Most of America has been following protective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 for three months now. Models show that stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and wearing masks are all helping to “flatten the curve”. But events, festivals, and concerts continue to be cancelled and we are still being encouraged to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and weddings virtually or in small groups to protect ourselves and others. Many of us are ready to resume our favorite activities with friends and are even eager to get back into the office to socialize with coworkers. Feelings of fatigue or burnout caused by the quarantine are both natural and becoming more common – so how can you cope?
In addition to basic self-care strategies, try these tactics to help you get out of the quarantine routine:
Make your home your happy space. Spend a few minutes each day organizing or cleaning. Studies have shown that clutter can affect your stress levels, so take the time to create a calming space. Add something that will make you feel special such as fresh flowers or your favorite scented candle.
Focus on today. It’s understandable to wonder how long this is going to last. Shift your focus to what you would like to accomplish today, and at the end of each day think about what went well – even if it’s something as small as making a healthy breakfast.
Mix up your day. Work in a new room in your house, have your lunch at a local park, or start taking short walking breaks throughout the day. If you are not working right now, listen to new music one day or try a new type of exercise that you can do from home.
Stay connected – even when you may not want to. Continue calling or video chatting with friends and family to emotionally support each other. If you don’t always feel like socializing, watch a live concert on social media or take a free class or webinar where you can watch without participating, but can still feel part of something larger.
Know when to reach out for help. Mild feelings of anxiety or sadness on certain days can be normal, but having those feelings all day, every day can be a sign of a more serious health condition. You are not alone; many people are experiencing similar feelings right now and we encourage you to talk to your family doctor or call a behavioral health provider for treatment.
As we progress further into the reopening phase, let your comfort level be your guide. If you’re ready to attend a small backyard barbeque with family but are unsure about eating out at a restaurant, that’s perfectly fine. Simply take things one step at a time and of course, continue following general protective measures: wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, and wash your hands often.