The COVID-19 pandemic has been a struggle for us all, keeping us isolated and cooped up in our homes for months on end. Part of the struggle is maintaining our mental health as we wait for the pandemic to end. If you’ve found yourself in a rough spot over the last year, allow us to suggest some activities that will improve your mental health and help you hold out until life returns to normal.
Get Your Body Moving
You don’t have to jump right into a hardcore routine, but exercise helps you improve your mental health by increasing your blood flow, which makes you feel more energized. This can be as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood; as long as you’re breaking the sedentary habits you might have formed during quarantine, you’ll feel less sluggish and more motivated throughout the day. Other activities such as yoga give you the opportunity for meditation and self-reflection while making your body more flexible.
Deep Clean Your Home
This may not seem like much fun and could be difficult to get started, but we promise that it is one of the best activities that will improve your mental health. Your environment has a large influence on your mental health in that it directly impacts your physical comfort and your emotional state. So, a filthy, disorderly, and dark environment will negatively impact your mental health by making you feel uncomfortable and depressed by what a mess you’re in. Taking the time to keep your environment clean and adequately lit will make your home a welcoming place that you’ll want to spend time in.
Take Up a New Hobby
Maybe you’re just tired of doing the same thing day after day. Your routine has started making the days blend together and has altered your perception of time. If you’ve ever considered picking up a new hobby, even if it’s just a passing interest, now is the time to give it a try. Even if you decide you don’t like it, at least you’ve done something different and broken up your daily routine.
Cook Yourself Something
Take the time to cook yourself a good meal, especially if you’ve found yourself eating a lot of takeout and fast food during the quarantine simply for the sake of convenience. How we fuel our bodies can impact our emotional state, and eating nothing but processed or fast food can leave us feeling ill and apathetic because these dishes are simply not nutritional don’t provide much energy. Cooking yourself a good meal will leave you satisfied and feeling a bit healthier afterward.
The light is finally at the end of the tunnel, and while waiting for the end can be even harder now that we can see the light, you should still take advantage of these activities to keep yourself preoccupied and improve your mental health. Normal life will begin again soon; we just need to weather the storm until then.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
This guest post was submitted by Luke Zitterkopf from Parent Richly. You can view the original article here.
I like to visit with people everywhere I go. I am found at only the coolest hangouts. The grocery store, Target, and around our neighborhood. I sincerely enjoy visiting with people, oftentimes for selfish reasons because I don’t get the healthy amount of time to socialize that most adults take for granted.
Once I became a stay at home dad I was able to fully appreciate the value in a plain old no computer and no phone type of interaction with another human being. Or maybe the Covid-19 event has already given us an appreciation for visiting in person. Either way I value the time people spend talking with me.
Anymore it is hard to have a no phone conversation with adults. Phones are difficult for many people to ignore even for a few minute conversation. Sure, I would like folks to have better manners and at least put their phone on silent, but hey, what if the hospital is calling and you need to go perform an emergency operation right away! I poke fun at the issue but seriously too many of us are missing out on actually listening to what other people are saying while being prepared for the ever important call or notification.
In my view there is a great risk of losing the art of the in person conversation. Partly due to phones but partly because we are forgetting to live in the moment and value what is going on in the present. If we cannot place a greater emphasis on listening to each other in person, what more important things can there be for us to do? Go back to our work or checking social media? Would we rather read someone’s post on Facebook than visit with them in person? Food for thought. One day I will be the gray haired guy at the family event telling all the kids about back when people used to talk to each other using just their voices. It was an amazing time!
How Does This Relate to Covid 19 and Homeschool?
Since late March I have had many conversations with people who see us out around town with our three kids. They cannot help themselves to ask one of the kids “Do you miss being in school?” The reactions from all three of our kids are priceless because they are being asked something akin to “Do you miss traveling in outer space?”
Our kids have a big smile and they laugh a little bit. They do answer the question and say “We don’t go to school. We do homeschool.” I suppose our kids should develop a more complete answer and maybe keep the laughter to a minimum. Maybe they should provide more information such as the historical context of their homeschooling resume from day one. They learn at home and in the real world. But that would be a crazy thing to do, wouldn’t it?
