Anxiety often occurs when you’re out of work or getting used to a new environment and routine. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, employees are being laid-off or sent to work from home in record numbers. Injured workers who are off the job are unable to visit their doctors. The opportunities to safely get out of the house are few and far between.
Nurturing your mental health while staying at home is essential, but it isn’t always easy. It’s common to feel antsy and out-of-sorts, but it can go deeper than that. If you’re experiencing shades of cabin fever or deepening levels of anxiety during self-isolation, then you need to take steps to address and improve your mental health.
To help you to deal with anxiety and find your center, IWP has a list of mental health tips that can get you through quarantine. We want you to feel at ease, mentally balanced, and ready to weather the rest of the crisis.
Stick to a Schedule
Everyone has a different experience at home. For you, the stay-at-home order might cause anxiety, while others look forward to it. Regardless of your mindset, your feelings are valid. Moreover, the longer we stay at home, collectively, the more likely we are to experience anxiety or other unhealthy side-effects.
As tempting as it may be to get up when you want to and nap when you feel like it, that behavior can increase your stress levels and throw off your rhythm. Both of those are disastrous for your mental health. Establishing a set schedule can help this new normal to seem more normal.
If you’re working from home, then sticking to a schedule is a bit easier. However, if you’re on furlough, laid off, or an injured worker who’s recuperating at home, then it’s a bit more complicated. You may not need to get up at six or seven in the morning but try to maintain regular hours all the same. It will give you more energy, help you to focus, and give you distinct timeframes to get you through the day.
Create a Designated Workspace
Many people are unexpectedly working from home right now. It may seem like a chance to live the dream, but it can be disconcerting and even frustrating when you aren’t used to it. It isn’t always easy to find your focus at home. You have to deal with a variety of distractions, such as your spouse, the kids, your pets, and any other family members in the house, not to mention access to the TV and other sources of media that you’d never bring to your job.
First, remember that everyone is trying to get used to this new version of normal. It’s not easy for anyone. That goes for you and the folks you live with, too. Anyone who’s now working remotely needs to have a dedicated workspace. That can be hard in close quarters, but even if you have to delineate boundaries on the dining room table, everyone needs their own place.
You may not have the space to dedicate to a home office, or you might have to share a spare room with someone else. A few key items will help:
- A desk or table
- A comfortable chair
Make sure you do the same for children and teens who are taking classes remotely, as well. Try to limit distractions for everyone.
Set Aside a Moment for Alone Time
It’s tempting to think that because you’re self-isolating with your family or roommates, you’re already alone. That’s not quite the case. Everyone needs time to themselves. Without a few private moments to decompress, you can start to feel agitated and frustrated, which can lead to snapping at others. Those problems are common when you’re constantly around the same people.
It’s normal, but you can—and should—get a handle on it. To follow this mental health tip, you need to schedule solitary time. Whether you meditate, read a book, or work in the garden, you need some quiet moments by yourself.
Take Stock of Your Emotions
Anxiety doesn’t always start on its own. It can be sparked by a range of other emotions, as well. Checking in with yourself can reveal those emotions and allow you to get on top of them. The strange circumstances in which you find yourself may be boring, frustrating, or worrisome. Those are all valid, and you should feel free to feel your feelings.
However, you also need to battle the negative turmoil going on inside of your head. Taking stock is the best way to do that. You can trace your emotions to their source and take positive steps to improve your mood and your outlook.
Talk About Your Feelings
In addition to checking in with yourself and your feelings, you need to talk about them. Sharing your emotions is vital whether you’re an injured worker convalescing at home, a remote employee who’s assimilating to your new at-home environment, or someone who’s been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19.
Reaching out is the most important thing. Many therapists are connecting with their patients via phone and video chat, so that’s something to think about whether you currently have a therapist or want to look into working with someone.
You might want to talk to a family member or a friend instead. The point is to vocalize your feelings, particularly if you begin to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression. Internalizing these emotions will make you feel worse in the long run.
Exercise Whenever, Wherever, and However You Can
Staying active is an excellent way to boost your mood. Granted, you may have obstacles to contend with, including an inability to get out to the gym or physical limitations due to an injury. All the same, regular activity will serve you well. You don’t have to go crazy with it, either. Any kind of exercise is beneficial.
Take a walk around the block—maintaining six feet of distance from your neighbors, of course. If running is your thing, you can do that, too. Even yoga in your backyard can be helpful. Failing that, a few trips up and down the steps will get your heart pumping. As long as you aren’t lying in bed or sitting on the couch all day, you’re good.
Turn Off the News
Wanting to remain up-to-date with the latest news is understandable, but there’s such a thing as too much. Constantly watching the news on TV or reading about it on the Internet keeps the crisis first and foremost in your mind, increasing your anxiety and worries by tenfold.
Turn off the TV, shut down your devices, and step away from the media for a while! Use the opportunity to go on a walk, read a book, or fix something around the house. You can still check in, but you need a break to maintain your mental wellness.
Connect in Creative Ways
Reaching out to other people is imperative. Even though everyone is doing their part to maintain social distancing, you can still connect with your friends and loved ones. Call someone, send a text, or set up a video chat. Without ever leaving your home, you can have a watch party or a virtual game night with your friends. Just because you’re self-isolating, that doesn’t mean that you have to be isolated.
Begin a New Hobby
It’s the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or learn about something in which you’ve had an interest. If you’re stuck at home because of the quarantine or healing from a work-related injury, you can use your time to pursue a creative endeavor or a new activity.
There are hundreds of things you can do at home. Order everything you need to begin knitting or view YouTube tutorials to learn how to refinish a table or rewire a lamp. You could learn a new language or teach yourself a skill. Experiment with activities that will engage your mind and keep you occupied.
Eat and Drink for Your Health
Your diet matters during social distancing. It’s tempting to rely on comfort food or quick and easy meals, but you have to incorporate nutrients and vitamins into your daily diet. Not only is a healthy diet better for you, but it will give you everything you need to boost your energy and sharpen your mind. You feel better inside and out when you eat right.
Your mental health matters. Tell us how you find inner balance during the COVID-19 quarantine. You can always reach out to IWP, too.