The amazing Emma Clare got to it first and already has shared with us a set of pretty useful and even life-saving tips on how to manage and protect our mental health, especially in times of stress. If you haven't already, I urge you to read it!
In this global pandemic that we're all facing, all the strains on our mental (and physical) health are only going to be exacerbated. Even introverted people might find that quarantine will begin grating on their nerves after a while- and it's completely reasonable, because it's a different thing to stay in knowing it's your choice and you can go out at any time, and completely different to know that you're in because you have to be, and going out is either severely discouraged or outright banned.
it's extremely easy for dysthymia-like symptoms, dysthymia or even depression to set in when forced to stay confined in one place while the news keep blasting you about death and biological scourges 24-7. And if that happens, even though you might have all the time in the world to create art or work from home or be constructive, you won't have the energy to.
And that's not even factoring in financial strain on top of all of that.
Things are tough, and it's likely that they'll stay that way for a while before they get better. However, we can help the situation somewhat, rather than let it weigh on us to the point where we can't manage it.
What to do then, to keep morale high (or managed) and to power through quarantine without letting your mental health deteriorate?
1. Groom yourself daily
No matter what your grooming routine is, or whether you plan to be seen by any sentient being during the day, make it a point to groom yourself as if you would be. Keep clean, neat, and wear clothes inside the house during what would be normal working hours, rather than whatever you sleep in.
2. Keep your house/flat/bedsitter clean and tidy
The neater you keep your living spaces, the more symbolic control you surround yourself with. Being in a tidy house has been shown to correlate positively with lower stress and better mental health, especially if you're the one doing the cleaning or the maintenance of that space's tidiness.
3. Cook from scratch
Not only will you eat better on a smaller budget, but cooking is a creative activity that yields high rewards (food). Bake your own bread (it's actually easy! Here's a no-yeast example), bake a cake, prep and cook soup and stock to use with pasta, etc. You will help your health as well as your wallet, as usually cooking for yourself gives you meals at a fraction of the price you'd buy them.
4. Freelance to supplement your income
Quarantine and covid-19 in general are killing jobs and incomes as well as people. This is a high stressor that I can't pretend to assuage with a tip list like this. However, being confined in house with a connection to the internet has some perks- you can freelance online. Try to get yourself commissions, but also look around and diversify. Not all online jobs require extra credentials. From copywriting to translation to voice overs, there is work out there that potentially might help supplement your income now that times are dire.
5. Keep a schedule
You probably had a schedule before the pandemic disrupted everything. Try to keep the timezones going. Wake up normally (or at a new, more comfortable but fixed time for you) and do your chores and work from home during the time you would normally work, then kick back as you would normally do. This might be quite hard to do at first, but humans are creatures of habit. If you compel yourself to keep to a schedule for the first few days, you won't need to force it for the rest of the days of confinement.
6. Talk about it, no taboos!
Mass media is oversaturated with covid-19 news. However that doesn't mean that listening to the usual rotation and appeals to stay at home has also catered to your need to talk about your experience and your thoughts about it all. Talk about it, joke about it, and nag about it. On that front, we here at the Duck got you covered! Join our Discord server where we got a whole channel dedicated to corona talk! There's memes and real serious thoughts and black humour and just chatting, without any of the mass media stuff we all have been nearly brainwashed with from the sheer repetition.
We're in this together, even if we're in different continents. Stay strong!
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, March 21, 2020
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