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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people are hunkering down indoors to stop the spread of the virus. But the constant sheltering has some people on edge. Some even have the added stress of working from home, often balanced with the new responsibility of home-schooling their kids. And as we stay home, we’re likely turning to the news for coronavirus updates—triggering even more stress.
With all the newfound anxiety COVID-19 creates, the CDC recommends we find some activities to keep us busy and ease our minds. Here are some things you can do at home to help you de-stress.
Stick to your daily routine
It may seem easier to stay in bed in your pajamas all day, but waking up at a reasonable time and getting dressed in the morning can help motivate you to begin your day. Keeping a healthy sleep schedule can also keep you from stressing about staying home.
Puzzles are a fun way to pass the time (and there are plenty to choose from). Not only will they keep you busy, but jigsaw, crossword, word searches, and Sudoku puzzles offer many educational benefits, such as improving memory and problem-solving skills along with increasing I.Q.
Puzzles have mental health benefits, too: They increase the brain’s production of dopamine, which improves your mood. Puzzles also help lower stress levels and increase productivity, making them a fun and healthy way to keep your mind active.
Find a creative outlet
Now seems as good a time as any to pursue that passion you’ve always dreamed of. You don’t need to be a professional to pick up a paintbrush, get creative in the kitchen, work in the garden, write a poem, or learn an instrument and start making music.
Creativity is a great way to reduce stress, and something as simple as sketching can benefit your mental health. So find something you’re passionate about and have fun.
Work out at home
Gyms across the country are closed but there are plenty of home workouts to choose from, with instructional internet videos and online fitness pages there to help.
Working out can release endorphins which can improve your mood, while regular exercise can reduce stress and anxiety. With workouts available for novices and gym rats alike, yoga, stretching, push-ups, lunges, squats, and weightlifting can do wonders for your physical and mental health.
Have a movie night
You may not realize it, but watching a movie benefits mental health. There’s even a science behind it: Film therapy deals with how watching films mentally affects us.
Watching a film can decrease anxiety, as it redirects your attention to the film. It can also strengthen your resolve, should you identify with strong characters. And films can also help you find new perspectives and change attitudes. So make some time to watch a feel-good movie.
Stay connected with friends and loved ones
There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with others. Friends are using video chat platforms while couples are double-dating that way. Families are video chatting to celebrate special occasions, while companies and churches are introducing new ways for people to stay in touch online. Meanwhile, one streaming service introduced an app that allows users to watch movies together at the same time from different locations.
Despite the distance, you can still talk to and have fun with friends. Spending time with people online can help you feel connected.
Go for a walk outside (but away from others)
Although you're encouraged to stay indoors and away from others, you’re still allowed to go outside for some fresh air.
Regular outdoor walks, bike rides, or runs can help reduce stress and improve your mood, while helping you recharge and take your mind off your stressors. However, it’s still important to keep six feet away from others.
Know that this will end
Knowing this won’t last forever can improve your mental state. We don’t know when this will end, just that it will—so try to focus on today. How you think and act can transform how you experience stress. When you choose positivity and connection instead of fear, you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges.
You are not alone. Medical City Healthcare is committed to ensuring the mental health of individuals across North Texas. Ask for help if you’re struggling with mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical City Green Oaks is open and its experts stand ready to help. Medical City Green Oaks Outpatient Services also offers telehealth solutions to new and existing patients remotely. Their clinical staff can guide individuals through each step—from the initial appointment to ongoing tele-treatment. To learn more, click here.