As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our way of life, the amount of daily news and reports can feel overwhelming. And while these emotions are completely natural, there are plenty of things we can do to keep ourselves busy, distracted and, most importantly, uplifted. This is where some quarantine coping skills can help us focus on the positives and try to stay as optimistic as we possibly can.
Our team has put together some quarantine coping skills to help lift your mood and keep your spirits high. Of course, everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently than others, so find a quarantine coping skill that is right for you and make an effort to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Top Quarantine Coping Skills
1. Stick to Your Regular Schedule
This may seem like a given but many people find great relief and comfort in establishing an everyday routine. Without a regular schedule, it can be difficult to find any balance or productivity in your day. For starters, here are a few things you should consider when establishing your routine:
- Keep regular wake and bedtimes.
- Avoid staying in bed for longer than 8 hours per day.
- Eat regular meals and break times when you typically would.
Sleep schedules are so important. When people do not have commitments for the next day, there can be a tendency to stay in bed, sleep in longer and go to bed later. This can throw off your circadian rhythm, the natural, internal wake-sleep cycle, and can leave you feeling groggy, unmotivated and down.
In addition to some of these basics, carving out time in your day to read, write or do other hobbies is an excellent way to manage your time. Adding structure to your day will leave you with much less uncertainty, and adding in hobbies or activities is a great quarantine coping skill to keep you distracted from any of the upsetting news.
So, before you start your day, plan ahead, maintain a consistent sleep schedule and eat meals at a regular time to help you in coping with coronavirus anxiety.
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time and Set SMART Goals
With the constant buzz of the world around us, staying focused can be extremely difficult, especially now. However, one quarantine coping skill you can adopt is setting SMART goals for yourself. These goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. This strategy is a great way to identify what kind of activities or goals you may want to accomplish during your current situation.
Some examples of SMART goals include:
- Take a brief walk around your home or neighborhood two times per day at 10 AM and 3 PM.
- Drink 3 full (24 oz) water bottles by the end of day.
- Read 40 pages of a book every day in the morning.
These are great goals because they establish every quality of a SMART goal. Each goal is specific, while also being realistic in how you can measure and attain these goals. Setting yourself time-based goals keeps you on a schedule, which goes hand in hand with the coping skills we discussed earlier!
Weaving SMART goals into your routine is an excellent mental health coping strategy, especially during quarantine. These goals not only add substance and structure to your daily life, but can be an instant mood-booster once you have accomplished your SMART goal.
3. Find a Way to Maintain Mild-to-Moderate Activity
Much like many of these tips, physical activity is a great way to add to your routine and boost your mood. Even if it is just for 30 minutes every day. Find some form of physical activity that is easy, accessible and reasonable to help cope with coronavirus anxiety and stress.
For starters, a great way to get some physical activity into your day is by going for a walk around your neighborhood! While going outside may cause some anxiety, it is generally safe to go for a walk in your neighborhood. Just be sure to maintain six feet of physical distance. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose, and always wash your hands once you get back to your home.
For more information on exercises and activities to help you stay active, check out more articles on our Live Better Blog, such as chair exercises every senior should know or strength training for seniors. These guides have exercise for folks at any experience level, and are a great way to educate yourself about at-home exercise during quarantine.
Exercise and physical activity are one of many essential quarantine coping skills. Just a little exercise every day can do wonders for your mood.
4. Schedule Relaxation or “Wind-Down” Time for Yourself
Self-care is another essential quarantine coping skill and is a great way to protect your mental health. After a long day of reading, exercising and busying yourself with activities, the importance of making time for yourself can not be overstated.
Some simple ways you can schedule relaxation time for yourself include:
- Taking a nice bath/shower at the end of the day to wind down.
- Unplugging from television and computers at least an hour before bedtime.
- Scheduling a few minutes for breathing or mindfulness exercises.
- Writing in a journal
All of these quarantine coping skills are great for de-stressing and winding down for the end of the day. Many other great coping tips can be found in our guide on how to ease anxiety.
There are plenty of resources, both physical and digital, to help calm you down for the day. These include: meditation guides, visualization guides and tutorials on yoga and breathing exercises.
Before shutting down for the day, remind yourself that you owe it to yourself to de-stress and relax.
5. Keep Your Brain Active!
If there was a perfect time to find a new hobby, then that time is right now. Amidst all the news, you may also find free time to explore and try new things! There are plenty of activities you can get into to keep your brain active and sharp.
Some of our favorite ways to keep your brain active include:
- Play cards, games or word puzzles.
- Make crafts, knit, sew, doodle or write.
- Watch an uplifting movie or show (but don’t binge!). Try to stay off the couch otherwise; too much television/couch time all at once can actually make us feel worse.
- Reading is a timeless activity; re-read a book you haven’t read in awhile.
- See if your neighbor wants to do a book exchange (drop at your front door and keep 6’ apart, of course).
- Download an audiobook if using a digital device or smartphone, often your local library has this option available.
Perhaps you want to pick up a new instrument? Or maybe you want to get into art? Now is the time to do it. These activities will not only keep your mind sharp, but they will help you cope with any anxiety.
If you’re looking for a new activity to try, look no further than our list of the five best ways to improve brain health by showing your creativity. This guide will help you uncover your next creative adventure as you use these quarantine coping skills to ease your anxiety.
At Iora Primary Care, we empower our patients to take the lead on their health journey and we are there every step of the way to support them. We take a holistic approach to healthcare, addressing both our patients’ physical and mental health needs.
For more information on coping with coronavirus anxiety, or for general information about the pandemic, browse our Live Better Blog for more information on keeping busy during quarantine or how to protect yourself against scams online.