How to ‘Stay Sane’ at HomeBrian Nystrom
Staying at home for long periods of time can make us go stir-crazy. It can also have a negative impact on our mental health if we let it. Not to worry, there are plenty of practices we can easily incorporate into our lives at home that will lend a hand in keeping us ‘sane.’ Keep reading for a few tips that will assist with improving your spirits and mental health while you’re spending much more time in your abode.
Just because you’re ‘stuck’ at home does not mean you’re on house arrest. Go outside! The power of fresh air is often underestimated. When you breathe fresh air, it helps to send oxygen through the blood and allows your lungs to work at full capacity. The effects? Greater brain functioning, which means improved concentration and a sharper mind. Fresh air also strengthens your immune system through increased vitamin D (when the sun’s out) and assists with white blood cell functioning.
There are many ways we can get outside while you’re near your home. Start a garden, go for a walk, do some yard work. A great way to be productive and be outdoors is to pick up the litter in your neighborhood. Walk around with a plastic bag (and gloves) and collect the trash that might be showing now that the snow has melted. Your body and mind will thank you for the sunshine and the environment will be grateful too. This is a great activity to get the kiddos involved with.
Move your body.
While fresh air improves your immunity, so does exercise. Moving your body gets your heart rate up, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. Exercise also increases the production of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that when released, can trigger a positive feeling in the body. That’s why after a workout, you might notice your day is brighter or you feel much better than before. Read more on the benefits of exercise here.
Create a realistic workout routine that you’ll stick to. Try going for a run or a brisk walk. Do some bodyweight exercises, or get the bike out of the garage. Overall, have fun with it! Don’t do an activity that you dread. If you hate running, don’t run. Find a unique workout video or go for a hike instead. Whatever you do, make it your own and something that you enjoy so you look forward to it.
Listen to happy tunes.
Studies have shown that listening to music can not only boost your mood but fend off depression and reduce stress as well. While you’re spending more time at home, make sure you’re mindfully listening to the music that makes you happy. Bonus points for having a dance party while you’re at it. Have the family join in on the fun and pick their favorite songs.
Mindfulness means consciously bringing your attention to the present moment. Practicing mindfulness has been proven to reduce anxiety and teaches us to respond to stress with awareness.
One way to practice mindfulness is through an activity that brings you joy. What gets you so focused on what you’re doing that you lose track of time? It could be journaling, DIY projects, painting, etc. Make time for those activities. Pay attention to how you feel while doing them. Focus on your breathing and make your movements slow and deliberate. Implementing mindfulness while doing your favorite activities will help take your mind off current events and place your focus on the present moment.
Eat a balanced diet.
We all know the saying, ‘you are what you eat’, yet we rarely think of how what we eat impacts our mood and overall health. Especially during stressful times, we tend to gravitate toward unhealthy comfort foods. However, eating in a balanced way will do a much better job at reducing stress and keeping your body healthy long-term. Consuming nutrient-dense foods will also help improve your mood and mental health along the way. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits, veggies, and other whole foods in your meals throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you have to give up eating your favorite dishes, simply consider incorporating moderation and balance into your routine instead.
Connect with a loved one every day.
Now is the perfect time to figure out how to use Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. Carve out even 10 minutes a day to check-in with a family member, co-worker, or friend via a digital outlet of your choosing.
Keeping up with friends and family will help your mental health immensely. It will have the same effect on your loved ones as well. Even something as simple as a hello could mean the world to them.
Here’s a perfect way you can implement one of these tips right now. Send a text saying, “Thinking of you-hope you are staying safe and healthy” to a loved one you haven’t talked with recently. No excuses; send it now!
See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?