Taking care of yourself during quarantine: we’re all slowly losing our minds—what can we do in order to (at least try to) avoid this?
- Vitamin D: Getting enough vitamin D is an important consideration during this pandemic. MedicalNewsToday reported that maintaining a sufficient level of vitamin D can help your immune system run more efficiently (Sampson 2019). Healthline also wrote that “studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression…people with low vitamin D were at a much greater risk of depression,” (Legg 2016). So, getting enough vitamin D can keep your mood elevated and can give you a better chance of fighting off illness. With this said, what can you do to get your recommended daily dose of vitamin D? It’s recommended by MedicalNewsToday to that you find at least 15 minutes to spend outside per day to boost your vitamin D levels (Sampson 2019). If you are unable to go outside, you can instead take vitamin D supplements or eat foods that are rich in vitamin D. Examples of these would include egg yolks, cheese, fatty fish, or fortified foods (Ratini 2018).
- Exercise: Getting some movement in during the day while being cooped up at home is a great way to take care of yourself. By no means am I telling you that you have to do a HIIT workout followed by weights and sprinting (but if that’s your thing…more power to you) for this to count as exercise! However, my favorite thing to do at the moment is to take walks around my apartment complex and the nearby trail while listening to a podcast. Keyword here: walks. I have not gone for a run in two years, nor do I plan on doing so in the near future. With that said, I still come back from a leisurely stroll, feeling just as refreshed as I would have gone on a jog! This similarity is because walking “also boosts the production of stress-busting endorphins,” (Greeneq 2019) the same way that other exercise does. Additionally, do not let the leisure part of walking fool you. According to the Better Health Channel, by walking 30 minutes a day, you are able to improve your cardiovascular and muscular fitness, endurance, bone and muscle strength, and lower your blood pressure and body fat percentage over time (Better Health Channel 2015). Also, going on walks outside can help boost your vitamin D levels…see what I did there?
- Stay connected: Being sure to remain in contact with other people during this time is a crucial aspect of self-care during quarantine. This is especially true for folks that rely on their daily routines for distractions from anxieties or even harmful environments. The issue with staying connected though is…how can I do this without disrupting social distancing orders? I think the obvious answer here is FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or Google Duo so one is able to video-chat with loved ones. But what if video-chatting is not an option? Here are some applications I found as alternatives in the case that a video-chat session is not an ideal course of action, whether it be for safety, financial, or personal reasons.
Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp: A perk of having any of these apps is that you are able to chat with users from all over the world instantly so long as they also have an account. All three are free to download but require a Wifi connection for access. Something to note: Facebook Messenger requires you to have a Facebook account to use, and Google Hangouts requires you to have a Google account to use. WhatsApp lets you make an account by giving your phone number and connecting through a Facebook account (if you want).
Snapchat/Instagram: Both Snapchat and Instagram are great ways to connect with people to see life updates through photos, videos, and “stories,” which are play-by-play updates of someone’s day. Both apps are free for download but require Wifi for access. Snapchat requires an email to create an account, and Instagram can use an email or a Facebook account to create an account.
Netflix Party and Kast are ways that you can tune into videos (like movies or TV shows) and watch them in sync with friends or family while social distancing. So great news—no more having to wait until the end of quarantine to finish Tiger King with whoever you started it with! Now, how do you download it? Great question. Netflix Party is a Chrome extension you are able to download (but if you do not have Chrome, you’ll have to get that first), and then you can get the party going from there. Kast, on the other hand, is an app you can use on your computer or mobile device to stream any other platform (e.g., Hulu, HBO, YouTube, etc.) with more than 100 other people. Once you have a link ready to be shared, you can send it with the party you want to start and get going! I’ve included the link to both Netflix Party and Kast below.
- Activities: Be sure to find time for activities you like to do amid your work/school life. It has been a difficult transition for most of us to begin to work and learn from home, especially having to learn how to separate ourselves from work and play. With this said, I think it is important to still make time for things that bring us joy and happiness, and that do not at all feel like work. In my case, I love to paint and make macramé. By no means am I good at them, but when I am able to get in my artistic mindset versus my school mindset, I feel much more at ease than before. Yes—we all still have to get our work done. However, let us not forget that we have to take care of ourselves. Stress compromises the immune system (McLeod 2010)! The last thing we all need right now is a weakened defense against COVID-19. The least we can all do for ourselves is something that we enjoy and that brings us happiness.
Take care, stay healthy, and wash your hands!