To be completely honest, 12-year-old Emily would not have handled quarantine well. I likely would have stayed up until 4 am, slept through the morning, and felt quite miserable for it. I think one of the trickiest things about a time like this is not falling into a rut, and having struggled with anxiety and such throughout the years, I have a bit of experience with falling into ruts. I wanted to write a post for you all about quarantine: not necessarily about things to do to not feel bored, or about how to be super productive. Rather, I want to share some advice with you all on how to keep feeling alive, energetic, and well, as much as possible during this time at home. This work is harder for some of us than it is for others, and that is perfectly fine! It’s okay, and even expected, to fall a few times before you keep walking forward. So here are a few tips that I’ve garnered over the years, to try to stay upright in the first place.
Morning and Night Rituals
Our sense of time is really important for our mental well-being, as is a semblance of a routine. Since routine is one of the first things to go when we don’t have school/extracurricular responsibilities, I really suggest implementing a few constants in your life to stay on top of. This could look like making your bed every morning, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, and reading a book. At night, it could be writing in a journal, making a cup of tea, and taking a shower. If possible, I’d also really suggest trying to wake up and go to bed at similar times every day, as that will guarantee your sleep cycle to stay on track, which is so important for mental wellbeing. This will look different for everyone, but I think it’s really important to keep at least a few things constant, as those are things that are in your control, and control might seem scarce in a time like this.
If you have access to a backyard, balcony, nearby (empty!) park, or even a street that you can walk around without getting close to anyone, I highly suggest trying to get outside! I always find it difficult to get myself outside in the hot, humid weather where I live, and I know a lot of you probably struggle with getting outside in your cold weather. In my experience, within about 5 minutes my body acclimates to the humid weather, and it isn’t that bothersome anymore. If nothing else, going outside is a change of scenery, texture, and scent, and it can be really nice to let your senses experience something new for a change. Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, it can do wonders to your mood.
Move Your Body
Again, this is something that will look different for everyone, and you should only push yourself as much as you feel comfortable with. However, if you’re able, now is a really nice time to move your body regularly! You can walk around your block (as long as you can stay away from people), take a swim if you have a pool, stretch, dance around, try some yoga, or anything else you can think of. If you’re allowed to go on YouTube, there are a lot of really great workout, yoga, and stretching videos for beginners on there, and if you aren’t normally allowed on YouTube, you could talk to a parent about helping you find a video, if that’s something you’d like to try. Again, this is something that can just be for five minutes, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. I always find that I feel about 10 times better after I move my body a little.
Talk to Friends and Family
It’s really easy to socially isolate yourself when you’re feeling down, especially in a time like this, but there are so many ways you can reach out to people, and getting some human feedback might be more helpful than you’d think. If you’re quarantining with someone you feel comfortable talking to, try spending some time with them, either doing something fun or just sitting down to talk. If not, try texting or calling someone you do feel comfortable with, and “hang out” with them! If all else fails, NMG is always here for you; there are so many people on here who would be so happy to PM you and either have a fun conversation or just listen, myself included!
There’s quite a bit of pressure to use this time to better yourself, but I want to tell you that it’s okay if you haven’t, and it’s okay if you’ve regressed. We are, literally, in the middle of a global pandemic, and it’s an accomplishment to make it through another day, whether or not you’ve worked out, learned a new skill, or read five books. Do your best to be proud of yourself for what you have done, and try to forgive yourself for what you perceive as your downfalls. We all have to deal with ourselves a little bit more than we’re used to, and there will be a learning curve. That’s okay! Try to think of yourself as a friend, and be kind and forgiving when you don’t meet your expectation; I think that being your own friend is one of the secrets to being content and happy.
I hope this helped at least one person, and thank you for reading! Like I mentioned, I’m always here if you need someone to listen. Feel free to leave any of your own ideas in the comments below!
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