woman looking longingly out her window at the city

10 Things That Keep Me From Going Covid-Crazy During Lockdown

These are stressful times that we live in. The isolation, lack of meaningful work, and restlessness that many of us are experiencing, are enough to make anyone Covid-crazy!

When tensions are high and there is so much to worry about, it’s really important to pay attention to our mental health.

First, I want to point out that while I do have a Master’s degree in Exercise and Wellness, I am by no means a mental health expert. In fact, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life and am working very hard to be proactive about it. 

I, like many Americans, am used to go-go-going, all of the time. As the Director of Operations for two different adventure tourism companies, it’s not unusual for me to work long hours, most of which are spent outdoors – just how I like it.

But now, with the tourism industry in the US completely shut down due to Covid-19, I have been Temporarily laid off. My two usual coping mechanisms for stress – staying busy doing work I love, and spending time in nature – are now much harder to do.

Whether you’re like me and have a history of depression, or you’re just going Covid-crazy with the stay-at-home orders, I thought I’d share a few of the things that I’ve been doing during lock down to be proactive about my mental health. 

I think these things will be most useful for people who are not working, or are only working part time from home, but I hope that you might find something in this list that is helpful to you. 

#1 – Try to Stick To a Relatively Normal Sleep Schedule

Try to wake up and go to bed at a relatively regular time each day. This doesn’t mean that you can’t sleep in, or even that you need to set an alarm clock every day, but try not to sleep your whole day away. 

For example, I used to wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 AM for work each day. Now, I try to get up no later than 7:30. I used to struggle to stay awake until 9:00 PM, but now I tend to fall asleep closer to 11:00 PM.

I know for me, if I’m left to my own devices, I stay up later and later, and sleep in later and later. I was unemployed for a short time after grad school and ended up sleeping all day, and staying up all night. This didn’t feel good at all, and can be a sign of depression.

Your sleep schedule doesn’t need to be super strict, just reasonable.

#2 – Get Outside and Experience Nature However You Can

It’s a well known fact that time in nature and sunlight are great for your health! This is especially important for those of us that love to adventure, and use nature to unwind normally. 

I know it can be hard to get out into nature or the wilderness right now with so many State and National Parks closed due to Covid-19, but just getting outside, even in your yard or neighborhood, still produces positive health effects. 

Ideas to get your Vitamin-D and Nature Fix During Covid-19

  • Put a chair or a hammock in your backyard or even have a little camp out! 
  • When the weather is nice, eat on the patio or balcony or better yet, make a backyard picnic!
  • Take yourself, or your dog for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Plant a patio herb garden or butterfly garden.

#3 Try to See the Positive

There’s a lot of negative things happening right now, but it isn’t healthy to fixate on it. At a time like this, I think it’s even more important than usual to count our blessings.

I have recently started keeping a gratitude journal which is new for me. Each morning when I sit down with my coffee, I write down three things that I’m grateful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small those things are, as long as you are truly grateful for them. 

For example, one day I wrote, “I am grateful for the healthy birth of my new niece during this crisis.”, and another day I wrote, “I’m grateful for good coffee”. 

Some days I find more to be grateful for than other days, but so far I’m finding it to be a really helpful exercise to put things into perspective.

#4 – Move a Little Each Day

Prolonged sitting can be really rough on the body and the mind. Exercise is a natural stress reducer, and releases a feel good chemical called endorphins.

If you’re feeling a little sluggish or blah – try a little workout. It doesn’t have to be a ton of exercise It could be a walk, a few body weight exercises in your living room, one of the many free online classes being offered during Covid-19, or a YouTube Yoga video.

I strongly believe that exercise is medicine. 

#5 – Rock Out to Some Good Music

When I’m feeling blah or unmotivated, the right playlist can perk me right up! I usually listen to music most when I drive, but since I’ve been doing a lot less of that lately, I’ve been trying to work it into my life during other times. For example while exercising (of course!), but also while doing chores or cooking.

#6 – Keep in Touch With Friends and Family

People who are feeling depressed have a tendency to self-isolate, but this can be harmful to a person’s overall well-being. Covid-19 is something everyone can relate to, so reach out, and talk to the people you love. 

I’ll be the first one to admit, when I get busy, I’m not the best at keeping in touch. It’s especially hard with the time difference of me living in Hawaii, and my friends and family living all over the mainland US. But since most of us aren’t working now, it’s the perfect time to reconnect. 

Send a text, make a call, or better yet – video chat! But don’t forget to check on your low maintenance friends too!

