1. Take Vitamin D and other multivitamin supplements. If you live in the north like I do, there’s no sunshine now so this will keep your body happy with the vitamins it needs, and support your mental health as well.
2. Whether it’s sunny or not, get outside for at least 20 minutes. Take slow breaths of the fresh air and step away from the stress of being indoors.
3. Listen to happy music! I compiled a list of all of the songs that make me happy to share with others. It is collaborative, so please add songs that make you happy! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3ixcpoCAjqUK6L4DRZJmZ9?si=E1BVBeUjSHaVAjm-akodcg
4. Try yoga and meditation. I’ve joined an online retreat, but there are thousands of videos and guides on the internet to follow. It helps you focus on relaxing, but also just makes you aware of what’s on your mind.
5. Exercise! Indoors or outdoors, following videos or just by yourself! I do a workout class through Zoom three times a week, which gives me structure in my day along with online classes.
6. Schedule group calls with family and friends each week. My family uses Zoom every Sunday to connect and update each other about our lives.
7. Do Netflix parties with friends! You can watch movies and chat about them. If you don’t have Netflix, you can always coordinate by just starting the movie at the same time (I suggest Disney movies to keep things happy and lighthearted.)
8. Cook!! There is something about cooking – from start to finish – that makes you feel so accomplished. Experiment with different foods, spices, diets! Changing things up and being creative always helps me feel good.
9. Dress up or whatever! I love bumming around the house all day in pajamas, looking rough. However, even if I just wash up and throw on a little makeup and put some jeans on and a sweater, I feel more put-together and productive. Doing whatever makes you feel and look good in your own eyes really helps with mental health.
10. Read books! Time away from the online world is most definitely necessary. I get bad headaches from staring at my computer all day long, and reading is a great alternative. Read something new, educational, comical, or relaxing!
11. Set screen time limits. I went from using my phone from 1.5 hours a day to 7.5 hours a day. This made me really upset. I set limits to force me to do others things and get away from my phone.
12. Do things that used to make you happy that your life doesn’t normally have time for. I’ve heard so many people say “I’ve finally been able to get back to painting or embroidery or writing now that I have time on my hands!” Now is the time to do things you love!
13. Pray or keep up with spirituality. This one is really important. Religious or not, having something to hold on to that’s positive and wholesome is so essential to getting people through hard times.
14. Read motivational quotes. Just scroll through Pinterest or any platform to mindlessly read and reflect on quotes to fill your mind with good things.
15. Stick post-it notes all over your space with messages to yourself, like “today is going to be a good day,” “today I’ll learn something new,” “I’ve gotten through weeks of quarantine, I can get through another day,” or “breathe.” Anything to keep you going!
16. Watch live webcams of animals.
The most peaceful: Monterey Bay jelly fish https://youtu.be/2gHKDHmgVlU
The most comical: Penguins – https://youtu.be/p9SjR0VNQZY
The cutest: Otters – https://youtu.be/db-zbXkjTno
Or: Pandas (can’t decide!) – https://youtu.be/Gm3bQVANtVo
17. Change your perspective. This is the hardest thing. Everyone says it’s not the situation, but how you look at it. It’s not up to anyone but you to decide how you look at things. Nobody should tell you how to think. I am encouraging you to try to find some positive light in these dark times. For instance, I look at this time to find self-love, meditation, time with nature, and other things. I think about the efforts of the community to battle this, such as seeing masks, food and drink donated to hospitals, support for local businesses, etc.
18. Talk to people. Reach out, express your feelings. This is something we are all going through separately, but together. It’s a time to help and support each other.