Staying indoors, reading, watching television and doing whatever you wanted sounded great when we were kids. No school, relaxing, being waiting on, and noodle soup. What a life… for about three days. After the third day, one became bored and irritable. Everyone was outside playing, after school, and we were stuck in the house. It was a relief to return to school, regardless of the homework and tests.
It’s a little different today and maybe not so much. In the beginning it
felt kind of cozy to have a few days off from the hustle and bustle of life. Sort of fun to have family around and nice homemade meals. It was a good time to catch up on little things you’ve been putting off. So, closets were cleaned, emails answered and fun foods were stocked up on. Fun and kind of safe.
The truth is that kind of safe is not safe enough and it’s really important to move past the irritation of being cooped 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 choice, and their lives depended on not being discovered.
Here are some ideas about how to keep a cool head while in quarantine:
Be thankful you are being protected by doing the simple task of avoiding crowds of people. Be happy that you now have the opportunity to become more self-aware, to read books, watch films and develop a stronger relationship with family members. This might be something you look back upon with fond memories.
Remember that anxiety and panic attacks are triggered by thoughts. Be aware of how you are thinking and be mindful of your perspective on each situation. You have a choice about how you view each situation, your surroundings and life in general. You have complete control over how you view everything around you, which can make or break your reactions. Be aware of how many “what if” sentences you say to yourself because these two little words can trigger the release of adrenaline. If you feel anxious, allow it to go through you without trying to stop it. It is your fear and running from the symptoms that fuel them. Keep busy and move around. Exercising, dancing and even cleaning closets are enough to reabsorb the adrenaline released anxiety caused by your worried “what if” thinking.
You can naturally boost Serotonin (the feel good chemical in the brain) by making a few simple changes in your routine. Eating a lean protein with every meal and snack. Real food protein (poultry, meat, fish or dairy), not protein bars. A complex carb (no protein at this time) before bed, such as toast, bagel, whole grain cereal, whole grain crackers. This will release the Serotonin in the brain, resulting in a good night’s rest and feeling happier in the morning. Walking outdoors, since natural light boosts Serotonin through the optic nerve. Even if it’s not sunny, it’s still brighter than indoors and will boost Serotonin in the brain.
This is the time to use your creativity and come up with interesting things to fill your time. Find that book you’ve always wanted to read or film you’ve always wanted to watch. Plan a daily workout routine because being outdoors is nourishing to both mind and body. You might want to redecorate or paint your bedroom or another room in your house. Organizing closets, kitchen and desks can also be very satisfying.
Keep in contact with friends and family online and through phone calls. You don’t have to physically be with someone to enjoy their company. There are also online card games you can play with two or more friends, as well as other group games that are fun. Share your feelings with friends and you’ll notice the similarities everyone shares during this time.
Contact the Elderly
It’s important to stay in touch with elderly family members. Being outdoors is fine and waving to grandparents through windows or dropping off food packages to them will be greatly appreciated. Remember, these are the people who love and miss you. They too were never quarantined and it’s difficult for them as well. Showing them you are thinking of them is a priceless gift that will always be remembered. Helping others takes us out of our own worried heads.
Being outdoors is an incredible way to break the cycle of boredom. Gardening is a proven way to lift your spirits as well. 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 you will still be maintaining distance between you and your partner. A walk in itself is a mood lifter and all around feel good exercise. You’ll sleep better, enjoy a healthy appetite and boost the feel good chemicals in the brain.
Now might be a good time to try a few new recipes and experience the joy of cooking. Baking is an opportunity to make delicious and most times healthier desserts, the whole family can enjoy. Everyone loves the cook, so this is a good 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. There are many free courses being offered and a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and fun. Art instruction, painting, printing, drawing, are all available online. Exercise and yoga classes are also available. Cooking classes, dance classes and home workouts can also be fun. For the kids there are celebrities reading books to children who are home from school. There are also creative art projects and crafts to keep your children occupied during this time. Spiritual classes are also beginning along with your favorite authors offering interesting YouTube instructions.
Most of all, know that we are all in this together. We all share the same feelings and worries. Talk it out with someone you trust. It helps greatly to voice your fears and hear reassurance from someone else who is going through it as well.