I have been working from home for 6 weeks now. Wow! Time has flown yet gone so slowly at the same time. It’s been a period of ups and downs, so I thought it was time for a quarantine mental health check-in. I’ll be diving into the positives, the struggles, my suggestions, and my top resources for this uncertain time.
When you’re in a moment of feeling down or anxious, it can be so hard to find anything positive to focus on. But, as I mentioned in my post last week, there is something good in each day. It may be more difficult to name some days than others, but there is always something positive if you look hard enough.
As I talked about recently, video chats have been vital for me during quarantine. I video chat with at least one person a day lately, but sometimes it can be 3-4 separate calls! I find it easier to be engaged during a video chat rather than an audio call. One of my favorite calls lately has been with my younger cousin, where we practice math and spelling. She thinks it’s fun, but she’s learning too!
Funnily enough, my college friends and I have talked more these last six weeks than we have since we graduated seven years ago! We live all throughout the country, so we didn’t physically see each other frequently, but being home has made us more proactive in reaching out to one another. We have a group chat that is buzzing throughout the day every day, we play trivia every Friday, and we have lunchtime FaceTime chats once or twice a week.
Getting movement in has also been so helpful in clearing my mind and tiring my body so I can sleep better. A lot of my friends go for outdoor walks and runs, but my allergies have been terrible. We recently splurged on a NordicTrack treadmill, and I love it! But there are also so many free movement options, like online workout classes through Zoom, Instagram, and YouTube. I feel so refreshed and energized after working out, which keeps my anxious and negative thoughts at bay most of the time.
Luckily, my therapist and I have been able to continue to meet every other week through video calls. I was even able to talk on the phone with the doctor who prescribes my depression and anxiety medication this weekend and get additional refills. Making sure my mental health medications are in order and taking the time to speak with my therapist have been crucial to keeping my mental health somewhat on track during the uncertainty of a pandemic.
Take some time to reflect on what’s been positive during your quarantine experience. It’s important to remember even the smallest wins!
As much as I try to focus on the positive, I have to admit that it’s not all sunshine and roses right now. I’m trying to take my own advice in slowing down the emotional roller coaster, but it’s not always that easy. I try to be as real as possible here on the blog, so here’s the down and dirty.
Working from home has been a lot tougher than I think. My full-time gig is really slow right now, so I don’t have a lot of work to do. This makes it incredibly hard to get up and be motivated to work at my desk for 8 hours.
My husband is an essential employee. As of now, he’s working two weeks on, and then he’s off for two weeks. Each two-week split is challenging. When he’s working, it leaves me to do all the housework, cooking, etc. since he’s working several shifts of overtime in addition to his regular schedule. And then when he’s home….well, we’re not used to spending that much time together! Our apartment is quite small, and it’s hard to get the space for “me-time” with neither of us leaving the house.
And finally, most difficult of all, the state of the world is a constant source of anxiety, on top of my typical mental health struggles. I’m struggling with the uncertainty of when quarantine will be over and what life will look like when it is. I try not to let myself focus on that so much, but it’s not always easy to keep those negative thoughts from sneaking in.
What are you struggling with during quarantine? Can you break it down into smaller, more digestible pieces?
Quarantine Mental Health Suggestions
When I first realized that we were going to be quarantining for an indefinite amount of time, my first concern was for my mental health rather than my physical health. When I was in my deepest depression, I isolated myself completely. I had panic attacks before any social gathering and would often say I wasn’t feeling well to get out of going. I was so afraid that quarantine would send me back to that mental state because of the isolation I was facing.
The best thing I’ve done for my mental health has been to reach out to my loved ones. I told my college roommates point blank that I was afraid of my depression coming back, and they have made an incredible effort to check-in on me and make sure I’m doing okay. I feel so loved and lucky.
You don’t have to be quite as blunt as I was, especially if you haven’t talked about your mental health with your friends and family. But being proactive and reaching out to a friend or two to chat can be helpful. It can break up your day, serve as a distraction, and bring a smile to your face!
Another suggestion is to try to keep to some sort of routine. If I don’t, I find myself staying up until 2-3am and sleeping in way too late. Waking up at a similar time, eating regular meals, and sticking to normal work hours are crucial to keeping to a routine and keeping my mental health somewhat in check.
Do you have any suggestions for keeping mental health in check during this pandemic? Let us know in the comments below!
Quarantine Mental Health Resources
What helps with mental health varies for each and every one of us, but I wanted to share the resources that are helping me stay in line through social distancing:
- Calm app – as I mentioned last week, meditation does wonder for my mental health. It helps me slow my brain down and focus on the moment instead of all the “what if’s” I tend to focus on.
- Yoga with Kassandra – there are lots of yoga instructors with YouTube channels, but Kassandra is my favorite! She has a wide range of videos and has them split into categories by length, style, and level. Yoga is a refreshing combination of movement and mindfulness.
- Kahoot – this is the site my friends and I use for trivia. We make our own quizzes, but there are a lot of ready-made quizzes available to play with as well. It’s a great way to connect with each other and get your brain juices flowing.
- Audible – my brain isn’t in the right place to focus on reading right now, so audiobooks have been the perfect alternative. I still get to lose myself in a fictional world, and I’ll usually listen while cleaning or on the treadmill. Right now I’m finishing the last Harry Potter book. Next up is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (so I can watch the mini-series on Hulu!).
Have any resources to share? Comment below!
That wraps things up today, friends. Please take a few minutes this week to do a mental health scan – identify the positives and negatives and consider how best to support your mental health. We’re all in this together!
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