As nations across the globe are extending their stay at home orders to combat COVID-19, a massive amount of people are learning for the first time what it truly means to go stir-crazy. People worldwide are experiencing a major disruption in their routines like going to school, work, attending festivals, and social events. The disruption of daily rhythm cycles can have a significant impact on people’s moods.
So how do you avoid going stir-crazy when your home becomes your only world?
Focus on the good you’re doing for others.
Always remember this: you are doing your part in protecting the vulnerable people in your community who are at a higher risk of infection. You’re also helping the medical community and staff by staying at home by not overwhelming hospitals. A recent study about the psychological impact of quarantine stated, “…feeling that others will benefit from one’s situation can make stressful situations easier to bear and it seems likely that this is also true for home-based quarantine.”
Maintain a schedule
Humans are creatures of habit. By no means is this quarantine a vacation as work and school are still in session. Have set times to wake-up, exercise, have a meal, and to work or do school work. If you have kids, have them write down their schedule to follow as well or use a schedule like the one below:
Reach out to people, deepen your relationships
While we are stuck at home, this is the perfect time to reinforce your social relationships. With technology applications like FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, it’s easy to set up a video call to chat with your family, friends, and colleagues. You can even utilize social networks to find online support groups.
If you are staying home with your entire family, use this time to connect in ways that otherwise get pushed due to the nature of normal everyday activities.
Do what helps you relax
Remember what you did before the stay at home order to relax? Good news, you can still do it! You can read a book, do crafts, or handiwork around the house. If you do exercise to relieve stress you can still go outside for a run while practicing safe social distancing and use common household items as weights for exercising.
You can also use this time to learn a new skill or practice meditation. YouTube has plenty of online guides to help you learn a new skill.
That project you’ve been working on? It’s time to tackle it.
Capitalizing on opportunities rather than focusing on anxieties can make a big difference in your mental health. Have you ever wanted to start a garden? Now is the time. Have you wanted to write a book? Now is the time. Consider this time staying at home as an opportunity to do something productive.
Attend a virtual event
While we cannot attend events in public for the foreseeable future, many artists are doing free shows during the pandemic. Billboard.com has an extensive list of all the live streams that are going to occur in May. Eventbrite also has a landing page for many virtual events from readings, to development courses to webinars. There are also online art events that are ripe for the picking. You can even create online game nights with your friends via Zoom or Google Hangouts. Games like Jackbox are easy to play while video conferencing.
Be easy on yourself
Remember that we’re all in this together. No one expects you to be perfect at anything. We’re all doing the best we can to adapt. You have control over what you do day-to-day, try to make it productive. In the end, we all will become better cooks, better listeners, and grateful for the time we have with our loved ones. We will also be appreciative when restrictions eventually lift and we’re allowed to resume our daily lives.