Written by EXPLORE VDG Contributors
Right now nothing seems normal and we are all being overwhelmed with some things that may be hard to process. The stressors of quarantine may affect your wellbeing in a range of ways from anxiety and anger to sleep disturbances, depression, weight gain, and loneliness. There is no pill for coping with a pandemic, so that’s why it’s so important to find time each day to step away and find balance in all aspects of our wellbeing.
Your number one priority is keeping yourself and your family healthy while at home. So follow the recommendation to properly disinfect your spaces at least once a day in order to stay safe and prevent potential infection.
Photo by Kelly Sikkena
Sanitize and Disinfecting Against COVID-19 – Keeping frequently touched surfaces clean is imperative – tables, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and cabinet handles. Sanitizing properly is a multistep process. First, wipe surfaces clean with soap then rinse with water. After the surface is dry apply a sanitizer. Remember, sanitizers require 5-10 minutes of contact time to sufficiently destroy a virus, so let the treated surface remain wet before wiping away. If a product label specifies that it is effective against coronaviruses or noroviruses, then it should also be against COVID-19. On nonporous surfaces alcohol, Bleach, povidone iodine, and Lysol all work against coronavirus.
Wash Your Hands, Don’t just Use Sanitizer – Simple washing is the most effective way to remove any viruses or bacteria from your hands. On its own, sanitizer is not effective against bacteria and viruses on the skin. If applied to dirty hands the sanitizer is absorbed by dirt and dead skin cells and therefore unable to contact any microorganisms on the skin’s surface. After hands are washed and dried, sanitizer may be used to further reduce pathogens or used when there is not any place to adequately wash your hands.
Food – According to the FDA, COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness. As of now, there is no evidence to suggest that it is transmitted by food and the likelihood of the virus spreading from packaging is low. It’s still a good idea to consider sanitizing all the items that you bring into your house or that are delivered to your home.
Washing clothing and bedding – Sanitizers are not effective on fabrics, so washing them in hot water with detergent is the best way to kill any virus on bedding or clothing. Be extremely careful and use gloves if you are in contact with any bedding or clothing used by someone who is positive or suspected to be COVID-positive.
While you’re staying in during this quarantine period, it’s important that you do everything possible to keep and stay healthy. This includes your mind, body and soul. Because you’re going to be stuck at home for prolonged periods of time (it can differ from one state to the next), This is an ideal time to institute some new best practices in your day-to-day routine to move forward healthier and happier.
Photo by Madison Lavern
Improve and Monitor your Mental Health – Take time each day to truly relax your mind. Mental health is as important as your physical health. Try guided deep breathing exercises via YouTube or download an app for meditation like Headspace or Calm. MoodKit and SmilingMind are great apps for journaling your moods and tracking mental health.
Photo by Ben White
Go Outside – Social distancing does not mean “stay indoors the entire time”. Fresh air from the great outdoors will bring peace of mind, ease tension, and curb boredom. Take a walk in the woods, sit in your backyard, hike a trail, or walk around the neighborhood. Most shelter-in-place plans allow for outdoor activities as long as you keep a distance from other people.
Keep Your Usual Routine – Sticking to your normal routine as much as possible will keep your moods lifted, prevent boredom, and help maintain your mental health. So get up, shower, and try to function as if it’s any other day.
Photo by Brooke Lark
Practice Healthy & Mindful Eating – When you are stuck in your home with a stocked fridge and full pantry it’s easy to overeat and constantly snack. While many are stocking up on comfort foods (think chips, cookies, soda, noodles and the like), try to still eat healthy if you can. That’s why it’s very important to practice mindful eating. You need to listen to your body and eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full. A great way to do this is to stop what you are doing (working, Netflix, reading), put away all distractions, and sit down for a meal. This will help you eat intentionally and curb excessive eating for no reason. Remember indulging during stressful times is normal and ok, just try to keep it under control.
Photo by Kate Stone Matheson
Getting enough sleep – During these uncertain times we are all living in, people tend to get more stressed and anxious. Because of this, they might be losing sleep over the loss of job security, not seeing family and friends, being scared of getting COVID-19, etc., which can all make a person worry and lose sleep. But right now, sleep is important since it allows your body to heal and rest. It also boosts your immune system so that you don’t catch a cold or the flu (which are also common right now).
Also make sure that you are drinking enough water to keep your body hydrated. Now that you’re home, you can actually spend the time tracking your water intake so that this healthy habit becomes a practice even after all stay-at-home orders have been lifted.
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson
Nourish Your Soul – Remember to fuel your soul with positivity, gratitude, and things that make you happy. Right now it is easy to focus outward on everything that is happening but try shifting your attention inward on yourself in order to maintain a positive mindset. Laughing, smiling, listening to music, being grateful, and fueling your passions are all simple ways to nurture your spirit.
Just because you’re supposed to stay at home while social distancing to flatten the curve doesn’t mean you should sit on the couch, watching everything on Netflix. Sure, that’s totally acceptable, but make sure you take some time to get in some sort of physical activity. Taking a walk around your neighborhood each day is the perfect way to stay active and get in some much needed Vitamin D at the same time. A walk will help you clear your head and is safe when you’re social distancing.
