If you’re struggling at home you’re not alone; more than 300 million children aren’t able to attend school and more than six million people have applied for unemployment within a week’s period. Even those who have maintained their jobs and are working from home are facing countless difficulties as they grieve the loss of their plans while still trying to operate at peak levels of efficiency. Others are struggling to find the closest urgent care center near them because the smallest cough can send them into a panic.
No matter what state of social isolation you’re currently experiencing, just about everyone is struggling in one way or another. This struggle is worsened by friends and family members sharing posts that tell you to improve yourself during this downtime. The fact of the matter is that we’re all struggling to maintain a semblance of routine during a pandemic; we should be taking care of ourselves the best that we can, not trying to engage in hustle and grind culture.
Social distancing is enough to make anyone feel at a loss when it comes to their mental and physical health. Plans that they have made months in advance have come to a screeching halt. Those who planned to shop for a new car or attend a spring wedding will have to put these activities on the back burner until we get the government’s “okay” to go outside again and hang out in crowded spaces. While some of these activities, like shopping for a new car, can still be performed online, no one wants to attend a beautiful wedding via a group video call.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to engage in healthy tips for social distancing. After all, it’s hard enough to take care of yourself without the threat of a global pandemic breathing down your neck. If you’re at a loss when it comes to healthier living during this time of social distancing, consider these healthy tips for social distancing that are bound to get you through.
Ignore the hustle and grind culture
There are plenty of “inspirational” posts and memes being shared that claim social distancers are wasting their time if they don’t make the most of it. We’re being encouraged to learn new skills, take online classes, and learn new ways to make money. While these are all good ideas for the bored person who’s twiddling their thumbs, this is an unrealistic expectation for people who are simply struggling to get by.
This time of social distancing has raised many issues for people struggling with their mental health. Even people who have never battled chronic mental health issues are feeling the first waves of anxiety and depression being away from their friends and family. Others are concerned about their family members catching COVID-19 and fearing for their safety. You cannot be expected to take an online class on top of everything else, even if you are stuck doing nothing all day at home.
The idea that we should always be grinding away to make money is inherently toxic, but it’s become an even bigger problem for people during the social distancing policies put into effect as a result of COVID-19. If you’re stressed out by seeing these posts, take a break from social media and focus on activities that will help your mental and physical health, not make it worse. Eating a few vegetables and taking a nap when you need it are both healthy tips for social distancing you should consider. At the bare minimum, social beauty gurus recommend brushing your teeth if you can’t do anything else. Without the proper teeth cleaning, you might suffer from oral health issues that are expensive to fix. Try to get out of bed and brush your teeth if it’s too much to do anything else.
Now that the hustle and grind culture has been abolished, we can officially get into the fun stuff: the real healthy tips for social distancing.
Right now, it seems impossible to avoid comforting soul food: ice cream, mac and cheese, and hearty meals are one of the best ways to help dopamine flood our brains. Unfortunately, indulging in these habits too often will result in the opposite effect. This is especially troubling if you start to gain weight and feel more lethargic from the junk food you are eating.
Maintaining a healthy diet will not only help you feel better physically, but it can also keep your brain in a more positive state. Be sure to eat fruits and veggies, along with a healthy dose of fiber at each meal. If all the canned goods at your local store have sold out, try buying fresh groceries that you can chop up and freeze for later use.
Some experts also recommend eating more supplements to get the necessary proteins and vitamins that can help keep us feeling good amidst this current hardship. Just like you need more vitamin D in the winter, you might need some extra love and support from your food during this time of stress. Even the littlest steps in the right direction can help you feel better in the long-run. For fun recipes and more healthy tips for social distancing, rely on your favorite YouTube channels and celebrity cooks for inspiration.
Physical care tips
Nutrition plays a big part in your physical health, but you also need to keep your body moving. Many people are binge-watching their favorite shows ad nauseam so they are rarely getting off the couch. Unfortunately, this lack of movement can promote higher feelings of lethargy and reduce the quality of your mood even more.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to set up a gym in your home. Lifting some weights might help but performing simple tasks is still a great way to get your body moving. Investing in auto detailing on the first nice day of spring can burn some serious calories while walking around the dog will give you the necessary cardio you need to make it through the day.
