I know there is a lot of information being thrown your way about how to survive the quarantine best. Most information feels overwhelming and impractical:
Write a Book!
Change your entire life!
Build a commercial gym in your living room!
Learn a new language!
Be a hero!
I want to simplify this for you with practical information backed by science.
KEEP YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE:
Your mind and body are experiencing stress by the large number of changes that are taking place. It is essential to minimize the amount of change where you can. By keeping your familiar routine, you are freeing your mind and body to preserve the energy needed for the places that demand change.
Set the alarm for your pre-quarantine wake-up time. Have coffee, shower, get dressed, have breakfast. Usually, after the morning routine is where most of us are experiencing change. If you’re working from home, keep your regular business hours! SET BOUNDARIES! It is easy to work all hours of the day and night when you are working from home. Keep your pre-quarantine night routine. Go to bed at the same time you always have. You are a habitual creature by design. Your sleep-wake cycle is critical to your mental, emotional, and physical functioning.
Changing your sleep can have disastrous results including anxiety, mood disturbance, and depression.
EAT. EAT. EAT.
Yes, I know, food is a real concern and issue for all of us right now. However, you still need to eat three full meals per day. If you are hungry and need snacks, go for it!
Did you know that when you’re deeply concentrating, your brain is burning calories?
Right now, the mental and emotional taxation of overwhelming change and adjustment means we are all burning extra calories, even if we are holding down a couch! You need to eat! Of course, eating nutritious meals is always ideal to properly fuel your mind and body; however, that is not necessarily an option right now. That is ok!! My family is usually organic and healthy; however, that has not been readily available for grocery pick-up, so we get what we can! We have had frozen meals, sausage and pancakes on a stick, frozen pizza, and many other items I have never purchased. My children have literally asked me “what is this?” Be grateful to have calories to fuel stressed minds and bodies. Our saying around here is, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!” Give yourself grace and know that whatever nutritional changes you have to make during quarantine is outside of your control and temporary!
SUN. MOVEMENT. SLEEP.
The sun is God’s gift to all of us. It gives Vitamin D. It renews energy. It brings joy. Every day get outside and get sunlight! Go for a walk, eat a meal outdoors, read a book in the backyard or front porch. If you cannot get out, roll up the blinds and do these activities basking in the sun that pours through your window!
Get sunlight to alleviate the pressure of being held captive inside your home. It gives you space to breathe!
Everyone is preaching exercise. While I will never discourage exercise, it is a great stress-buster, it’s not for everyone. Many people right now are exhausted and doing good to get out of bed. If this is you, then movement is what I want to encourage you to do. Perhaps it is standing up and doing a one-minute arm and leg stretch. You can walk back and forth through your home for a couple of minutes. Take time periodically throughout your day for short bursts of movement. Do whatever you can do. There is no right or wrong here. The goal is to prevent sitting and sedentary lifestyle.
Movement activates a complete mind-body response that counteracts depression. In isolation, everyone is at risk for depression. Let’s move past depression!
Sleep is essential. Period. A lack of sleep results in anxiety, depression, mood disturbances, irritation with others, snappiness, and significant problems in quarantine! Remember, keep your sleep routine from pre-quarantine. Your body knows this and understands this. If you are having trouble sleeping, here are some options for you.
- There are many apps right now that offer bedtime stories to help you fall asleep.
- Do some light stretching of all muscle groups immediately before bed. This muscle relaxation will help you unwind and sleep well. YouTube has great bedtime stretch videos.
- Take a warm, soothing bath or shower just before bed.
- Calming the mind is critical for deep sleep. To slow thoughts and emotions, I want you to breathe in slowly. Exhale slowly. Picture a balloon in your stomach; as you inhale, the balloon inflates; as you exhale, the balloon deflates. I want you to repeat to yourself mentally: I know I am inhaling; I know I am exhaling. Stay here in this breathwork for 3-5 minutes or until you fall asleep.