You’re sad. You’re anxious. And you’re stuck at home. And whether you’re by yourself, with tiny humans, or your significant other, this whole “social distancing” thing can be stressful. I mean, if you must assume every person you meet is infected, there’s not much to do other than binge on Netflix while you google your symptoms and chart the latest outbreak of the virus. You know that’s not going to reduce your stress, right? It seems there is no escape. Or is there?
- A good first step is to disconnect and step away from the screens and not let other people’s panic infect you. Detoxify your feed. Mute those friends and family who keep screaming “we’re all gonna die!” You know who they are. Enforce a “good vibes only” rule for the next thirty days.
- Reframe the situation into something positive. Perhaps your quarantine is a time to accomplish something that has been on your to-do list for a long time. Clean out the guest room closet or basement. Sort those boxes of photos that you haven’t touched in years. Seriously, how many out-of-focus snapshots or unflattering school photos do you need? And how many copies of each? Start small, maybe just the junk drawer? Or the glove box? While you’re decluttering, make a bag of useful items to donate to a local charity.
- If the weather is cooperative, go outside. I can almost guarantee you are only a ten-minute walk away from a better mood.
- Get out of your head and to get into your hands. “Busy hands are happy hands,” so get busy. Knit. Crochet. Needlepoint. Paint. Color. Try a jigsaw puzzle or woodworking. One of the best things about those activities is that you have something to show for your efforts. You produce something.
What else will help reduce stress? Here’s a sample of what might help from the Mayo Clinic.
Everyone you meet is scared to some degree, so be kind. Reach out by phone or text to your most vulnerable friends. We know this crisis won’t last forever and none of us wants to be the one who made someone else sick. Stay home. And please, wash your hands.