1. Stay connected.
Physically distancing does not mean we have to be distanced emotionally or socially. Find creative ways to stay connected to family, friends and coworkers, especially when you feel alone or sense that others might be in need. Ideas to be social while distancing or staying home include:
- Meet up via video conferencing on computers or smartphones. Besides talking and catching up, there are also many fun, entertaining virtual games and activities available.
- Pick up the phone and call loved ones when you think of them.
- Write letters or send cards via email or through the mail. With all the technology available, there is something exciting about receiving a physical letter in the mail.
- Send text messages with funny memes or videos with a note that you are thinking of them.
- Compile a COVID-19 care package and send it to a loved one.
- Make front-porch visits, decorate front doors or draw with sidewalk chalk on a loved one’s driveway or sidewalk.
- Pick your quaran“team” – people who are also limiting social interaction who you can spend time with.
- For tips and guidelines regarding safe holiday gatherings, see:
2. Take care of yourself.
It’s important to take care of yourself all the time, but even more so during stressful times. If you have a “full cup,” you can pour yourself into things like helping and taking care of others, working, managing stress, and dealing with the everyday events of life. The saying, “You cannot pour from an empty cup,” is true, since you can’t give something you don’t have. To fill your cup, find those things that are soothing, relaxing and important to you. Examples of how to engage in self-care include:
- Find mindfulness activities online or on a phone app and try them out. There are many options, from less active to more active and engaging. The important thing is to do what works best for you.
- Take a soothing bath or shower.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in good health throughout your life. Quality sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook. There are many free options available. Check with your local library.
- Start a new hobby such as coloring, painting, exercising, cooking, baking, journaling, drawing, etc. Or return to a hobby you enjoyed in the past.
- Express gratitude to your friends and family with a text message saying what you appreciate about them.
- Write a letter to a loved one and mail it through snail mail. With all the technology available, there is something exciting about receiving a physical letter or note in the mail.
- Practice and cultivate gratitude. Write a gratitude journal of three things you are grateful for each day. Recognizing the little things, such as a surprise phone call or favorite treat, can help your attitude and reduce stress.
- Allow yourself to feel discouraged or to have a meltdown every once in a while. It’s okay.
- Take a break from work and engage in enjoyable, relaxing activities.
- Create a short list of things you can do daily to break up the monotony of at-home routines or feelings of loneliness.
- Try positive self-talk and write down your strengths.
- Take a break with no expectations of yourself.
- Make a list of your goals and hopes for the future.
- Reminisce on your favorite memories and pastimes.
- Plan a fun activity or vacation for the future. Having something to look forward to can go a long way in filling your cup.
3. Remember COVID-19 Safety.
- Wear a mask anytime you are around people you don’t live with. It’s one of the simplest ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Wash hands frequently, especially before eating, when returning home, after using the restroom, before leaving your house and after sneezing, coughing or touching your mouth. The CDC has established that washing hands is the number one best way to reduce the spread of germs and disease. In conjunction with masks, it will help reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.
- Stay home if you feel sick. Even if you don’t have COVID-19, being sick can likely mean you have a suppressed immune system, which could make you more susceptible to COVID-19 if you come in contact with it.
- Maintain a 6-foot space between you and others when outside of your home.
- Limit time in stores and other enclosed locations. Use online shopping and curbside pickup when possible.
4. Build and maintain a healthy immune system.
- Get adequate sleep. Most adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night. Turning off technology at least 30 minutes before bed has shown to improve sleep quality.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods, including 2 ½ – 3 cups of vegetables a day, whole grain foods, fruits and a variety of plant-based proteins. These contain vitamins and minerals that help the systems in the body work together for better health and minimize the risk of inflammation.
- Stay hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water each day.
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day. In addition to the many health benefits, studies show exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage stress and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.