I am sincerely interested in other people’s lives. When people ask the kids and I about homeschool I take the question seriously. I let the kids give their own answer but I make an effort to fill in the blanks when a person is really wanting to know more. I want to not only answer their question but I want to help them realize that homeschool is something any parent can provide if they choose to.
It is challenging to give a complete yet concise answer about choosing homeschool. There is no short answer to questions about homeschool. So many factors will influence what homeschool looks like for a parent and their child. Is Covid 19 and the schools being closed or converted to online a good reason to start homeschooling? Not necessarily. But they are a starting point to realizing that there is probably a better way.
There is a better way for many parents with homeschool but I advise every parent to know up front that homeschool is a big commitment of their time. It is also a big lifestyle change for a parent to be at home full time, and kids will need time to make the transition mentally and socially to a homeschool life. It can be a big change for the positive but it takes time for all the dust to settle.
One of the benefits of living the homeschool life is that I have a great answer for the often asked question of what homeschool is all about. This way my answer sounds as though it is narrated by Morgan Freeman. So rich, so masterful. Well maybe I don’t sound that good but maybe I am still a voice for sanity and a beacon of hope for those wanting to leave the public school system. Those wanting to live a better family life that is free of kids living within the confines of the public education system. A system of mass education. Sounds kind of sinister. And it is!
Be free and live a richer life where the learning is made for the child and not the child made to fit the learning.
I Don’t Know Much But I Know About Homeschool
I am honored every time someone wants to visit with me and as a result they hear my story. And thank you as well for reading about my story here. Before I answer the question about homeschool I like to give a short bio. It adds greater context to my answers.
My bio looks like this. Christian. Father of three kids. Homeschool facilitator.* Stay at Home Dad. Husband. Tennis Coach. Fairly bad tennis player. *note the use of the word facilitator. I have an aversion to the word teacher. More on that in a later post.
As far as the title of this post, here’s the number one question I field from the Covid 19 school closures. This is where every parent needs to know they hold the power to determine what learning and “school” will involve. If you have been considering homeschool and want a little motivation to move forward with it, this post is just what you need to hear!
#1 Most Asked Question During Covid 19 School Closures –“How are you guys doing with the school closures?”
Shocking question, right! I feel the best answer to this question starts at the beginning and works forward with additional details. So it begins with a statement. It goes like this. “We are doing great because we don’t go to any schools.” Once the initial shock of my answer wears down a bit I continue the dialogue.
Not that people are shocked negatively but they are more in a state of surprise, and in some cases jealousy! The good kind of jealousy. As they think about the bullsh—t that is often part of most public school environments. They want to get out and who can blame them! But let us not digress, back to answering the school closures and how do we live without the public schools question.
Once I let the cat out of the bag that we are not part of the school system people are often paying close attention to any details I present. Curiosity is peaked and there is a fair enough question in most people’s minds. They wonder, rightfully so, two big questions.
“How do you do homeschool?”
and most people’s common fear of
“Do you have to report to the state what you are doing?”
Before answering either question I start the conversation with an overall context as to what our lives are all about as a family placing no emphasis on the aspect of what school our kids attend. This is an important part for setting the stage for why we are homeschool by default.
Most important is we are Christian and that has the most influence for why or why not we make certain choices. We are blessed to have children and it is our responsibility to raise them in a way that honors God. As such, we have the liberty and freedom to give the biblical perspective of truth in everything our kids learn. They are shown that not all information is true. And not all intentions are good. This sounds a bit dark but in reality our jobs as parents is to equip our kids in preparation for them being on their own. And that means they must be able to think for themselves.
An essential part to good thinking is sorting out what is true and what is an opinion.
With biblical perspective to our learning at home we have our kids practice seeing all information from the lens of truth and morality as defined by God. This reality is the short answer of why we homeschool. A longer list of reasons why are covered in posts tagged homeschool.
Nearly every person I meet is intrigued that our family is homeschooling. I can understand why it may seem fascinating to the casual observer. It is different. It is a big commitment. It often requires a stay at home dad or mom. For all of these reasons I feel it is critical to start with the why and then progress to the how.
