Are you struggling with the new reality that is quarantine life? Has the isolation and lack of freedom to see who you want to see and do what you want to do been getting to you? Everyone’s situation is different, but I think we can all agree that it has affected us in one way or another. These are 5 things that I’ve found make everyday life both more manageable and more enjoyable.
1. Create things to look forward to.
I often find myself feeling fearful about the future. I’m nervous about numerous things, but most prominently is the fact that I’m afraid of not having things to look forward to. Will things go back to normal? Perhaps, but likely it will be a very different world when we finally come out of this. The days are all blending together, and that is both freeing and disconcerting to me.
Because of my lack of structure and lack of motivation, I make it a point to still have things to look forward to. Even if it’s something small, it makes a difference in everyday life.
Drive through the nearest coffee place and get your favorite drink for a pick-me-up. Order relaxing bubble bath salts online, so you can treat yourself to some bubbly goodness at the end of the week. Order (or download, if you have a kindle or something like it) a book that’s been on your list forever.
Ask a friend to be your pen pal, and send letters back and forth. I personally have done this one, except we include little treats in each envelope so it’s more exciting. The point is, find small things to brighten your day or week, and use them as both motivation and reward.
2. Allow yourself to indulge, but don’t make junk food your way of life.
Honestly, during the first couple weeks of quarantine, I ate a lot of stuff that I should not have been putting in my body on a regular basis. A bag of chips or candy now and then is totally fine and I wholeheartedly believe in treating yourself, especially in a time of stress, but it can become an issue when it becomes a way of life.
I feel like crap when I eat junk food more than a couple days in a row. My skin breaks out, I feel bloated, and with that physical feeling comes the guilt of having consumed unhealthy foods that will probably make me gain weight if I keep it up.
And I’ll be honest – I’ve gained about ten pounds since this whole thing started. It’s unfortunate, it’s embarrassing, and somehow even as I exercise it won’t seem to go away. After a couple weeks of getting back into running and taking better care of my body, I’m still ten pounds heavier than I was a month ago. It’s infuriating, and a daily battle to accept that, but at the moment I am trying to focus on staying healthy overall. And if that means staying heavier than normal for now, then so be it.
The point is that it is absolutely okay to indulge and eat comfort food sometimes, but make sure you are paying attention to what you are putting into your body. Avoid mindlessly eating things that only make you feel good in the short-term. Think about offsetting that milkshake with some greens, eating a nutritious meal instead of a whole bag of chips for dinner, and make sure you are taking your vitamins.
And on that note – drink all the water! Staying hydrated is perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your body. It will also help flush any toxins that you’re eating out of your system.
3. Move your body.
Exercise has so many benefits – boosting the immune system, releasing endorphins and acting as a stress reliever, improving bone and muscle health, boosting your mood, helping with weight management – even potentially increasing life expectancy!
We are all different, and various factors will influence the amount and intensity of exercise we will partake in, but if you can get out and move your body for even thirty minutes a day, the benefits are huge!
Can’t go to the gym? Find a home workout on YouTube. Running is too hard on your joints? Take a walk instead. Can’t or don’t want to go outside at all? Put on some of your favorite music and have a dance party in the living room. However you want to get moving, do it! Your physical, mental, and emotional health will all thank you.
4. Talk to the people you care about, as often as you need to.
There is no “too much”! I probably sound like a broken record when I say this, but human connection is a vital part of our lives. Everyone is talking about Zoom nowadays, and it is amazing that we have the modern technology to stay connected as much as we can. I for one feel like I am going crazy and forgetting how to talk to other people sometimes, so I have taken to scheduling zoom happy hours at least a couple times a week with the people I care about.
Already talked to your best friend four times this week and don’t want to be a bother? Call again anyway. The worst he/she can do is not answer, and the best thing he/she can do is say they wanted to talk again too.
Check in with your parents. Send a letter or something special to your grandparents (if applicable). Make a care package for your sibling, or ask for one from someone who has time on their hands. Not always feasible, but worth a shot! I personally have had a lot of time on my hands and have friends in places that are much worse off than where I am living. Sending them a few treats and fun things isn’t much effort, and brightens their day! Little things matter, so do what you can to stay connected.
5. Clean up!
This applies to both your physical surroundings and your online ones. In your home, you don’t have to be a clean freak, but studies have shown that having a clean space around you can help reduce stress levels. Okay, I am aware that some people would argue that they are inherently messy and enjoy living in an “organized chaos”. You do you, just make sure you’re not living in dirt and dust! Avoid allergies, germs, and extra stress by doing a spring cleaning.
And for the online portion – go through your social media. Are there people or profiles that when you see them make you feel any combination of resentful, annoyed, or uncomfortable? There’s no reason for you to continue seeing anything that makes you feel any sort of negativity. If it’s no longer serving you, then get rid of it! Mute or unfollow them. Do a spring cleaning of your online presence, and clear your mind.
These tips are the things that have helped me the most during this time of quarantine, and I hope you enjoyed. It’s a tough time right now, but I have found that little things really do matter. Thanks for reading!
What works for you?