How to Care for Your Mental Health: Quarantine Edition
PHHS '19, University of Florida '23
Let’s face it. 2020 isn’t shaping up to be the year we all hoped for. With CDC guidelines pushing for social distancing, summer hangouts aren’t necessarily going to be easy. If you’re anything like me, there’s just something about not being inside all day that boosts your overall mood and mental health. But, there are other ways to give your mental health a boost. Here are four self-care strategies that I have been doing since quarantine started. These activities have helped me feel lighter and better overall!
1. Deep Cleaning
This is at the top of my list because it covers so many aspects of your life. It’s never too late to do a little spring cleaning. Plus, it’ll help you get rid of some stuff before you start packing for your fall semester. Set a day aside and go through your whole closet start to finish and place all those clothes that you haven’t worn in a while aside. Maybe give some away to friends or donate them when it’s safe to. You’ll be amazed at how many pieces you don’t wear often. Another plus- it will become easier to figure out what exactly to purchase before heading off. Deep cleaning does not only relate to cleaning out your closet either. Take some time to clean up your phone- pictures, apps and deleting chat conversations. It frees up space on your phone and your mind. Think of it as a technological fresh start. By the end of all your cleaning days and hours, you will no doubt feel a sense of control and accomplishment. Deep cleaning will also help boost your mood by taking your mind off of whatever stressors in your life right now.
I know from personal experience with my friends that this form of self-care is truly a hit or miss. My advice, just grab a journal and start writing! It works for everything- simple things like a gratitude list, to deep emotions you have. Remember, it’s okay to not be happy all time and emotions don’t make you any less of a person! Take it easy and write when you feel like it. The important part is to not make it a chore. Each entry does not have to be a profound confession. Just stick with it for a bit and if it is not for you, that’s completely fine.
3. Social Media Cleanse
This is probably one of my favorite things to do if I am being honest. It is no secret that social media seriously harms your mental health. Since everyone is stuck inside, screen time definitely increases and you’re pointlessly scrolling through Instagram or Tiktok. It is a huge time waster and can definitely mess up your sleep schedule. I am no stranger to deleting my apps for indefinite periods of time. It’s quite simple and telling actually. For the first few days, you might find yourself mindlessly clicking the spot where those apps were. After a week, you get used to it not being there. My recommendation is to start small and delete your most used social media apps for a week and move on from there. Right now, I am about a month into this cleanse. Typically, when I do this cleanse I find myself prioritizing myself more and my communication with friends increases.
4. Music, Music & Some More Music
Spotify might just be one of the most used apps on my phone. Blasting music is a form therapy in my personal opinion. The way music allows me to “escape” the real world is truly a blessing and is unmatched. It is perfect for every mood. I recommend making playlists that cater to moods you often find yourself in. Feeling overwhelmed? Play nature sounds. Have a lot of energy? Play throwbacks and rap/sing the lyrics out to your heart’s desire. Journaling? Play some tunes with soft sounds. Deep cleaning? Current Pop hits or little R&B never hurt. If you often skip through songs, maybe take some time to clean your playlist and while you're at it, add some new songs. This is the easiest form of self care from my list. Just open up your favorite music app and listen to music for as long you please. The world of music works on your time and fits your style.
What works for me might not work for you, but I hope this was of some help! Stay safe everyone!