As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and new variants continue to pop up, in recent weeks self-isolation has become more and more common once again. Whether it’s because you have COVID-19, were in contact with someone who had it, or are more susceptible to the virus and are choosing to isolate for safety purposes, many of us have recently been given reason to experience the thrill of staying alone in a room away from the rest of the world.
When met with this experience, however, it’s easy to neglect certain aspects of our mental and physical health. While fighting off a potentially deadly disease, it can be difficult to keep self-care in mind. Nonetheless, there are many small things you can sprinkle into your days of isolation that will make a huge difference in terms of bodily health and mood. Here are 4 tips for taking care of your body and mind while staying inside.
While it may be extremely tempting, let’s face it: humans are not meant to lie in bed all day. While working out may be a gruelling task for many, lying down for long periods of time can leave you feeling even more sore than exercise can. I’m not saying you must go full-on Chloe Ting, but the best thing you can do is adopt exercise habits that work for you. If you’re someone who rarely works out, try doing some stretches, dancing to music, or simply walking around the room a few times a day to get your blood flowing. There’s no need to push yourself beyond your comfort level, and no need to make yourself feel guilty for it.
Putting your thoughts into writing can be a great way to get your brain running when it lacks stimulation. Although it can be hard to find things to chronicle, you can quite literally write about anything. Find something particular about the room that you like or dislike, and jot down your thoughts about it. Write about ideas for stories, movies, television shows, podcasts, you name it. Think about fond memories you have, adventures you want to embark on, and everything in between. Tapping into your creative side will give you a new appreciation for yourself and your incredible mind, and can give you ideas for things to do once isolation is over.
Keep important areas clean
After a few days in the same room, things can start to pile up. Because isolation can be so draining, we often discard things in piles, make empty promises to clean them up later, only to let them sit still. It’s a well-known fact that a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind – which can cause a ton of unnecessary anxiety.
This can be avoided by taking just 10 minutes or less out of your day to clear up one or two piles of clutter. Make sure to clean up areas of the room you use most often, for instance, your bed or desk. Although it’s a small change, it can make a huge difference in your attitude and outlook on the day.
Communicate your feelings
When we find ourselves in isolation for long periods of time, it’s easy to get lost in our own thoughts without someone to share them with. In order to process our emotions, whether they be fear, sadness, anger or happiness, it’s important to be open about them with someone close to you. Don’t bottle things up until isolation is over; you may come to find that the longer you bottle up your feelings, the harder they are to express.
With the power of technology at our fingertips, it’s possible to communicate with anyone at any time from anywhere. Designate someone close to you who you feel comfortable talking to about your feelings, whether it be a family member, friend, teacher, counsellor or therapist. Shoot them a text, write them an email, make a phone call, or set up a video chat. You could also call any of the Mental Health helplines in your area, which you should be able to find online. If you find yourself in Nova Scotia, the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line is 1-888-429-8167.
If you are in isolation for whatever reason, I hope you find these tips helpful and that they make your “stay-cation” a little more bearable.