If you consider yourself a gym rat, however, there are still ample numbers of ways to get your blood pumping. There are seemingly endless workout tutorials online that use your own bodyweight to help promote strength training. And even if you don’t have weights in the home, you can always fill some grocery bags with soup cans and other heavy items to get the burn you’ve been craving for the last month. Some of these activities will never replace the expert equipment available at the gym, but it’s still a great way to keep your body moving amidst this time of social distancing.
Mental health tips
The best mentally healthy tips for social distancing revolve around routine. Many people’s lives have been uprooted and they don’t have to shower, make coffee, and spend the majority of the day at work. Worse yet, there is often very little to look forward to when you finally finish that long day of work. After all, you can’t hang out with friends in person and going to the gym is out of the question.
Experts say that establishing a new routine is one of the best healthy tips for social distancing. Routine helps bring a sense of order and purpose throughout our day. When we know what to expect, we can better keep feelings of fatigue and loneliness at bay. A daily routine is a great start. Once you have a regular routine locked down, you can start giving yourself weekly activities to look forward to. For example, now that spring is here, it might be beneficial to engage in tree trimming once per week. Working in the garden can help relieve stress and give you some much-needed vitamin D. You can also schedule regular video calls with friends to ensure that you’re getting the social attention that every human craves.
For those who are experiencing more serious mental health issues during this time, there are plenty of resources to rely on. Many therapists and mental health professionals have closed their doors until this all blows over, making online therapy a great option when you need to get immediate treatment. Just like you would go to the emergency room for a serious wound, a serious mental health crisis also needs prompt attention. Try experimenting with apps or looking online for coupon codes to various mental health support services. Popular online therapy options include Talk Space and Better Help, but there are a range of services to consider when you start.
There are also a lot of memes and jokes online about drinking yourself silly to cope with the stress of quarantine. While this is great for the wine moms on your Facebook group, this train of thinking can be pretty toxic, especially if you’re in recovery. The best healthy tips for social distancing involve separating yourself from these toxic sources, even if they are meant to be funny for some. Sober living is always going to be a struggle for those in recovery, but those with mental health issues might also find it tempting to pick up the bottle. At this point, it’s important to remember that alcohol is a type of depressant: while it can make you happy in the moment, it will likely make you feel worse the next day. If you’re struggling to cope with sober living at this time, contact a helpline, like the National Helpline Center at 1-844-289-0879 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), for more information.
Some experts also claim that learning something new can help you stay mentally strong. This doesn’t need to be a money-making skill like all those online bullies are recommending. However, if you’re bored and want to focus your attention on a project, looking up sewing skills or how to do practical plumbing in the home can help you feel more productive. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that a DIY plumber can never achieve the job of an experienced, licensed professional. But if that leaky faucet has been driving you nuts, online tutorials can help you learn a new skill when you’re stuck in quarantine.
But even learning simpler skills can help you pass the time and keep your mental health strong. The act of creating something new is a powerful source for grounding anxious individuals. Best of all, you don’t need a new kitchen to learn how to bake a loaf of banana bread.
How to pass the time when you’re bored
This leads into our next slew of healthy tips for social distancing; maintaining your health is key, but there will be some days when you’re just plain bored. If you’re tired of watching Netflix or going on that walk around the block, you can always look up new sources of inspiration online, whether that pertains to crafting, future planning, or cleaning your home.
Now that spring has arrived, there are plenty of little projects that you can start to do around the house. Analyzing your wardrobe, performing gutter maintenance, and actually building that shelving unit stuck in the back of your closet are just a few things that can get you started.
Marie Kondo would agree that an organized home is a happy home. Clean up your space and pave the way for new hobbies that can supplement your current home decor, like painting and sculpting. You will be surprised at how much you enjoy arts and crafts when it comes to sprucing up your living space.
COVID-19 has made life harder for everyone, but these healthy tips for social distancing can certainly help. Rely on these ideas to help maintain your mental and physical health for the next few weeks.