Hi. How are you doing? We just wanted to check in on you in the midst of this pandemic. This is a situation none of us have experienced before, and as we all readjust our lives and routines, it’s crucial that we take care of ourselves.
So, we created a list of some ideas to give your body and mind what they might need during this time.
Stay informed, but do not obsess over news
It is good to keep up-to-date with local, national, and global happenings. But as one author posted recently, there is a fine line between informed and obsessed. It’s not healthy for anyone’s brain to constantly dwell on bad news. Especially while stress is higher than usual for many people, adding constant headlines, opinions, and interviews about the pandemic could be too much.
In a 2018 article, Time reported, “While increased anxiety and stress are reason enough to be wary of overdoing it when it comes to the news, these and other mental health afflictions can also fuel physical ailments. Stress-related hormones, namely cortisol, have been linked to inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and other serious health concerns.”
With that in mind, here are a few ways to walk the informed/obsessed line:
- Limit news intake to one or two time blocks per day
Maybe it’s after lunch and before dinner. Do what works for your schedule. But avoid checking your phone, newspaper, or TV first thing in the morning or right before bed.
- Set social media time limits
It’s the same idea as the news time blocks. Some smartphones and devices will even let you set a time limit so you don’t get caught in mindless hours of scrolling.
Limiting social media can be a good practice anyway, but especially during the pandemic, it seems like everyone from your great aunt, to your coworker from 20 years ago, to your childhood best friend is going online to share their opinions. It can be exhausting to try to keep up. For more on this and benefits of social media breaks, check out this Forbes article).
- Get some good news
When you do log onto social media or are enjoying your news time block, be sure to take in some good news. One that we found is the Instagram account @goodnews_movement. Sites like this share fun and encouraging stories about good things that are happening, even in the midst of a global crisis.
Stay connected to friends and family
There are many ways to communicate with loved ones. Whether it’s phone calls, text messages, video calls, social media, or pen pals (see 8 Ideas for Your Kids During Quarantine for more pen pal details), perhaps one of our main responsibilities right now is to fellow humans.
Check in with the people you know are quarantined alone. Send postcards and photos and gift cards. Order a care package and have it delivered to someone’s house. Host video call game nights or movie watching parties. We all get to be creative with the ways we interact and reach out.
Studies show that thankfulness is linked to a happier life. Gratitude is even linked to greater neural sensitivity in the part of the brain associated with learning, rational thinking, and decision making (details in this NBC News article).
From journaling what you’re thankful for each day, to writing thank you cards to first responders and essential workers, to keeping a photo nearby that makes you feel thankful … there are many ways to train the brain to “count your blessings.” And studies suggest the more you express gratitude, the easier it becomes to do naturally do so.
Make time to be silent and reflective
is a strange time where it feels like nothing is going on, but paradoxically,
everything is going on. The places people typically go to get out of the house
are unavailable. The activities people had planned are canceled. Meanwhile, the
whole world is talking about one thing: coronavirus.
As we navigate this new quieter, slower external life, many people have more time and space to acknowledge what is going on inside of them. External distractions are stripped away. Life has changed exponentially over the course of a few short weeks. With that comes an array of emotions. As you experience whatever emotions come up for you during the pandemic, allow yourself to feel them. Journaling, telling a loved one, exercising, or creating art are some ways that people process emotions. Whatever works for you, be sure to be present with yourself.
Take care of your body
We’re not doctors, but we all know that moving the body is critical to a healthy life. Just because gyms are temporarily closed doesn’t mean we cannot exercise. Go for a run, walk, or bike ride. Pull weeds or roller skate. There are also free online exercise classes you can find.
Additionally, getting enough sunlight, water, and sleep can help boost your immune system and make the body function optimally.
We hope these ideas and resources help you live your best and healthiest life possible during quarantine. We will get through this together.
Vantage West blogs are informational only and not meant as medical advice. Vantage West does not endorse any third parties linked above. For your convenience, Vantage West Credit Union provides links on our website to third party sites. Vantage West Credit Union does not provide, and is not responsible for the product, service, or overall website content available at a third party site. Vantage West Credit Union is not liable for any failure of products, services, or information advertised on the third party website. Please be advised that you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of the privacy and security policies of our website.