More information about the why part of my answer I often describe our daily lives in terms of living in a balanced way. This is important to our family and to provide a rich life for our kids.
We start the morning with all three of our kids having breakfast together and deciding what activities to do first. And I am not talking about the “activities” of doing worksheets for hours at a time in a classroom. Activities at our house include reading a book of their choice, painting, playing outside, working on math puzzles or going to tennis practice. Other times our activity is making a grocery trip to Costco. We almost live at Costco with our frequent visits to buy food for our family of five.
A more complete answer to “How are you guys doing with the school closures” involves painting the picture of our kids’ living a balanced life where the learning takes place in a natural way to the student. This is a totally different approach than the forced feeding style of a public “education” system.
Our family lives each day in the real world and we learn with every opportunity that is part of our day. We do not have a separation of life that would include going to a school building to “learn.” We live and thereby we learn. The real life application of any form of knowledge is natural and obvious. There is not a time when any of the kids or myself are wondering why we are learning something new. We learn because our brains are naturally hungering for information and we want to make better sense of the world around us.
The approach to a child learning naturally is in direct opposition to that of a public education system. For our kids and family the learning is part of living. We do not have a separate time for learning and there is no separate time for learning. Life is our learning laboratory.
We have the freedom to choose learning materials that are best suited to each of our children’s needs. If you have not already encountered the term, the public education system uses the term curriculum for learning materials and areas of study. It sounds more academic using the term curriculum. As though a group of the world’s best minds are all sitting in a room debating about the newest and best curriculum. Funny, in the old days it was called studying and learning when the opportunities for learning presented themselves. Which happens to be every day, even to this present day!
When people discover you are doing homeschool they will often ask about what curriculum you are using. If you are familiar with the movie The Matrix you can think of curriculum as a pleasant state of ignorance blue pill. I recommend you take the red pill. Though it may be initially unpleasant you and your child can see learning as it ACTUALLY IS versus a place to send your child for most of their young lives. For our family, the thought of the state spending more time with our kids than we do AND being the primary source for presenting are reinforcing most of what they learn is chilling.
I personally feel the term curriculum is synonymous with programming material. As in, program everyone the same way. Sinister much! Maybe I am too sensitive but I take this issue very seriously. Every child deserves better and more personalized care than mass programming. But hey, if it’s good enough for the state it should be good enough for your kids, right? Of course not and we all know better. But making the switch from public school to homeschool is nonetheless a little intimidating. At least until you see there is nothing but freedom on the other side. The freedom comes at the cost of your time and considerate choices for your child’s learning opportunities. But you are truly free. Free from the directives of what other people insist is best for your child. How ludicrous a concept, yet the public education system is big and they will not be going away without a big fight. They are too big to fail. So we can do our part and not send our kids there!
Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Math sheets with all the basics, reading comprehension pages with questions about the text, short stories, science principles and experiments, geography and the list goes to infinity. Anything we want to practice and learn. We move on when the child is proficient. Which leads back to the question of reporting back to the state. For some of us, including me, we think of Darth Vader strolling around the bridge of the Death Star.
Each state has different laws and requirements. In our state of WA, we must declare with our local public school district that we will be homeschooling our child. After that letter is sent to the local district, that state of WA will mail a test for our child to complete and we mail it back to the state. That’s it. Check with your state to determine your requirements to be in legal compliance with doing homeschool. After that you are officially free to provide a learning environment for your children. You have the privilege to provide learning that is integrated into everyday life. And you have the essential room needed to fit the learning in ways that best meets the unique needs of your child.
The commentary I usually provide for “how do you homeschool” is to make the clear distinction between homeschool and public school. When done well homeschool is kryptonite to public school. A brief list of versus attributes:
Class based on age
No class, individual learning at own pace
Learning material, AKA curriculum, chosen by the Department of Education
Learning material chosen by student in conjunction with parent
Student is fed information
Student feeds themselves information
Student is asked to recite information
Student is asked to apply the information
Student receives grades for homework
No such thing as homework, all work is at home
Grade is received at the end of class or year
Student is asked to correct their work until it is correct
Grades are given on a curve from the student population
Assessment of the student’s work is based upon their best effort and completeness of answers
A failing grade means repeating the class/material
The student stays with the material until they understand
Exact amounts of time per day are applied to studying mandatory curriculum
Proportionate time is used for the student to learn the material and move on
For a more complete study please see the book by Mary Pride, School Proof. It is not only insightful but it is written with bright humor throughout. A must read for those wanting a guide to what homeschooling means.