Photo by Jonathan Borba
If you’re normally an active person who hits the gym regularly, you can easily incorporate at-home workouts into your daily routine even though all the gyms are closed. Now’s the time to dust off those old exercise equipment that’s been hidden in your closet for so long or has been gathering dust somewhere in the corner. If you don’t have any exercise equipment, there are tons of free bodyweight workouts online to follow. Many programs are actually offering free classes given the recent situation we are all in. You can also hop on your bike and head out for a short ride or finally start training for that 5K that’s on your bucket list.
Staying active isn’t just good for your body, but also your mind and soul. You’ll find that you’re more relaxed after a quick sweat session! And if you’re lonely, you can always have a friend hop on a Zoom call with you as you both workout to the same program, video or app!
Photo by Alexander Dummer
We are in this together and staying in contact with loved ones is more important than ever during self-quarantine. Research has shown that there is great significance in staying connected during pandemics. Physical distancing should not be confused with social isolation. Take time each day to maintain social ties with other people via FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. Many companies around the globe are sharing a virtual toast during online happy hours with their employees. Friends are having virtual movie and coffee dates, and teachers are providing online and virtual lessons for students. Maybe its time to reacquaint yourself with old-school letter writing or call your long-lost cousin or friend from college.
Photo by @mylifejournal.co
The great thing about experiencing social distancing and stay-at-home orders right now is that we have tons of technology to get us through it. Although you might feel lonely at home, you can always FaceTime a friend, hop on Facebook Messenger video chat, create a Zoom meeting for your entire family to gather on or simply do some FB or IG Lives to interact with people.
Planning activities while social distancing isn’t very hard to do and the learning curve is quite easy for even the most technology challenged person. You can host a book club, have a viewing party on Facebook and so much more so that you don’t feel completely alone while you are social distancing. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with family and friends during this difficult time, allowing you to connect with the rest of the world from your living room. You can also start to plan a huge outing for your friends and family for when this is all over, so that you have something to look forward to.
Have you ever told yourself if you just had more time than you would complete that task or do that thing you always wanted to do? Well, now is the time – just do it! If you are not overwhelmed with caring for kids or working from home then use this opportunity to keep your mind busy and growing from the comfort of your home. Take up a new hobby, learn something new or do something you’ve always wanted, whatever it is – now is the time.
Photo by Becca Tapert
Cook – Right now you are probably cooking more than usual, so why not ask friends for favorite recipes, cook new things, or take a virtual cooking demos. The “Quarantine Collective” is an Instagram account created as an outlet for chefs, culinary professionals, sommeliers, and home cooks to share recipes and cooking tips.
Read – Tackle that “must-read list” or that pile of books sitting next to your bed that you swear you are going to read. Heck, just finish that book you started on vacation and have not had the time to finish yet.
Photo by Wes Hicks
Take an online class – Now could be your chance to take Ivy League classes. All 8 of the prestigious schools that make up the Ivy League – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, and University of Pennsylvania are offering online classes to the public for free during coronavirus quarantine.
Watch a documentary – What an easy, relaxing, and entertaining way to learn something new. There is an entire category on Netflix dedicated to documentaries. Some of the most popular right now are Tiger King, The Pharmacist, American Factory, 100 Humans, Three Identical Strangers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Jane.
Journal or write a short essay – How many blank journals or notebooks do you have lying around, just waiting to be filled? Quarantine time is perfect to finally write a poem about how you are feeling, pen a letter to that old friend, or even tell the story you’ve had floating in your mind for the last year.
Ponder a Poem – Isolation got you down? Believe it or not, there are many poems that can help you appreciate and celebrate solitude. Poets like Wordsworth, Pope, Keats, Larkin, and Dickinson will help you to reflect, observe, and see the things that we often overlook.
Find ways to help others – Helping other people during this time is another great way to lift your spirit. Call and check in on those you know are alone, greet neighbors from your window, or send an uplifting card.
Spring clean/Declutter – Being at home gives you the opportunity to face all your stuff and take action to clean, donate, organize, and declutter to create a happier, more productive living space.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters
Knowledge is power, yet it’s important to keep in mind it can also increase feelings of fear and anxiety. That’s why it is crucial to be mindful of the amount of information you take in and the sources from which you receive it.
Manage fear by understanding COVID-19- What the disease is, how it spreads, the symptoms, the risks, diagnosis, treatment, and why social social-distancing is important.
Ensure you are obtaining information form an accurate and credible source
Monitor news and advice from experts/authorities (WHO, CDC, Coronavirus.gov, local updates). Avoid news sources that are unregulated and try to rely on depoliticized ones.
Manage your exposure to media coverage
Use social media wisely, take breaks from the news, phone, and TV. Maybe choose to turn off breaking news notifications and alerts or set clear limits of how often you check the news – once a day or perhaps once a week. For some people, it may be better to just read instead of watching the news on TV and seeing traumatizing images.
Note: If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Photo by Tim Mussholder
Everyone is hurting right now – from big corporations to small, local businesses (which need the most help). Right now is the time to shop local and support local businesses so that they’re around once we get back to our regular lives. There are a number of ways to support local businesses, including:
Like many other places around the world, businesses in Valle de Guadalupe are closing to help ensure the safety of visitors, employees, and the community. Here are some links to help you support the local businesses and the people behind them during the quarantine.
> How To Support Businesses
> Restaurants Offering Home Delivery / Pick Up
> Wineries Offering Home Delivery / Pick Up
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