As corona virus upends life for more and more people, you might be feeling uncertain or fearful about what’s to come. When that anxiety is coupled with a sudden drop in social contact — whether because you’re quarantined or just working from home for who knows how long — those feelings can feel even more heightened.
“We don’t realize just how social beings we are until that contact is reduced or diminished because we can't leave our homes.
There are a whole bunch of reasons you may be staying home for a while due to corona virus. At the least restrictive end of the spectrum are the many workers, like me, who are doing their jobs from home for the foreseeable future because their employer mandated it. More serious are those who are self-quarantining after coming in contact with someone infected with the virus, as well as those people self-quarantining after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. At the most severe end are people who are medically quarantined because they have been diagnosed with the corona virus. You might also live in a country, like Italy, or a US county that's under lock-down, where travel is being restricted and people are being urged to stay home as much as possible.
If you’re self-quarantining for any reason, working remotely, or just feeling anxious about having to do either of those things for a while, there are tons of little ways to prepare yourself that aren’t just buying up your grocery store’s entire stock of beans.
We asked experts, consulted guides, and crowd sourced tips online. Here's some of our advice:
You can eat normal, tasty, healthy foods.
Just because you’re stocking up doesn’t mean you have to live on nonperishable foods and canned vegetables. That’s going to get tiresome real quick, and there are plenty of ways to eat the things you normally would.
Fill your freezer with fresh, flavorful soups. Keep pasta in your pantry and tomato sauce in your freezer. Think about the foods you would want to eat on a typical day; usually there’s a way to keep those around.
And remember that food isn’t just about staying alive
You don’t just need well-balanced meals! You need Cheez-Its, peanut butter cups, popcorn, gummy bears...really whatever snacks you’ll be craving if you’re stuck inside for a while. There has never been a better time to have ingredients around to bake cookies. And if you’re out here thinking meal prep time would be a good time to get super healthy and only eat lentils, get real. These are trying times. Buy the damn candy.
On that note, don’t forget coffee and tea, if you drink them, and some booze if that’s up your alley.
Avoid being too isolated.
Being forced to stay inside might sound like an introvert’s dream come true, but when it’s in the midst of a worldwide epidemic and everyone is panicking, it’s not such a fun and chill time. It took me one day stuck at home to get lonely and stir-crazy.
Check in with your people. Get on the phone or FaceTime and call your family and friends with some regularity — you’ll probably need it, and so will they and chill time. It took me one day stuck at home to get lonely and stir-crazy.
And if someone you know actually gets quarantined, or gets infected with the virus, be there for them as much as you (safely) can. Call them, or just send a playlist, some memes, or links. And even if you can’t go hang out with them IRL, consider cooking them a meal and leaving it outside their door, which is safe to do.
Get a little fitness in.
There are plenty of workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home, and doing so can seriously help your mental health.
YouTube has tons of channels that offer instruction in everything from yoga to Pilates to strength training.
And if you can still go outside, nothing beats a walk. Just avoid big groups of people.
Clean your home.
Not only does it protect against the spread of illness, it also makes being cooped up in your home a lot more pleasant. Here’s a big list of spring cleaning chores you may have been putting off.
Plan out your entertainment
Watch the news, for sure, but don’t just stay glued to cable news. “The worst thing people can do is sit around and watch TV or watch their screens and look for the hourly update of numbers.
Seek professional help if you’re really struggling.
Whether you’ve been to a therapist before or are just realizing you might need to see one, seeking help with your mental health doesn’t need to wait till you can go outside again. Lots of therapists offer sessions over the phone or video chat.
If you’re working from home, do it right.
Working from home sounds like the dream — pajamas all day, slacking off, working from the couch! — but it can get bleak and unproductive pretty quickly if it’s not approached the right way
Information is powerHaving the right information can be helpful in stopping yourself from freaking out. You don’t need to go overboard on research, but it’s a good idea to be aware of what you should do if you do think you’ve contracted the corona virus.
And perhaps the easiest way to stay healthy is to maintain proper hygiene. You don’t need a face mask (unless you’re sick), but you should be washing your hands regularly (and remember, soap and water is just as effective as hand sanitizer).
Once that’s done, just try to take it easy (and maybe order some dumplings to support your favorite Chinese restaurant). These are tough, uncertain times, and the best thing we all can do is be kind to ourselves and our neighbors as we all go through it.
Last but not the least is to buy one of our Zen lamps to instill the sense of calmness in you.