My work with homeschool has proven to me and our family how it can be used to meet the needs of a student better than any group educational system or school. One of the best ways to convey the message for any of us, including myself that does not have a homeschool background is to think about learning a new language.
We can read books about German, listen to an instructor talk about German dialect and composition best practices, and take tests to see what we can remember about the subject. This would be comparable to taking a class at a school.
To put the same goal of learning German in the homeschool approach, one choice would be to install the Babel app on a phone or computer and practice the language with an interactive program. The next step would be to locate a native or fluent German speaking person in your community and ask if they would be willing to speak with the student for one hour per week. Hopefully this person would be willing to accept free lunch for their work. If not, Babel allows for practice speaking but a real live person would be more fun. An additional step would be to watch YouTube and listen to a guide that is providing tours through Germany while speaking in German. The student can go from learning the very basics all the way to practicing fluency.
All of this without a school, class, formal “teacher”, or grades. Homeschool should probably apply for an official name change in the dictionary to Home Based Learning. Wait, that’s a bit too fancy, too academic. Maybe we should just call it Learning.
Did this post encourage you or help with homeschool ideas? Please let us know! Leave a comment below.
Luke Zitterkopf is a writer and parent coach. He lives in the Pacific Northwest in Spokane Valley, WA. Luke provides insight and coaching on homeschooling, parenting, and individual personal development. When he is not writing or responding to audience questions he spends time coaching youth tennis. Luke responds to as many messages and emails as time allows and he believes that the only dumb question is the one that is never asked. Website: www.parentrichly.com Pinterest:@Luke_Zitterkopf Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/parent.richly.9
The novel coronavirus has a long list of terrifying effects that can lead to stress and anxiety. Though the coronavirus is a physical disease, it has quite a detrimental impact on our mental health as well, and unfortunately, not many people are talking about this. COVID anxiety is becoming a real and dangerous problem.
However, if we are going to take care of our mental health, we need to know why it is difficult to control our anxiety and stress during the pandemic, and I hope reading the rest of this post helps you out.
COVID-19 is a new virus that we haven’t seen before, and that means that there are many uncertainties surrounding it. The virus is behaving quite weirdly, and it is difficult to understand who is safe.
For instance, experts believe that older people are more at risk from the virus, but there are several cases where young people have succumbed to it. In contrast, people in their nineties with underlying conditions have survived.
Similarly, experts say that if you recover from the virus, your body develops immunity against it, but several people have contracted the virus more than once.
Therefore, this medical uncertainty is one of the major reasons it can be difficult to manage COVID anxiety.
The coronavirus has caused a lot of financial problems as well. People are losing their jobs, and companies are going bankrupt, and this has created a very financially stressful situation.
People who can’t work because of the pandemic are uncertain when the lockdown is going to end, and they will be able to resume their work. People working online don’t know if they will have a job next month, and people who own businesses are uncertain whether their business will survive.
This financial uncertainty is another reason for lingering COVID anxiety.
In normal situations, watching the news and staying updated is a good habit. However, during this pandemic, looking at the ever-worsening statistics does nothing but increase your stress.
Therefore, you shouldn’t keep up with how many cases are reported every day and how many people are dying. You should do your part to stop the spread of the virus, and after that, there isn’t much that you can do, so what’s the point of worrying yourself about the virus.
Humans are generally afraid of change, and saying that the coronavirus has changed the way we live is an understatement. From distance learning to online jobs and the continuously changing safety guidelines, things are changing too fast because of the pandemic, and it is making it difficult for us to deal with stress and anxiety.
Ever since the pandemic started, our lives have been lacking some much-needed structure. We don’t have a schedule or routines, and this has a very negative impact on our mental health. Without a healthy routine, dealing with anxiety also becomes very challenging.