Comic about checking on your low maintenance friends

#7 – Limit Your News Intake

When Covid-19 first really started hitting the US, I spent the first week or so, constantly looking at my phone and reading the news. All. Day. Long. I quickly learned that this was really stressing me out and that I needed to unplug a bit. 

For the last month or so, I have committed to looking at the news only once per day. I like to get it out of the way first thing in the morning so for the rest of the day I can focus on other things. 

So far this has been working out really well for me. I feel informed, but I’m not constantly stressing out over things I can’t control. I am trying hard to focus on the things I can control, and to stop worrying about the things I can’t.

Chart about what a person can and cannot control during Covid-19
Circles of control diagram for Covid-19.

#8 – Learn Something New

Pick one thing that you’ve been wanting to learn more about, and spend a little time on it each day. Learning something new is like exercise for your brain, and if you’re anything like me, it can be really rewarding!

What you learn is really up to you. It can be purely for pleasure, like wanting to level up your photography skills, speak a new language, or play a new instrument.

Or it could be something more career oriented, so long as it’s something that you find interesting or feel passionate about.

Woman working on her laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

For example, I’ve always been interested in digital marketing. This is a skill that would make me more valuable at my current job when I go back, but it will also be helpful for my long-term goal of opening my own business one day.

One of the cool things about living in the age of the internet, is that we have access to all kinds of information. If you are interested in more career type skills, check out the free MOOCs (massive open online courses) offered by sites like EdX or Coursera.

If you are looking for something more for pleasure, check out YouTube or Udemy which is a site that offers pretty cheap online classes. 

#9 – Enjoy Leisure Activities Without Guilt

During lockdown, why not dedicate some time to things you enjoy but maybe don’t always have time for? For example, reading for pleasure, binge-watching something on netflix, doing a puzzle, or playing video games. You shouldn’t feel guilty about these activities, especially now. 

Not feeling guilty about these sorts of activities can be particularly hard for me. I feel like I constantly have to be doing something productive or else I feel restless, but I keep reminding myself, it is healthy to relax and unwind!

#10 – Allow Yourself Some Indulgences

Don’t be too hard on yourself during these tough times. Allow yourself some indulgences in moderation. It is important to avoid falling into negative coping mechanisms like excessive drinking and full-on stress or boredom-eating, but little indulgences aren’t the end of the world.

For example, I usually try to eat pretty healthy by limiting sweets and processed foods. But since these stay-at-home orders came through, I have started eating a few things that I haven’t eaten in a long time. Like those delicious Costco muffins and Kraft macaroni and cheese. Not for every meal of course, but there really is something to be said for comfort food. 

Also, naps. I usually try really hard not to nap during the week. Mostly because I’m typically a pretty bad sleeper and I want to be tired when bedtime comes around so that I can be a functional human being at work the next day.

But lately I have been allowing myself to nap a little bit here and there throughout the week, so long as it doesn’t throw off my sleep schedule too much.

Conclusion

These are stressful times for everyone. Be proactive about your mental health. 

  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Reach out to others if you are struggling.
  • Remember, everyone is different, and everyone deals with things differently. What works for some, may not work for others. So don’t be afraid to try out a few different techniques to see what works best for you.

Your Turn

Have you tried any of these techniques? How did they work for you?

Are there any on this list that you would like to try out?

Did I miss any important techniques? Let me know!

Extra Reading

If you’re interested about learning more about taking care of your mental health during Covid-19, check out these great articles!

Share the knowledge!

Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

10 Replies to “10 Things That Keep Me From Going Covid-Crazy During Lockdown

  1. You have great, simplistic advice here. That being said, I am terrible about taking time for me and not feeling guilty. That and focusing more on my writing are my personal goals for May.

  2. This article was fantastic! So well written and I loved all the graphics you included. I try to stick to a routine on the weekdays with waking up at the same time, computer time, walking outside, chores, reading, and working out. It has really helped me get through each day of lockdown.

    1. That’s awesome Lindsey! I think it’s really important to keep some semblance of a routine, even if it is a different routine than you will have when more things open up, and lockdowns end. Thanks for the read!

  3. This is a great post and really helpful, thank you! I love the idea of writing a gratitude journal entry in the mornings – I normally journal in the evenings, but starting the day with gratitude would set up a positive mood for the day. It might be a good thing to do after checking in with the news, to readjust from a worried mindset to a positive one!

    1. Thank you Cate, I’m glad you found it helpful! I have tried the gratitude journalling both in the morning and the evening and I think it’s helpful either way. But I’ve got to say, I like it best in the morning. I feel that it sets the stage for a good day by reflecting on the things that I’m grateful for within the last ~24 hours. Thanks for the read and the comment!

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