Coping in Quarantine

With all the uncertainty around us right now, you are probably feeling overwhelmed. We are struggling to balance homeschooling, childcare, jobs in a new environment, and the stress of the ever-changing news and world around us. 

Lots of emotions are normal right now- you might be anxious, stressed, feeling down, sad, grieving, angry, and overwhelmed. Here are some things we can work on together to keep us going until we come out the other end of this difficult time. 

  1. Maintain good sleep habits. Have a relaxing routine at night where you avoid news and upsetting things. Wind down with a good book or funny shows. Create calming routines before bed for kids too!
  1. Maintain a routine in general! Get up and go to sleep around the same time each day. Get up and get dressed in the morning- yes, even if you don’t have anywhere to go. This helps us feel some normalcy. Set a schedule and post it somewhere visible for you or your family. Stick to a routine. 
  1. Incorporate daily activity– we are all less active right now, so plan to get moving daily with exercise, a walk, or work around the house. Keep the kids active too. Staying active helps us stay motivated. Even brief bits of exercise a few times a week helps.
  1. Get sunlight! Get outdoors daily, even if it’s brief. Take a walk/hike. Do some exercise outdoors. Sit out with a book or to have a meal. Garden. Getting outside can make a big difference in our mood.
  1. Accept that this time will be uncertain. Focus on the things you can control and problem solve around, rather than all the things you are hearing on the news that you can’t control. 
    1. Write down things you have control over: how much you watch the news, your nutrition, your daily routine, your sleep schedule, exercise, staying connected to important people, …..
    1. And those you don’t have control over: Other people’s decisions, the government’s actions, the weather, closures/cancellations….

6.  Limit your exposure to the news– balance by seeking out more positive or uplifting websites and sources. You can stay informed but decide and stick to a limit of when you will check for news updates. Take breaks from technology throughout the day.

7.  Here are some ideas for distracting and positive activities you can do to keep you on track and your mind from getting stuck on negative thinking:

-Do a meditation exercise (search YouTube or meditation apps)

-Take a walk

-Put on uplifting music

-Plan a zoom with friends or family

-Clean out a room in your house you’ve been wanting to get to

-Gardening or outdoor activity

-Do a puzzle or play a board game/gaming

-Watch online free tours of museums, etc.

-Watch a funny show

-Express how you are feeling and coping by journaling about this time (Gratitude journal– write down one thing you are grateful for at the end of each day)

-Think about what you are learning about yourself right now

-Try yoga

-Make a list of goals for when this is over

-Read a book you’ve been wanting to get to

-Do a workout video

-Listen to an audio book

-Make a new recipe

-Try knitting or another creative outlet

8. Maybe most importantly is to remember to be patient and forgiving with yourself. We are going through something we never have before. There are many challenges to navigate simultaneously. Take it easy on yourself by not expecting to be a perfect parent, homeschooler (you didn’t sign up for that!), or employee. You are doing the best you can under these strange and trying circumstances. 

9. For families with kids- talk to your partner about scheduling breaks for each of you to take a walk or do something else alone, and share responsibilities for childcare and household work so you don’t get burned out. 

If you are ever in crisis, dial 911. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. Crisis Textline: Text TALK to 741741