Therefore, even though you don’t have to go to work, you should create a healthy routine for yourself and follow it. This can help ease symptoms of COVID anxiety.
A Lack of Leadership
In a situation, like we are in now, the general public looks towards its elected officials and medical experts for guidance and leadership. However, with the nature of the virus, even our leaders are unable to provide us with steady support.
Medical experts are learning about the virus, and their statements are continuously changing. This lack of leadership from the people we look towards is another reason why dealing with COVID anxiety is so difficult.
Inability to Seek Support
Since we have to stay in our homes, for the most part, seeing support for anxiety and other mental issues has become quite difficult. People can’t go to support groups, getting therapist appointments is difficult, and above that, we can’t even hang out with our friends without risking getting infected.
Therefore, it is very challenging to deal with COVID anxiety, as there is a lack of emotional support. You should try to build a better bond with your family members and talk to them for emotional support.
2020 has been a very challenging year, and as it reaches its end, we are starting to see some slivers of hope. Though the pandemic isn’t over for now, and it will affect next year as well, knowing that we have battled through a year of it makes us more confident that we can handle it a little longer until the vaccine starts to be used. Just keep your anxiety in check by following the tips mentioned in this post, and hopefully, this pandemic will be over soon.
Josh Lees is a final year psychology student. He is a passionate writer and loves to research about mental and physical health. He has published many articles regarding different mental conditions. To find out more about his journey head over to https://kootenaybotanicals.com/.
How have the last few months been treating you in terms of work-life balance? Have you been feeling stressed, losing sleep, and struggling to draw the line between work and home time due to the mandatory work from home and Shelter-In-Place orders? Sister, you’re not alone.
I’m here to tell you that although work is important and productivity is a must, you don’t have to be productive 100% of the time while you work at home. It’s important to remember that while we are working from home we are still working in a crisis. Practicing self-care and mindfulness are vital for getting through this difficult time and it’s okay to rely on others for figuring out how to adapt to this “new normal”.
That being said, as many Shelter-In-Place orders extend and businesses’ budgets tighten, many companies are offering permanent work from home positions for their employees. While some may enjoy working from home or not, everyone’s situation is different. Whether you are deciding to venture back into the office or hunker down at home for a while longer it’s important to approach this transition delicately and with your own mental wellness in mind.
To aid in this transition, I’ve rounded up a few wellness strategies from professional “zen artists” who understand the importance of adding wellness to your workspace and work routine. These professionals include organizational experts, wellness architects (yes, that’s a thing), naturopathists and holistic coaches. With these simple strategies in mind, you can take ownership back over your current or future work set-up and ensure your mental and physical health isn’t being side-stepped. Keep reading for wellness strategies to incorporate into your workspace.
Optimize Your Space for Comfort
While your home or office may not be equipped with ergonomic furniture, that doesn’t mean you have to suffice with an uncomfortable workspace. Ask your employer if you can take office furniture home or “check-out” devices for optimal use at home. While not everyone works the same way, M Moser Associates, Global Design and Architecture Firm, offered a few best practices on this topic. They said, “To create a comfortable and positive work from home space, people need to feel empowered to discover aspects that create comfort and enhance mood and performance in their own homes.”
They also recommended creating a minimum of three high-performance work environments. This, they say has proven to support a range of benefits including “boosting motivation through freedom of choice, creating mood-enhancing playfulness, stimulating the brain through micro-movements, and providing head space for new ways of thinking.”
Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Routine
The next step to incorporating wellness into your workspace is by adding mindfulness into your routine. This can be done by setting strategic intentions before, during, and after your workday. Shawn Johal, Entrepreneur & Business Growth Coach at Elevation Coaching emphasized the importance of taking mindfulness breaks as you may feel that working from home means staring at your computer and phone screens more often. He says to “take purposeful breaks for mindful moments away from the screen. Breathe, meditate, and take a 5-minute walk outside every hour. Your mental health will be in better shape, your family will see you as calmer, and your work will be accomplished with more success.”
Communicate Boundaries and Set Standards in Your Work Place
As millions of employees headed home at the start of the pandemic so did millions of students and family members. You are most likely experiencing challenges you never thought you would and are being asked to set unfamiliar boundaries with family members and roommates.
