I Created My Own Plan To Take Care Of My Mental Health During Quarantine

Some of us have gotten a lot less sunlight and exercise ever since schools decided to finish out the school year online. The first few days of self-isolation were a good break for those who are busy all the time, but making it a habit can actually lead to deeper impacts on your mental health than you might realize. It can be easy to sleep a little later and wake up a little later. The lack of desire to go out and smell the roses gradually grows every day. Exercising can seem like such a burden when you have Zoom lectures and studying to worry about. 

silvon sheet setHowever, as dreadful as exercise or changing out of sweats can seem, it is better for you in the long run. I, too, spent a couple of weeks living in sweats, getting up at 11 AM and not making an effort to go out at least 3 times a week. I started to feel sad. Problems I had overcome months ago were flooding my mind. I was overwhelmed with emotions and a lack of desire to do anything with my life. I told myself it was just a temporary slump that would come and go, but the following week, I felt the same. I decided to reassess my everyday life and figure out what I could change to improve my mental health and feelings. I needed to create my own plan for overcoming this slump. 

clothesThe first small change I made was to wear actual clothes every day, even if I was just staying home. Yes, this means more laundry than if you just wore PJs, but I found that changing into jeans and a t-shirt helped me be more productive and made me feel motivated to do work. Changing out of my pajamas was like a mental note that I was starting my day. 

person standing on field facing a sunset

The second change I made was going out for a few minutes and making sure I got sunlight. I am not a fan of sunlight because I am normally very warm and the sun makes me too hot and flustered. However, every once in a while, I would go out to get groceries or buy an iced chai at my local coffee shop and the sun felt amazing. It genuinely made me happier and left me wishing I could spend hours laying on grass enjoying the weather. That is when I realized I needed to spend more time outside. Lack of sunlight has been clinically linked to depression. Before you leave your home though, always remember to stay six feet away from people and make sure to put sunscreen on - for the sake of not getting wrinkles or skin cancer! 

Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress

The next two changes I made were to put away my phone at least an hour before bed and to sleep earlier. Studies show that using your phone before bed can cause horrible sleep. Even if you have your phone on night mode, your brain still registers the lights as daylight and does not allow you to properly get tired in order to get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping earlier is a good habit, so that you do not waste your day. Last summer, I was a camp counselor and I had to sleep from 10 PM until 7 AM. That summer, I felt more well rested than ever before and more productive because it meant I was active for 15 hours of my day. Sleeping from 3 AM to 11 AM means that your morning is gone and most of your day is too. If you are like me, 12 AM to 3 AM are not your most productive hours, so you only really get 10-11 hours to do work.

Finally, a change I am still working on is exercise. There are many exercises you can do at home, but I admit it is pretty difficult to motivate myself to do them everyday. It is even more difficult when I feel stressed out from school work. School can be so overwhelming that it feels as if spending time on anything but school work is a waste of time and just asking to fail a class. However, I had to come to terms with the fact that I had to schedule out my days in order to make the most of my time. Extra hours were not just going to be handed to me; I had to make time even if I had 100 pages of reading to do. During the hour that I would work out, I did not allow myself to worry about school. 

Some of these changes are easier than the others, but they are all crucial to making sure that you are taking care of your mental and physical health. There are outside factors in life that can take a toll on us, but these are small things we have control over.