• Prioritize Your Mental Health During Quarantine

    by Margot Banen

    An electric piano against a wall where a tapestry hangs and a hanging plant.

    Throughout my life, I’ve always struggled with anxiety. Anxiety can be hard to cope with on even the best days, but during quarantine, many people have seen declines in their mental health. Even as some quarantine protocols begin to lift, feelings of isolation can linger. In order to help cope with the struggles of quarantine, I’ve talked to my friends, family, and my therapist to create a small list of suggestions that may help people who are struggling.

    Going Outside

    In many cases, just being outside has helped a lot of people. Even though it’s often cold where I live, I try to take at least a quick 10-minute walk. It consistently helps to improve my mood and clear my mind. Being in the sun, even just briefly, will drastically change my mindset about the day.

    Working Out

    If going outside maybe isn’t the best option for you right now, or it’s just not possible, working out is the next best thing. Not everyone likes to work out, which is totally fair. When everyone first went into lockdown, many people gained “the quarantine 15” -- I know I did. And that’s perfectly ok! This was a very stressful and strange time for everyone, there is no shame in weight gain.

    Working out doesn’t mean you have to get insanely sweaty or overexert yourself. Nowadays, you can work out from the comfort of your room. A workout can be as simple as 10 minutes of abs or light cardio, like high knees, burpees, or butt kickers. My personal favorite is yoga, which I can do easily with a guide from a YouTube video.

    Working out can boost your energy and help with reducing stress, anxiety, and depression by increasing your self-esteem and cognitive functions. If you work out for at least 16-18 minutes, you’ll release endorphins which help to put you in a better mood.

    Listen to Music

    If you just don’t have the time or energy to work out, you can always use the universal language of music. There is not a person in this world who doesn’t listen to music. What’s so amazing about music is how quickly it can change your mood. When I’m feeling especially anxious, I put on songs to sing along to. This not only helps draw my focus away from my anxiety or the panic attack I may be having, but it also helps to regulate my breathing in an easy and fun way.

    Music can also provide an outlet for people. It can help someone feel less alone in their emotions or use it as a release from them. You can even write your own music or lyrics to help to help organize, catalog, and dissect your emotions. It’s a really healthy and creative way to get in touch with yourself.

    And So Much More

    There are so many ways to combat the stresses of quarantine and create an environment for yourself that is healthy and fun. Some people love to read, others like to call up friends and talk for hours, and others like to bake. Whatever it may be, always know that with everything going on there is always someone you can talk to if you’re struggling, whether that be a friend, a family member or a therapist. Remember that you are never alone.

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