6 Ways to Reduce Stress During Isolation

During this COVID-19 outbreak many are working from home, self-isolating, and changing their everyday habits. Restricted social interactions and work from home situations have an impact on your mental health, making the practice of self-care more important than ever. The good news is that there are many ways to boost your mood at home!

1. Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep can have a huge effect on how you feel physically and emotionally. If stress is causing you to have trouble sleeping, consider taking up meditation, yoga, or simple stretches before going to bed. Make sure your bedroom is free from distractions and limit your screen time. Avoid caffeine and sugar at night as they will keep you awake. If you are constantly monitoring news about COVID-19 and it’s stressing you out, consider taking a break and watching a movie, reading a book, or talking to friends about something else.

2. Exercise

Exercise is a great stress reliever and reduces your risk of depression. The gyms might be closed where you are, but there are many free options for working out at home – online work out programs, YouTube videos, even social media challenges. Currently, many gyms and subscription services are offering free online classes to help people stay healthy during this pandemic. If exercising at home doesn’t sound exciting, maybe play some music or watch TV while you’re doing it, or switch up your exercises so you don’t get bored.

3. Separate work from leisure

When you work from home, the lines of work and personal time easily become blurred. Assign a space in your home that is for work and use it for work only. If space is limited, work in your living room or at the kitchen table. Keep to regular work hours and take a lunch break – take care not to work while eating. Even though it may be tempting to work in your PJs at home, the simple act of getting ready in the morning can increase your mood and energy levels!

4. Reach out to friends and family

Phone calls, text messages, social media, FaceTime… the sky’s the limit in the ways we can stay connected these days. Actively reach out to friends and family and have real time discussions – don’t just rely on commenting or liking posts on social media. Talking to someone in real time helps you feel more connected.

5. Clean your home

Research has shown that people with cluttered homes express higher levels of stress. Tidy up your house, maybe even re-decorate a little. This will help you concentrate on your tasks by keeping your mind off all the things you have to do around the house. Clean house, clear mind.

6. Spend quality time with the people in your household

Whether you live with your family, a friend, or a roommate, make it a point to spend some time together. Eat as a group, play a game, do chores together… Make most of the social interaction available to you. If you live alone, #4 is crucial – reach out! If you have pets, play with them and pet them.

For more about social distancing, quarantine and isolation, SAMHSA has published a great tip sheet with tips on managing emotions, and helpful resources if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Download it here!

These tips are for helping you manage your emotions in a stressful situation. For info on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 and what to do if you think you are sick, please visit cdc.gov for the latest information.

If you are looking for more help regarding COVID-19, please visit our Resources page.