How to Avoid Turning into a Slob During Quarantine
Every day the news seems to get worse. First, we were told it was mostly old people and those with underlying health conditions that are in danger of contracting the Coronavirus. Over time, the reports worsened, proving that no one is immune regardless of age or degree of health. There have been tons of funny memes showing people getting fatter, lazier, dumber, and more depressed during the shut-down, but is all hope lost? I don’t think so! Here are some ways you can maintain a certain level of normalcy during the quarantine…however long it ends up being!
1. DON’T LIVE ON JUNK FOOD: There isn’t a food shortage. No matter what the conflicting reports have said, it seems to be unanimous that there’s still plenty of food to go around. The problem is more that people are being stupid and hoarding. Regardless of all that, even though it might be hard to get fresh food (or even get to a grocery store at all right now), don’t use this quarantine as an excuse to live on Spaghetti-O's and potato chips, citing the need to use up nonperishables. Come on! That said, if you have to exist on more processed and canned foods than usual, that’s understandable. Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables still offer a decent amount of antioxidants. You can still order take-out, which means you can swap a potato or pasta for a vegetable sometimes, or add a salad to go along with your pizza. Use good judgment, as with anything else. Make at least some efforts to get in your nutrition.
2. DON’T SKIP EXERCISE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T GO OUTSIDE: Parks and schools are shutting down since everyone is crowding there to walk and jog. But don’t let that stop you from exercising, which we all know produces endorphins and makes you happy! Try to find a place you can walk without breaking the social distancing rule, but if you can’t, here are a few ways to get your workouts in. Running up and down your steps a few times a day, sit-ups and push-ups, while you watch TV, and dancing it out to your favorite music video right from the comfort of your living room or bedroom, are three easy ways to exercise from home no matter the weather, quarantine restrictions, or other circumstances.
3. DON’T FAIL TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN: People are watching more Netflix than ever. I can’t deny I’m doing the same thing. But in between shows (or seasons), find healthy ways to work your brain such as word games on your iPhone, watching interesting documentaries, or using YouTube tutorials to learn an instrument or foreign language. Doing yoga and/or meditating for even short periods of 5-10 minutes at a time is shown to help people recalibrate their minds in substantial ways, too.
4. DON’T BINGE-WATCH NEWS OF HOW BAD IT’S GETTING: We all want to keep up on what’s going on in the world, but now more than ever, we should probably limit ourselves. People are reporting higher levels of anxiety from watching too many sad, scary, ominous news coverage. Set aside a little time each day to stay updated on things, but then shut it down and find something more positive to do with your time. Worrying won’t help pass the time or improve the state of the world.
5. DON’T IGNORE THE WARNINGS: Even though I suggested limiting your time with news coverage, that doesn’t mean ignoring the clear warnings to stay inside right now. It’s not forever, and remember, it affects all ages and backgrounds. Nowhere in the entire world is immune to this virus, so heed the warnings and keep in mind that (hopefully) soon it will all be over and life can get back to normal.
6. DON’T GET IN YOUR HEAD TOO MUCH: Like I said, worrying doesn’t help. We might not be able to get together with friends, classmates, coworkers, or extended relatives right now, but at least this virus hit during a time we all have access to Skype and FaceTime. Use those things to connect with the people you love. Shutting down and isolating yourself from people will only bring on anxiety and depression. Use the conversation time as a way to talk about the good times you’ve shared with the person and what you want to do once the quarantine is lifted. Focus on the positive, and you won’t only boost your mood, but theirs as well.
7. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT: If you do find yourself slipping into extreme anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some hotlines and services exist solely to help people out in times like this. Here are a few. There’s no shame in asking for a leg up sometimes in life. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741 to be connected to trained counselors. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). NAMI has programs designed specifically for those who identify as living with a mental health condition, caregivers, veterans, teens, and LGBTQ.
Stay safe, use your head, and stay connected to people during this time. We can all help each other through this!