If the uncertainty associated with shelter-in-place orders are causing you stress and anxiety, you’re not alone. Millions of people all over the world are under some form of quarantine, including complete isolation for some individuals. For those whose businesses have closed down indefinitely, uncertainty about their financial futures is the primary cause for concern. For those forced to work from home, it might mean a dramatic and unwelcome change in their work environments. Whatever your particular situation is, remember to take active measures to support your financial, mental and physical health.
Don’t Wait to Stock Up on Supplies
Going to the grocery store during this time can be aggravating and time-consuming, so be prepared with a list every time you go to one. If you are having to work from home, this is especially important. The key is to focus on non-perishable food staples like beans, vegetables, and grains that can work well in combinations. These are also the items that tend to run out on the shelves the quickest, so get them when you see them if you’re running low.
Cleaning supplies are also flying off the shelves, especially the paper varieties like tissue paper, napkins, etc. If you take prescription medications, try to keep a three-month supply of them, if possible. Stock up on necessities so that you don’t have to worry about not having them when their supply is limited.
From there, consider what you might need to manage the stresses that come from sheltering in place. If you’ve got a yard to tend, getting supplies for an outdoor project could be a great outlet during this time period. And if the stress and anxiety are really getting to you, scent diffusers or CBD supplements might be the addition you need to relax and feel secure during this time.
Get Some Exercise Every Day
Don’t let your physical and mental health deteriorate during this time. Even if you don’t normally exercise, you owe it to yourself to go out, take a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine. However, it will only help you to take in some vigorous aerobic and strength training exercises. Strenuous exercise supports mental health because of the release of endorphins that occur while working out and for a sustained period afterward. These endorphins react with receptors in the brain that reduce the sense of pain, similar to the way morphine does. Feelings of well-being and mental clarity always follow a vigorous exercise routine.
Perform Breathing Exercises
Every time you feel like you have reached your limits and are about to have a fit, take a deep breath and release that anxiety. The 4-7-8 deep breathing technique, also known as relaxing breath, should quickly help you regain your composure. Before you start breathing, find a comfortable sitting position with your feet flat on the floor. If you are comfortable sitting with your legs crossed, as with meditation, you can do this as well.
First, empty your lungs of air. Then breathe in through the nose for a count of four seconds. Hold in your breath for seven seconds. Next, exhale sharply through your mouth, while pursing your lips, for a count of eight seconds until all the air is out of your lungs. Repeat this up to four times or until you start feeling better. It’s not hard to find a quiet corner to practice this whenever you feel overwhelmed.
Beware of Negative Thoughts
Negative thought patterns you may be having must be brought under control to keep chances of falling into a depression to a minimum. Don’t let thought distortions convince you of something that isn’t quite true. Refrain from having either/or expectations and be aware that there is still a lot you don’t know about the way things will turn out. Also, remember that none of what is happening is your fault, so don’t blame yourself for your current struggles. It’s easy to only see the negative side of a situation like this, but nothing is ever one-sided. Never let yourself assume that the worst possible outcome is what will happen.
Having gratitude for the positive things in your life will help fend off negative thoughts that bring you down. Don’t focus on the negative during this time. If you need to, turn off the television and/or your phone and get a few moments of quiet. Use this time to focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses in preparation for when shelter-in-place rules are lifted.