There is no doubt that being sheltered in place for weeks at a time can make anyone feel unproductive and deprived of human interaction. Suggestions like social isolation and staying six feet apart have been recommended by the government to limit the spread of the new coronavirus but are also changing people’s routines. School, practices, clubs, tutoring programs and many more events have all been cancelled until further notice, inducing anxiety about not knowing what to do with the coming days. Given this stressful time period, here are five ways to help get through this seemingly everlasting time period and to adapt to this self-quarantining lifestyle.
1) Pick up a new hobby
Whether it be picking up a book or learning how to paint, trying something new is not only a fun challenge, but it can also give you a purpose for the down time. It can also be a great distraction from the chaos we can’t control. According to the Huffington Post, “Taking the time to focus on something extracurricular that you enjoy gives your brain a break and allows you to refocus once you return to work. Problems that once seemed unsolvable can be more easily managed after taking a step away and coming back with a renewed outlook.” If school work starts to become too much, solving that massive jigsaw puzzle that’s been tucked away in the cupboard or sitting down at the piano may be the perfect break for the brain.
2) Get outside
Now that students no longer have to spend their weekdays on campus, it’s the perfect opportunity to appreciate the beauty the Bay Area has to offer. Although as of March 22, most Marin County National Preserves such as Point Reyes and Muir Woods closed, there are still chances to appreciate nature on a more local level. Hiking through the woods on Mount Tamalpais or biking along the water on the Tiburon bike path shows you Marin has natural wonders all over, some of which could be laying in your backyard.
Apart from the obvious advantages of getting out of the house, spending some time in the great outdoors can bring many lesser known health benefits. According to Business Insider, benefits of going outside and being in nature include improved memory, lower blood pressure and the ability to fight depression. While places like Point Reyes, Bodega Bay and Petaluma may be off limits for the time being, chances are that just opening the front door can clear the mind.
3) Focus on self-care and mental health
High school causes all types of stress socially, academically and physically which can build up over time and take a toll on mental health. Although school work must still be completed at home, this time away from campus can allow your mind to recharge. Everybody approaches stress relief in different ways; while some may want to catch up on sleep, others may find that the only way to truly unwind is through yoga or meditation.
4) Spend some time with the family
Besides affecting just mental health, school can also take a toll on a student’s family time. In our busy lives, quality family time frequently takes a back seat to sports practices and homework. While a full house may disrupt routines and parents working from home or siblings returning from college may drive other family members crazy, these next few weeks can be used to catch up with loved ones. Now that the nation as a whole is emphasizing social distancing, family is really one of the only ways for people to socialize and converse in person. Though family is always important, these extreme measures make family time increasingly valuable.
When a pandemic decides to take over the world, there’s not much people can do apart from keeping a positive attitude and making the most out of the time they have at home. It’s important to maintain high hopes for the near future and to stay healthy. So, for the time being, hopefully this list can turn this bizarre time period of stress and isolation into an opportunity to rejuvenate and think positively. And yes, socially distancing can be challenging and unexciting, but if it means potentially saving the life of someone else in the community or even a family member, then keeping the distance will be for the greater good.