up that all-important hydration. It’s key to feeling and looking healthy. As well as defogging the mind, it encourages your skin to stay clear and strengthens your immune system. Set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to drink a glass of water every hour!
It’s no doubt a very strange time, and probably more time is being spent away from loved ones than you’re used to. Make sure to keep in touch with them as often as possible to keep relationships strong and to provide that vital emotional support to one another. Social health is arguably just as important as physical health.
If you have a pet, make sure to prioritize some time with them. They’ll be feeling the strain on getting less time outside too. Simply petting your pet can release lots of happy hormones into your brain and body.
Schedule in some you time whether that’s a bath with that bath bomb you’ve been waiting to use, don a face mask or hair treatment or give yourself an at-home manicure. These little self-presents are a wonderful way of keeping your happy hormones high!
As we learn more about the behavior of the COVID-19 virus, information is constantly being updated around how to support the fight against it. Stay up to date with coronavirus advice on the NHS website or the Centers For Disease Control and Preventions dedicated web page.