Navigating life during the 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine is complex and stressful – but we have some ideas that may help!

With most of North American cities are practicing social distancing (some under shelter in place guidelines), life in 2020 is way more complicated (and tragic) than any of us expected. Who you’re quarantined with – or separated from – can add even more complications to the current crisis.

Maybe you’re weathering through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with long days alone or in a house full of kids. You might be working from home – or trying to work from home – while struggling through home schooling or nursing an elderly parent. Or maybe you’re on the front lines, providing essential services – thank you!

Struggling to find the silver lining in our changed world?

As the world has slowed down – and forced us to slow down – now might be the perfect time to begin practicing some (much-needed) self-care. If your home is full, this might be as challenging as it was before the pandemic – but maybe even more necessary.

We suggest starting by cutting yourself some slack. Emotions are running high for everyone, making some living situations tricky at best. Step back from your stress and let the kids watch another episode on Netflix – they can catch up on math later. Leave the dishes in the sink and go read a book or take a 360°virtual tour of Mars, which is seriously cool.

Next, let’s talk about taking care of yourself during this crisis. Staying healthy – physically and mentally – is your mission. When we begin to venture out of our homes again, we need to be ready to fight off germs and viruses and stress to keep ourselves and our families safe. Will you be ready?

If you need some inspiration in the looking-after-yourself department, we can help.

7 ideas to help you self-care to boost your mental and physical health

1. Get enough sleep. If you do nothing else during your isolation, pay close attention to both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Like taking your temperature, sleep is a barometer of health. The simple truth is if you’re not sleeping well, you’re more likely to be in poor health, with problems like hypertension or diabetes a reality – or looming on the horizon. Sleep affects every physical function in your body and directly impacts stress, creativity, overall mood and well-being. Need help getting the sleep your body needs to survive and thrive?

2. Eat healthy. The nutrients in our food form building blocks for minerals and proteins, which help form amino acids needed for good health. Data shows that eating less fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar – like a diet of greasy burgers and fries – is linked with the increased risk of disease as you age. While fast food is convenient – and let’s be honest, addictive – it does nothing to ensure we live long, healthy lives. As we slow our lives, now might be the time to look at how slow foods can improve our diet – and health.

3. Exercise. Running to the medicine cabinet for a sleeping pill won’t help you as much as a run outside – with proper social distancing, of course. Exercise can elevate mood and reduce stress as well as fortify a flagging circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep/wake cycle. Just 20-30 minutes of daily exercise can help your body in ways that will keep you healthy in the here and now as well as the future. Whether you’re quarantining alone or with a big family, these ideas might help.

4. Meditate. From lowering your blood pressure and cortisol (a stress hormone) and cholesterol to increasing creativity, reducing anxiety and boosting your immune system, meditation is the wonder drug that’s not a drug. A University of Wisconsin–Madison study found that meditators produced significantly more antibodies to a flu vaccine than did non-meditators. The same research also showed that those who meditated were calmer and had a more positive emotional state. If you’ve never meditated before, the first step is patience with yourself and understanding that it’s a process rather than a goal.

5. Go big on backyard games. When the days are longer and the air is warmer, your backyard is the best – and arguably, the only safe – place to be. This year, backyard games rule. Period. If your yard is small, take game night outdoors and play compact games like checkers, Jenga or tic-tac-toe. If you’re lucky enough to have a sprawling backyard, think football toss or miniature golf. However you decide to reduce the stress, the last one inside is the winner.

6. Grow a garden. Whether your garden sits in the window or stretches across your yard, gardening is great for stress relief. A Dutch study asked two groups of people to complete a stressful task and concluded that gardening for 30 minutes after said task resulted in lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Had a rough day? Get your hands dirty and grow something.

7. Stay in touch with friends and family. Countless research studies concur that being social can reduce the risk for a wide variety of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes – all while making you feel happier and healthier too. Just because we’re self-isolating or social distancing doesn’t mean we have to live like trolls. Reach out to those you love through your preferred social media channels, text them often or get creative and host a Netflix Party. Of course, you could always go old school and pick up the phone and call them. They’ll feel better and you will too.

Rest well & wake up ready to go!