Staying home, reading, watching TV, and doing whatever you wanted sounded great when we were kids. No school, relax, be waiting and noodle soup. What a life … for about three days. After the third day, you got bored and irritated. Everyone was playing outside after school, and we were stuck in the house. It was a relief to go back to school, regardless of homework and tests.
Today is a little different and maybe not so much. At first
I felt a bit comfortable having a few days off from the hustle and bustle of life. Something fun to have with the family and good homemade meals. It was a great time to catch up on the little things you’ve been putting off. So cabinets were cleaned, emails were answered, and fun foods were stocked. Fun and safe.
The truth is, that kind of safe isn’t secure enough and it’s really important to let go of the irritation of being locked up and realize how essential it really is for everyone. Someone gave the example of Anne Frank and her 761 days in hiding. Eight people in a 450 ft. space. They had no other choice and their lives depended on their not being discovered.
Here are some ideas on how to keep a cool head while in quarantine:
Be grateful for their protection by doing the simple task of avoiding crowds of people. Be glad that you now have the opportunity to be more self-aware, read books, watch movies, and develop a stronger relationship with family members. This could be something that you remember with fond memories.
Remember that thoughts trigger anxiety and panic attacks. Be aware of how you are thinking and be aware of your perspective in every situation. You can choose how you view each situation, your surroundings, and life in general. You have full control over how you see everything around you, what can make or break your reactions. Consider how many “what if” sentences you say to yourself because these two little words can trigger an adrenaline rush. If you feel anxious, allow it to go through without trying to stop you. It is your fear and running away from the symptoms that fuels them. Stay busy and get moving. Exercising, dancing and even cleaning closets are enough to reabsorb the adrenaline released by anxiety caused by your preoccupied “what if” thought.
You can naturally increase serotonin (the brain’s feel-good chemical) by making a few simple changes to your routine. Consume a lean protein with every meal and snack. Protein from real foods (poultry, meat, fish, or dairy), not protein bars. A complex carbohydrate (no protein at this time) before bed, such as toast, bagel, whole grains, whole grain crackers. This will release serotonin in the brain, resulting in a good night’s rest and a feeling of happiness in the morning. Walking outdoors, as natural light increases serotonin through the optic nerve. Even if it is not sunny, it is still brighter than indoors and will increase serotonin in the brain.
This is the time to use your creativity and think of interesting things to fill your time. Find that book you always wanted to read or film that you always wanted to see. Plan a daily exercise routine because being outdoors is nutritious for both mind and body. You may want to redecorate or paint your bedroom or another room in your house. Organizing cabinets, kitchen, and desks can also be very satisfying.
Stay in touch with friends and family online and through phone calls. You don’t have to be physically with someone to enjoy their company. There are also online card games that you can play with two or more friends, as well as other group games that are fun. Share your feelings with friends and you will notice the similarities that everyone shares during this time.
Contact the elders
It is important to stay in contact with older family members. Being outside is fine and greeting grandparents through the windows or leaving food packages for them will be greatly appreciated. Remember, these are the people who love you and miss you. They were not quarantined either and it is also difficult for them. Showing them that you are thinking of them is an invaluable gift that will always be remembered. Helping others gets us out of our own worried heads.
Being outside is an amazing way to break the cycle of boredom. Gardening is also a proven way to lift your spirits. There are microbes found in the soil that have similar effects on the brain as Prozac, minus the side effects and chemical dependency. Playing tennis is fun and it will still keep the distance between you and your partner. A walk in itself lifts your spirits and makes everything feel good as exercise. You’ll sleep better, enjoy a healthy appetite, and stimulate feel-good brain chemicals.
Now may be a great time to try some new recipes and experience the joy of cooking. Baking is an opportunity to make delicious and most of the time healthier desserts that the whole family can enjoy. Everyone loves a cook, so this is a great way to show your family how much you care, receiving all their gratitude in return.
Online classes and activities
This might be a good time to take advantage of online classes. Many free courses are offered and a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and fun. Art, painting, printing, drawing instruction are all available online. Exercise and yoga classes are also offered. Cooking classes, dance classes, and home workouts can be fun too. For children, there are celebrities who read books to children who are at home after school. There are also creative arts and crafts projects to keep your kids busy during this time. Spiritual classes are also starting along with your favorite authors offering cool YouTube instructions.
Above all, know that we are all in this together. We all share the same feelings and concerns. Talk to someone you trust. It is helpful to express your fears and listen to the reassurance of another person who is also going through it.