Living in the midst of a quarantine has many challenges. Now, more than ever, we all need to prioritize our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Not being able to leave your home and social distancing can bring to the surface mental health challenges for much of the population and many people are experiencing depression, restlessness, and anxiety. A recent medical study showed that the mental health impact of quarantine causes or exacerbates a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, anger, sleep disturbances, and PTSD.
Additionally, we know that COVID-19 may have health implications for individuals with substance use disorder due to potential damage to respiratory and pulmonary health during substance use and social distancing creates a feeling of isolation. It’s important to stay connected to community through technology and other resources and care for our mental wellness by seeking out resources, information, and community to find ways to prioritize our mental wellbeing.
Ways to Improve Mental Wellbeing During Quarantine
Even though day-to-day life doesn’t feel like it used to, there are several things we can do to care for our mental health every day.
Stick to a Routine: It may be tempting to stay in your sweatpants or pajamas all day but getting up at a regular time and changing into ‘regular’ clothes is important. Resist the urge to let personal hygiene fall by the wayside and avoid sleeping too much, as these can contribute to feelings of depression. By sticking to a regular routine – even if it’s not your ‘normal’ routine – you combat feelings of boredom and apathy.
Take Care of Physical Health: Mental and physical health are intertwined, and what we put into our body affects our mental wellbeing. Eating healthy foods, getting the right amount of sleep, and exercising daily are more important now than ever. While we may be in quarantine there are still many healthy and safe activities we can do.
Looking for a challenge? Register for Herren Project’s 5k Your Way Any Day virtual event April 5th – April 30th. Herren Project, founded by Chris Herren, is a nonprofit organization helping individuals and families find support and recovery services for substance use disorder. Click here to select your day, make a donation, tie up your shoes and hit the road. Run, Walk or Bike!
Limit Screen Time: While it’s important to stay informed, obsessively or continuously watching the news or scrolling through social media is not good for mental health. Selectively access news (including limiting news notifications on your phone) and social media time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Replace screen time with more calming activities like reading, games, going for a walk, or touching base with loved ones.
Help Others: One of the best ways to get out of our own head is to help others. While our choices may be limited during quarantine, there are still plenty of opportunities to contribute to the community and reach out to others who need extra help. Check-in with friends in your recovery circle, make a regular time and day of the week to speak with your sponsor and look for ways to help others in your community. Even keeping in touch regularly with people over the phone or facetime makes a big difference to their feelings of isolation – and yours.
Meditate: Meditation is an invaluable tool during times of stress, uncertainty, and anxiety. Even if you have never meditated before, there are many online meditation resources with guided meditations and other resources to help ground and calm a restless mind. Deepak Chopra and The Well teamed up to host a Global Meditation Event which is available to all.
Reach Out: We are all going through this together, and there are many resources available online to help you understand and address questions and concerns. Herren Project’s Director of Clinical Services, Kristin Young, LICSW, hosted a YouTube event to answer questions and concerns to help ease fears and better manage feelings during this time of uncertainty and change.
Mental Health Check-Ins: Make sure to stay in touch with your friends and loved ones. Arrange to have a regular mental health check-in with a trusted friend via phone, Zoom, or Skype.
Herren Wellness Guest and Alumni Support
We are supporting our guests and our alumni community through this unprecedented time as well. For our guests, we are replacing outside recovery meetings with in-house based recovery activities that include a daily check-in, recovery games, outside activities on our campus, watching recovery movies, and more. Please refer to our online notice regarding COVID-19 for more information.
We are reaching out to our alumni individually to check in and will be providing more information about virtual alumni support services on our website including encouraging alumni to join our private alumni Facebook Group.
If you are a Herren Wellness Alumni or family member and want to get more information about specific alumni services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.