Getting used to living in isolation is hard enough, but finding ways to stay motivated and connected can be exhausting. Even as Minnesota’s stay-at-home order is beginning to lift and shops and restaurants slowly start to open, many people will choose to stay home with the health and well-being of their friends and family in mind. Chances are, you’ve tried your best to adapt to staying home, but here are some tips for staying motivated and minding your mental health while continuing to isolate:
1. Get outside.
It may seem simple, but if you haven’t been getting outside every day, now is the time! Not only is the weather warming up, but some vitamin D and fresh air can be a serious mood booster. Here are some surprising benefits to getting outside, even if you are just going on a short walk or sitting on your balcony:
- Increases your short-term memory. The sensory stimulation of being outside can make your brain a little sharper and increase your awareness of your surroundings.
- Relieves stress. Being outside can decrease your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) — resulting in a more care-free mindset and increased mood.
- Boosts your immune system. Indoor air has dust and other particulates floating around that you’re not even aware of. Getting out of your home can get your blood pumping, decrease inflammation and move some clean air through your lungs.
2. Stick to a routine.
Adjusting to the new normal can be challenging, especially if you were used to a certain routine before the stay-at-home order. Creating a new routine while in isolation can take your mind off of what is going on in the world and will make things feel more stable while boosting your emotional, physical and mental health. Routines can also help you organize your time more efficiently, reduce levels of stress and anxiety and improve your sleep.
3. Stay connected.
Social connection is important and especially difficult during this time. If you don’t feel comfortable social distancing with a few people in person, connect virtually. Virtual social hours and game nights are a fun way to stay connected with your friends and family while boosting your mental health. Read our 7 Tips to Help the Elderly Stay Connected During Social Distancing for more ideas on how to connect with others.
4. Finish that project.
Setting out to complete a task can be extremely beneficial to your mental health. It won’t just give you a sense of accomplishment, it can help you learn a new skill and improve your sense of self. Plus, you’re more likely to pursue a new goal after completing one. There’s no need for a hard timeline — even if you make a plan to slowly chip away at a project you’ve been meaning to try, it will feel good to be heading toward a goal and trying something new.
5. Prioritize your mental health, and be okay with not being productive right now.
During this time of uncertainty and isolation, it’s most important to do what makes you happy. What brings joy is different for every person, so take some time to sit down and ask yourself what truly makes you happy. If it’s speaking to your kids or grandkids, try a Facetime call or pick up the landline. If you love crafts, find something around your home that sparks your creativity — whatever it is, nothing matters more right now than your mental well-being. That said, if you don’t feel like being productive lately, that is okay. Showing up for yourself and doing what makes you feel good is the number one priority on the to-do list.
We’re here to help!
During these unprecedented circumstances, Cherrywood Pointe is here to help your family, friends and community stay healthy and safe. We hope these tips on staying motivated encourage you to prioritize your health and well-being. If there is anything we can do, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
If you or someone you know is struggling to adjust during this time or is feeling a sense of loneliness or depression, it’s important to talk about what’s going on. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s hotline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) puts you in touch with counseling services and other local resources.