3 Helpful Ways To Boost Mental Health During Quarantine
The COVID-19 coronavirus is disrupting almost every aspect of our lives. A level of uncertainty and isolation has become prevalent with social distancing and quarantine measures, which can greatly impact our mental health. This is why it is essential to take care of yourself not only physically, but also mentally during this pandemic.
I'm encouraging my patients and friends to stay positive by participating in activities that boost their mood and keep their minds engaged more than ever. Here are three activities I recommend incorporating into your new routine.
1. Solve Puzzles
Puzzles are a fun way to spend long periods of time and an activity our loved ones can get involved with. They also challenge our brains because we exercise valuable cognitive skills such as critical thinking, spatial reasoning, and creativity when we solve them. Studies have shown that people over 50 years of age who are active and complete puzzles on a daily basis actually lower their chances of developing Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, and dementia. Make sure to set aside time, whether it is in the morning, mid-day, or evening, to work on a new or favorite type of puzzle. Jig-saw puzzles, crossword puzzles, sudoku, word problems, and riddles are all great options.
2. Go on a Free Virtual Tour & See a Broadway Show
It is important we use this time to do things we wouldn't normally get to do. One thing I highly suggest is taking advantage of the free virtual tours that famous museums and zoos from around the world are offering online right now. GoodHousekeeping has a list of museums offering virtual tours that you can easily access. These tours enable us to learn something new and cross items off our bucket list without leaving our homes. If you enjoy Broadway shows, several of them are accessible for free on PBA, BroadwayHD, and YouTube for a limited time.
Your mind and emotions will benefit from the dopamine and endorphins released by your brain when you watch your tour or show. These are pleasure hormones and chemicals that instantly increase your mood and energy levels and help fight negative moods.
3. Connect with Loved Ones
Experts have found that strong relationships play a crucial role in a person's happiness. We don't have to be isolated from people just because we're forced to stay at home right now. Cellphones and technology platforms like Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Zoom, or Google DUO are available to help us connect with the people we care about.
We can even use the good, old-fashioned snail mail. Take a moment to write a card, email, or text to someone each day. The note can be a simple "hello", an encouraging word, or a joke. Be intentional about creating a list of family members or friends you want to talk with and schedule a phone or video call with them. People are craving connection right now and will likely be thrilled to hear from you.
Remember, the key to thriving at home during this COVID-19 crisis is to make an effort to stay active and choose a positive mindset. Keep a gratitude journal and immerse yourself in activities that bring you joy and make you feel productive. The COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders will not last forever, so stay home, stay hopeful, and stay healthy!