This self-quarantine is a real bummer, to put it lightly.
But consider this — past generations have been asked to go to war. We’re being asked to stay at home. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
That being said, self-quarantining comes with its own challenges: Feeling bricked into our homes like a sad Poe story. The mounting restlessness of cabin fever. Panicked thoughts racing through our heads “Do I have it? Am I asymptomatic? Am I passing it to people? When will this self-quarantine end? What’s going to happen to my job? How am I going to pay my bills?”
And as if it wasn’t already at the top of everyone’s minds, we’re being inundated with a constant stream of social distancing this and flatten the curve that on our social media feeds. Kind of like this blog post 😏
All in all, it sucks. But whether it sucks or not it’s happening. For your own sanity, the best (and safest) way to deal with this pandemic is to keep calm and self-quarantine on. Emphasis on the ‘keep calm’ part.
Here are 7 ways to keep calm during self-quarantine:
You’re like “Duh, I have to breathe to live,” but hear me out. Since breathing is essential to our well-being, doesn’t it makes sense that controlled breathing would have a huge affect in managing stress and calming the mind?
Here are 2 breathing exercises to use when you’re about to have a meltdown:
1/ Box Breathing
What greater endorsement is there than being a stress-reducing technique employed by Navy SEALs?
Inhale slowly through your nose – fill your lungs and abdomen — while counting to 4. Hold for 4 seconds. Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of 4. Again hold for 4 seconds. Repeat these steps for at least 4 cycles (magic number!).
2/ Alternate Nostril Breathing
I picked up this technique (and grooming tips) from Queer Eye’s JVN because who doesn’t want to be him when they grow up?!
Rest the tips of your index and middle finger of your right hand between your eyebrows as an anchor. Take a deep breath in and out through your nose. Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly through your left nostril to the count of 5. Close your left nostril so both are closed and hold the breath for 5 seconds. Open the right nostril and release the breathe for 5 seconds. Repeat on the other side for at least 4-7 rounds.
Does your mind ever feel as frantic as a Mexican jumping bean? Hip-hopping between work, errands and mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds. That is no bueno for maintaining inner peace. You know what is? Meditation.
Meditation is not limited to folding your legs into the lotus position and intoning “Ooommm” at regular intervals. It refers more to being mindful; focusing your attention and awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally stable state 💆🏻♀️Doesn’t that sound nice?
Meditate in whatever way works to soothe the anxiously pacing beast in your head. Wash the dishes, deep clean the fridge, lift weights, go for a run, cook, read, write in your journal —something repetitive that your mind can focus on. Your heart rate will slow right down.
In this time of social distancing, the best thing you can do for others is staying away from them (unless you’re a medical professional). There is no better time than now to prioritize self-care.
While it’s a pretty
overused general term, it just means to do what makes you feel good — mind, body and soul. Don’t become so distracted by the current upheaval that you forget to take care of yourself, even if it’s doing something as simple as getting enough sleep.
What makes you happy that you can do at home? Slapping a face mask on before watching The Greatest Showman for the tenth time while eating a frozen burrito and sipping a glass of rosé? Go for it. Running a mile on the treadmill followed by a nourishing leafy green salad? To each their own 🤷🏻♀️
Establish a Routine
While we love to grumble about our morning commute or weekly trips to get groceries, there is comfort in the predictability. There are no surprises; we know exactly what to expect.
Establishing a routine in the midst of this upheaval can help us feel like we’re in control again and reduce stress.
Whatever your schedule was before, try to adhere to it as closely as you’re able. If you always woke up at 6am to answer emails, continue to do that. If it was your habit to swing by the gym on your lunch hour, develop an at home exercise regimen 💪🏼If it’s not possible to recreate your regular routine, institute a new one. Let familiarity act as a soothing balm to your frayed nerves.
For an extra dose of dopamine, the happiness hormone, set goals that you want to achieve every day. It’ll imbue you with a sense of achievement and progression to counteract the feeling of standing still.
focus on Gratitude
It’s tempting to attempt to propel yourself through the trials of this time to look to the light at the end of the tunnel. You mentally tally a wish list of things you’re going to do once liberated — going to brunch with friends, sweating it out at your weekly boxing class or even simply hugging a loved one.
However, wishing for things is acknowledging what you lack, making you feel its absence more keenly. It pokes holes in your contentment which is not conducive to staying calm.
Alternatively, gratitude fills those holes with all the things we have to be thankful for — friends, a nice home, family, health (hopefully), a good meal, etc… — till we’re brimming; full of the things we DO have, right now 🙏🏼Put on your blinders and focus on counting your blessings, not the things you miss.
Meditating. Routine. Breathing. Self-care. Not surprising fixes for anxiety but did you know that you can also alleviate stress by practicing empathy? Not only can thinking and caring more for others help you fight stress but it’ll help you feel more connected which is especially important during self-quarantine.
According to an article published by the Greater Good Science Center of UC Berkeley, “when we give and receive empathy we produce the near magical neurotransmitter oxytocin…” This hormone promotes feelings of love and bonding in addition to those of well-being.
Instead of fixating on your own problems, put yourself in someone else’s shoes or try to think of ways you can lift their spirits or make them feel cared for. It’ll pull you out of the quagmire of self-absorption from being stuck in a bubble and provide a new perspective.
choose faith over fear
At the end of the day, fear stems from the unknown. Life in general is unknown but with everything that’s happening into the world, that fear has come into even sharper relief.
What is coronavirus? How do we treat it? How dangerous is it really? How long will we be quarantined? Am I safe? Are my loved ones safe? Who? What? Where? When? Why??? No one knows for sure and that’s scary.
But you can choose to live in fear OR you can choose to have faith that in the end it’s all going to be ok. Either way doesn’t change reality, just the way you experience it. Having faith is the more pleasant option.
These are some methods that I’ve been using to stay calm while cooped up at home so I thought I’d share them. At the end of the day, all we can do is the best we can. I hope everyone is being responsible and staying safe. Keep calm and just know that’s it’s all going to be ok. We’re in this together.
If you need another pick-me-up to get you through these trying times, check out this post to see how struggle and failure can be a blessing in disguise (even if it doesn’t feel that way).
If you’re looking for content that has NOTHING to do with COVID-19, I’ll be posting stories to my IG for your entertainment. Keep your stalking game strong and follow me @teriaki if you aren’t already!