By Shannon Turner
Day 8 of Quarantine: wake up late, wear sweats, watch TV, eat, watch more TV, sleep, repeat.
Day 9 of Quarantine: wake up late, wear sweats, watch TV, eat, watch more TV, sleep, repeat.
Who has had a day of self- quarantine where they stayed entirely inside? Maybe you didn’t shower? Maybe you watched an entire season? Maybe you ate all your good snacks?
You can finally get to your list of binge- worthy Netflix shows, and with delivery services like DoorDash and Postmates offering free delivery and discounts, it’s tempting to order food and work from the couch.
With the increased amount of social distancing and quarantine, it can be hard to see life as normal. Frankly, that’s because it isn’t. Here are five crucial things to keep in your quaren- routine that can prevent your lifestyle from going down the tubes.
There’s guaranteed to be more sitting and laying down if you’re couped up at home. Not only can it cause discomfort and muscle tightness, it can decrease range of motion in the joints. Stretching is already recommended as a daily activity, but why is it so crucial now?
According to a Harvard Health study, not stretching for long periods of time can heavily affect your body’s ability afterwards.
“Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage,” says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Weeks of tight muscles can largely impact the body’s movement and capabilities, so when life returns to normal (eventually), stretched and relaxed muscles can help you get back on top. YouTube alone has thousands of “how- to” videos on the art of stretching. As proper execution is key, check some out and add stretching to your daily routine.
2. Set time to be away from screens
Ah, TV. Laptops. Streaming services. Social Media. Oh yeah, your PHONE. This is of course a pre- quarantine issue, but now with people either working from home or out of work, screens are more tempting and more occupying.
Although a lot of screen time may be needed for work, during and post- work TV and phone use can be a huge distraction, but can heavily impact physical and mental health.
Registered psychologist Dr. Simon Sherry shared the side effects of heavy screen time on adults with GlobalNews.ca.
“Increased screen time [can cause] anxiety, distractibility and loneliness. It can also promote a sedentary lifestyle and affect sleep, so it’s “not surprising” that screen time has negative mental and physical health impacts,” said Sherry.
While at home, limit non- essential screen usage by skipping out TV while working from home and track daily screen time. In doing so, you can avoid major physical strains and keep your mind from online overload.
3. Schedule Activities
Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to do. Making a plan for the day and setting certain times aside can not only keep you occupied, but keep time moving. This includes writing a to- do list. This is where you can plan who you’ll FaceTime, what goals you’ll accomplish, maybe a house project? What non- screen activities are you going to do?
Ultimately: What does today hold?
Yes, keeping up social activity is important. Talk to your friends and family, and scheduling who you can talk to that day is a great way to keep in touch. Choosing a house project is another way to set a goal and feel accomplished. What needs fixing up? Reorganizing? Rearranging? Refreshing your space with simple projects is a good way to change up the scenery, plus it will get you moving.
Things like coloring books, board games, and puzzles can also stimulate the brain and give you a break from the screen. Also, who doesn’t feel accomplished after a crossword? This will also give your day more variety which can decrease boredom.
4. Maintain Good Hygiene & Get Dressed
While you can take a break from jeans and nice shirts, not having anywhere to be is not a good time to skip the shower or ex brushing your hair. Getting ready each day can help you feel refreshed and feeling good. Boredom and monotony are easy to give into. As the saying goes, “bodies in rest, stay in rest,” and that sense of unaccomplishment and boredom can make showering seem like such a big task.
“Maintaining a routine, like getting up and getting dressed and doing what you usually do, can positively affect mental health,” said Dr. Russell G. Buhr, a pulmonologist at U.C.L.A. Health, in an interview with the New York Times.
Although you can maybe skip out on the makeup or khakis, getting out of your pjs and keeping up your regular hygiene routine can keep you healthy and motivated. And it adds for another great quarantine activity: shower concert.
5. Fresh Air
Ah, stale apartment air. How refreshing?
No, not at all. Getting out of the house for sunlight and fresh air is essential for both physical and mental health. Same goes for exercise, which can be done inside and out.
Dr. Claudia Allen is the director of the Family Stress Clinic at University of Virginia and a licensed clinical psychologist. She shared with news magazine UVAToday about the importance of exercise and fresh air in times of quarantine.
“Exercise, sunlight and being around trees all benefit mood. If you’re stuck inside, try one of the many workouts that you can follow on the internet,” said Allen. “Exercise has such a positive effect on mood it is actually a prescribed treatment for mild to moderate depression.”
So keep moving and take care of yourself. Quarantine days will not last forever. If you need someone to talk to, contact Nicole Davis in the Wellness Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-508-2163. NC Hopeline Intervention is also available and open 24/7 for calls and texts at 919-231-4525.