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Maintaining Mental Health While Self-Isolating

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

With the majority of the world respecting the instructions to self-isolate for the next several weeks, things are about to get weird. Mostly because most of us have never had the experience of isolation for extended periods of time. Sure in the beginning it's catching up on shows, playing games, and straightening up the house. After a few days though things begin to change. Boredom sets in. Restlessness. Uncertainty of when this is going to end. That is when things can get tense. So here is a list of things you can do to maintain a healthy mindset!


Read!

We all have a bunch of books we picked up and maybe got through one or two chapters, put down, then never looked back. Perhaps some of them have never even been opened! Now is a great time to catch up on some reading! If you don't happen to have any physical books on hand you can always download one onto your computer, phone, or tablet.

Reading books improves memory and empathy, it reduces stress and depression and just improves our overall mood. There are even studies that show how reading can reduce our chances of developing Alzheimer's later in life!

As a side note, leave the audio books for background when doing other activities.


Create!

There are tons of things to create within your home. Creating stimulates the imagination and opens the heart and mind to unlimited possibilities. Creating develops observation skills, problem solving skills and boosts self esteem. There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment! Here is a really basic list of some of the things you can create!


Drawings -

With nothing more than a piece of paper and a pencil you can set your imagination to work! Add in a YouTube tutorial and away you go! I recommend Zen Doodling! Watch some Zen Doodling at work, or order a fantastic book and draw anytime!


*if you don't have a pencil and paper you can always draw with your finger on your tablet or phone. You can get the full version of Autodesk Sketchbook for iOS free on the app store.


Coloring -

There are thousands of patterns you can print off the internet and color. Some grocery/drug stores even carry coloring books and crayons too! Coloring and painting apps are available for your tablet and phone. My wife loves the color by number apps! Or order some great books online!


Origami -

Grab some paper and a YouTube tutorial, or a website step-by-step guide and you too can learn the ancient art of Japanese paper folding! You can also order paper, how-to books and all-in-one kits online! They even have themed guide books like Star Wars and Harry Potter!


Puzzles -

Puzzles are a great way to build mental skills and kill hours of time. Buffalo Games and Ravensburger have some of my favorites! They also make great gifts!


Crochet/Knit/Sew -

If you happen to have some material to do these things there are tons of fun things you can create! If you haven't seen some Amigurumis yet, check them out! If this is something you might want to get into, there are tons of supplies at places like Michael's and full kits you can order from online! Dedicated amigurumi books and patterns can also be found on-line!


NEW!! Perler Beads -

The family and I have had a TON of fun with these over the summer. We even made our own 8-bit video game Christmas tree ornaments and they look fantastic! Especially with teens, it's really hard to get everyone on board with "family time" and this went over like gangbusters!

You can pick these up at a craft store like Michael's or order them online. I recommend getting a full kit like this. if it goes over well I would add 1 or 2 buckets, additional pegboards, and more, red, black, and white beads as you use mostly these colors. They even have themed sets like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 3!


DIY Projects -

The internet is full of DIY things that you can create with nothing more than regular house hold items. Better yet! There are DIY projects that can turn regular household objects into works of art!


Throw on some music or an audio book and let your creative juices flow! Who knows, you may find your next or even first hobby!


Routine!

Most work-from-homers know the importance of a daily routine. Without a basic routine everything begins to feel a bit chaotic moving from day to day when we remove work and school for long periods of time. Not to worry, there are a few things that will help keep you grounded and feeling comfortable.


  1. Wake up and go to sleep when you normally would. That's right! Maintaining your sleep schedule lets your body and mind know that not much has changed.

  2. Get dressed everyday. Our clothing helps set our mindset. If you lounge around in your pajamas all day your mind has a difficult time accepting that you have things to do. This may result in difficulties feeling motivated or inspired and can affect your ability to focus on the task at hand.

  3. Treat your weekdays like a workday. If you are unable to work from home then work in other ways. Take an online course, read a book that teaches you something, work on a project, etc. The idea is to maintain as much of your regular day-to-day routine as possible. Does that mean that you have to do it for 8 hours Monday - Friday with a 1 hour lunch break? I will leave that decision up to you, however I would recommend at least 6 hours a day. I know, I know, hear me out though. Whether we realize it or not a job creates purpose and meaning for many of us. Once removed, we can begin to feel listless and not know why. It is for this very reason that retirees end up picking up part-time jobs, or going back to school if they do not have hobbies that take up a significant part of their days. Maintaining a daily structure of work and/or learning can greatly reduce stress, restlessness and worry for many people. Surprising I know.


Exercise!

The gyms might be closed but there is no reason to not exercise your body!

For now, we can still go for a short walk or run outside. There are also loads of YouTube videos with Yoga, Pilates, and workouts that require no weights. Exercise showers your brain with good chemicals like endorphins that make us feel amazing! For those of you who have been putting it off because of time restrains or other priorities... no more excuses now.


Want to know the best part though? Exercise doesn't have to involve push ups and stair climbing. There are lots of ways to move your body!


Poi -

Spinning poi is a great way to move your body and learn a really cool skill as well!


!!PlayPoi is an excellent source for online learning on YouTube. I have included some links below. You can get everything you need from a nearby dollar store.

Create Your Own Sock Poi

Beginner Poi Moves


Dancing -

Crank up some music and cut a rug solo or with your family. You burn an average of 330 calories from 1 hour of dancing so turn off the lights and have a flashlight rave.