Hello everybody! Shawn here. I’m a single guy who lives with guy roommates. I would imagine my quarantine experience is different than most. But whether you see your family every day, live with roommates, or live alone, my bet is you are experiencing some degree of loneliness during this quarantine. I can speak for myself when I say I really, really miss personal contact with my friends and family. When you combo that feeling of isolation with anxiety or stress about the world, it is a recipe for mental health struggles. I do not pretend to be an expert on mental health, but I have done some research and compiled a list of 5 things that might help you stay sane during quarantine. They have certainly been helping me! These are pointed at those who live alone or only with adults, but they might be helpful for everyone.
I live with roommates and 100% of my work is online. That basically means I could wake up and go to sleep whenever I wanted. I’ll be the first to admit, there’s been a day or two I’ve stayed up too late and slept in longer than I should have. But for the most part, I’ve tried to keep a regular sleep schedule. It’s a small thing, but it has helped me feel more productive and like I am in control.
I have also tried to fill my schedule with regular events at specific times. For instance, every day at noon New Vintage goes live on Facebook and I don’t miss it. I use it as an excuse to get myself out of my room and dressed for the day.
#2: Don’t Skip Lunch
It’s been really easy for me to skip meals. Sometimes it’s that I don’t want to go to the grocery store with everything going on or I just feel lazy. Either way, when you add being “hangry” into the mix of everything else, it’s not good.
#3: Exercise and Body Language
For whatever reason, the way we work is that when we feel the sun and move our bodies, it releases chemicals in the brain that makes us feel better. There’s a reason psychologists often prescribe exercise to fight depression. So, try to go on a run or a walk every day. Stay safe and socially distance of course, but that’s no reason to not get some sun.
Here’s another trick I got from a psychologist: if you notice yourself feeling anxious or depressed, take a second and look at your posture. Are you sitting? Are you lying in your bed? It’s not foolproof, but I’ve discovered it genuinely helps to get up and stretch. Negative emotions tend to make us crunch our body up or take on “lazy” postures. When we stretch our arms up and stand up it can help release those negative emotions.
#4: Pick up a new hobby
I got into guitar when I was in high school and thought it would help me impress girls. It didn’t work as well as I hoped so I haven’t touched it since. However, yesterday I got it back out, downloaded a guitar tutorial app, and started re-learning skills I had long forgotten. It’s a good way to pass the time that’s not Netflix.
#5: Tell people your specific struggles
One of the things that breaks my heart is the idea that when we come out of this quarantine, we will discover that a lot of people have relapsed on addictions they thought they’d beaten. I’m sure it’s happening with the loneliness and fear that’s out there. Or maybe it’s not an addiction, but it’s a battle with depression, anxiety, insecurity, or anything else. Whatever it is, we are all at increased risk during this time. I cannot advocate enough for us all to get in contact with people we know and trust and say “Hey, this is where I’m struggling. Can you pray with me about it and check in with me on it in a few days to see how it’s going?” I get it, it’s hard to reach out when you feel isolated. But, if we don’t reach out, we have no one to blame but ourselves when our situation does not improve.
As I mentioned at the top, I’m struggling my way through quarantine too. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. Honestly, there’s no one tip anyone could give to make the situation suddenly a magical experience. The reality is, sometimes life is weird, sometimes it’s tough, and sometimes it’s a pandemic and unprecedented globe spanning quarantine. However, I know we can get through this together if we lean into one another and into our relationship with Jesus. As always, reach out to New Vintage if you need anything. We are here for you.