Quarantine is mentally and emotionally challenging, that’s for sure. Given the current state of the world, staying home is the new normal. For some, it can bring up feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, depression, and even symptoms of PTSD. Here are 8 tips to help your mental health during these uncertain times.

1. Only Trust Reputable Sources

With so much information circling online, Coronavirus is quite literally everywhere you look. In other words, it can get really overwhelming really fast, especially on your mental health. Make an effort to block out media noise and only trust information coming from reliable sources. Websites like Health Canada, CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), and the WHO (World Health Organization) are a good place to start. Stay informed, not overwhelmed.

2. Limit Your Time on Social Media

Avoid excessive media exposure, the same way you limit the types of resources you check to stay informed. Consider putting your phone on airplane mode and shutting off your laptop and TV a couple of hours before bed. Instead, use that time to implement a nighttime routine and maybe even pick up that book you’ve been meaning to start. Your mental health will thank you.

3. Try Sticking to a Routine

Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day. Make your bed in the morning and change out of your pjs into “real” clothes. Take a moment each morning (or the night before) to make a short list of what you want to accomplish that day. Maybe it’s clearing out your kitchen junk drawer or getting ahead on a daunting work project. Remember that it’s also ok to do nothing for a day.

4. Go Outside

Fresh air is good for you. Going outside can make a huge difference in both your mental health and physical health. Even if it’s 10-15 minutes, the great outdoors does the mind and morale loads of good. As long as you are mindful of your surroundings and staying away from others, there is nothing wrong with stepping out. Social distancing is the most important thing we can do right now, in other words, do your part.

5. Connect With Friends and Family

It’s 2020, which means technology is all around us. Take advantage by planning virtual hangouts with your family and friends! Organize a game night on Zoom or binge watch a new series together on the Netflix Party extension. Quarantine can bring up a lot of different emotions, which makes staying connected all the more important.

6. Honour Your Feelings

Isolation can play tricks on us and on our mental health. Checking in on how we are feeling is important. Remember that we are all in this together and that everything you feel is normal and valid. Above all, take it one day at a time and try not to look too far into the future. This too shall pass.

7. Unwind and Practice Self-Care

Get crafty, cook a new recipe, go out for a walk, read a chapter, listen to your favorite song, watch a new show. The possibilities are endless! Eat a balanced diet made up of whole foods. Be mindful of how much sleep you are getting each night. Incorporate at-home workouts in your day-to-day. Many gyms and fitness trainers are hosting work out classes throughout the day on social media.

8. Practice the 4-7-8 Technique

Sometimes, anxiety just happens. The 4-7-8 breathing method is a great way to bring calmness to your breath and ease to your mind. How does it work? Follow these steps to get into a deep rhythmic breathing that reduces stress and anxiety:

1. Get comfortable and breathe out until your lungs are empty

2. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds

3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds

4. Exhale through your mouth (forcefully) for 8 seconds

After that, repeat this sequence until you feel the anxiety subside.

For more information on what Portage is doing to keep you informed on COVID-19, click here.

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