10 Ways To Maintain A Positive Mood While Social Distancing
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Three weeks ago the world was going about its daily routine uninterrupted. Which means that for many of us the sudden advancement of the COVID-19 pandemic has been pretty overwhelming. Odds are the majority of the people reading this are spending much more time at home in an effort to lower the spread of the virus. While spending some time at home might have seemed great, it's normal to be experiencing some anxiety, frustration or cabin fever right now.
Here are 10 tips for maintaining a positive mood while practicing social distancing!
1. Maintain or work on establishing a sleep routine.
More time at home means more time to rest, so try to maintain your health and mood by getting enough of it. While you probably don't have to wake up as early as you normally would if you were commuting, try to set an alarm for a reasonable time in the morning and get to bed at a normal hour as well. Studies show that giving your body an adequate chance to reset every day helps to improve your mood!
2. Schedule some outdoor time
Practicing social distancing does not mean you have to remain cooped up! As long as you're maintaining a safe distance from others and avoiding heavily populated areas (such as parks or popular hiking trails) you can and should take a walk or spend some time in the sun every day! Even if outdoor time for you means sitting in your patio, on your stairs, or taking a short drive - set some time aside to go outside at least once a day.
3. Practice mindful meditation
We often take for granted just how powerful BREATHING is! Meditation is one of the easiest ways to help reduce stress and check in with your mental health as well as your physical health. My coworkers and I sometimes meditate as a way to start or end our Zoom meetings. The easiest way to start is to sit in a comfortable position free from noise or distractions and breathe in for four slow breaths - hold for four - and breath out for four slow breaths! There are tons of youtube videos for guided meditation to help you!
4. Set up a designated work space
Those of us who commute to work have now had to adjust to working at home, and the hours might start to blend together. A way to help reduce stress, maintain your mood and "step away" after your work day ends is to designate a space in your home that's JUST for work! It doesn't have to be a fancy desk or office. The key is to make sure that you only use this space for work and that you leave that space at the end of your day to allow yourself time to unwind!
5. Socialize digitally
When I moved to Tucson last year I experienced a lot of depression as a result of feeling isolated from my friends and family. I had to learn to make adjustments and utilize technology to find ways to see and spend time with them. It's definitely not the same or as great as seeing them in person, but it still helps to bring a smile to my face! Don't hesitate to utilize FaceTime, Marco Polo, Zoom or Skype to spend time with friends! Pour yourselves a glass of wine and enjoy a happy hour. Stream a movie together. Play games. Remember - all of us are experiencing this together! We might as well make the best of it.
6. Keep your space clean
This is not a push to try to reorganize your entire home! Still, it is said that cleanliness does help your brain to clear distractions and process information. A cluttered space might make you feel overwhelmed or unsettled. Take some time to clean the section of your home that you spend the most time in: put some music on, reorganize, and set it up in whatever way makes you comfortable. If there is an area of your home that you've been meaning to work on (a particular drawer, your closet, or that patio!) this might be an opportunity!
7. Do some journaling
The world feels very different today than it did a month ago. Very sudden changes and uncertainty can definitely bring about negative feelings. Journaling, even in short form, can help us to navigate and process a lot of those feelings. Take the time to write down what's on your mind. It doesn't have to be pretty or organized - just what you're thinking! If you'd like a guide on what to write on there's a free journal on this website that can help you.
8. Disconnect for an hour every day
Now that you're at home you might not realize how much time you spend "connected" to some form of electronic - whether it's your work computer, your phone for social media, or your TV for streaming and watching the news. Although we want to stay updated on what's going on and connected with others the constant intake of information can lead to some anxiety. It's okay to step away from our electronics, and I even suggest that you dedicate a specific hour every day to step away from it all! Feel free to pair this tip with #2. Unplug! Go outside!
9. Do what feels good
The entrepreneurs and busy-bodies of the world are already telling us that now is the time to start businesses, get fit, go on diets, change our lives and change the world - but if that's not what you're prepared to do right now? IT'S OKAY. It's perfectly okay for you to take this time to rest, to be unproductive, to check out and do whatever feels good. We are not all handling this the same way and your mental health is a top priority. Do what feels good. Eat what feels good. Handle this the way you need to, as long as you're not harming others or putting them at risk!
10. Try something new - and support those who are trying.
Trying something new might be what feels good for you in the moment! Take suggestions from friends on what movies and shows you should dive into. Grab a book off of your shelf that you haven't had time to read. Try a new blog or podcast by a smaller creator. Support a small business on Etsy by ordering a craft you've always wanted. Order food for delivery from a local restaurant! Keep your brain busy while also contributing to those who need our help most during this pandemic.
We don't know yet what the world will look like when this passes, but it's up to us to do what we can now to be kind to ourselves and others until it does. If you found this list to be helpful, please share it with your friends and family online!