To remedy this, business expert Shawn Johal also said to create boundaries for work time. He said to “communicate to your loved ones how your day is scheduled – maybe even give them a copy of your schedule.” This will give you more time to spend with them and you can incorporate walks, breaks, and meals to be spent together.
Level-Up Self-Care and Level-Down Self Destruction
There are many ways to prioritize self-care during quarantine and it seems like that’s all anyone is talking about. However what is less commonly discussed, but just as important is practicing self-care at work. While we commonly associate lighting candles and using essential oils for times of relaxation, their use can have many impacts on improving your workspace and make it more enjoyable.
Naturopathic Milana Perepyolkina recommends incorporating essential oils into your work routine due to its relaxing benefits for the body and mind. Incorporate lavender to relax the mind, bergamot to lift your mood and peppermint to increase energy and mental activity. Whatever self-care activities you incorporate into your work routine, use mantras to limit negative self-talk and spirals of anxiety that can so easily entrap us during the workday.
I hope this piece has inspired you to add some moments of wellness to your work routine and encouraged you to prioritize your mental health during the turbulent time. For more inspiration and ideas on adding wellness to your workspace check out the infographic below with strategies to “zen” your workspace.
Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.
Etsy is a way to support small business owners during the pandemic.
With the coronavirus global pandemic closing the doors of many businesses, which ones will suffer the most? The larger, corporate companies may make it through this with minimal impact, but the small business owners are at the biggest risk of losing it all. Etsy is made up of independent sellers and small business owners from around the world, and they also offer the largest collection of unique and handmade items. Purchasing one of these Etsy finds is the easiest and most fun way to #StandwithSmall.
Consider joining the #StandwithSmall movement and check out some of these useful Etsy finds.
Etsy Finds For Your Self Care Routine
Stuck at home during quarantine? What better time to catch up on self care. These Etsy finds make it easy to focus on you. Put in the effort during quarantine and come out of the pandemic glowing and refreshed!
A Customized Self Care Box. Each purchase is curated based on your specific needs and includes things like organic teas, natural beauty products, herbs and even healing crystals.
Hair Growth Products. Spend your self isolation growing out long, luscious locks. Since you’ve got some time off from constant styling, now is the perfect time to focus on hair health.
A Dry Brushing Set. Dry brushing is a technique that helps exfoliate the skin as well as massage the lymphatic system for better physical and mental health. This set comes complete with a brush and oil, perfect for your daily self care ritual.
A Relaxing Hammock. Hang it outside or in and it’s sure to become your favorite place to sit and relax. Use it while meditating, watching the kids play or while reading a good book.
Etsy Finds For Your Home Office
As a blogger, I’m used to working at home, but not everyone else is. It can take some adjustments to find the right home office space. Whether you need some privacy for conference calls or are struggling to make a homeschooling schedule, these Etsy finds might be able to help.
Work From Home Door Signs.What’s worse than having your kids run into the room while you’re on a video call? Or having to put someone on hold to answer the doorbell? These customizable wood door signs might be just what you need.
A Honeycomb Shaped Pen Holder. Can’t keep track of all your office supplies? This 3D printed honeycomb desk organizer has room for all the various supplies you need for homeschooling or working from home.
A Central Command Center. You might think there’s less to write on your calendar these days. But you can use this calendar to keep track of your homeschooling assignments, work meetings or conference calls, social phone calls and meal planning so you can limit your shopping trips.
Etsy Finds For Reading and Writing
Reading and writing are important things we should do everyday while stuck inside the house. Quarantine is a good time to finally finish your favorite book. And everyone should be keeping a journal of this historical pandemic so that we never, ever forget.
A Leather Bookmark. Etsy actually has a huge assortment of bookmarks. Many people have made the switch to online or electronic reading, but nothing beats curling up with a good book and a fancy bookmark.
An Old World Style Journal. I think this leather journal is just perfect for detailing all your pandemic chronicles. Imagine being able to pass this down to your kids or grandchildren one day? There’s something romantic and adventurous about living through this historical time period.
A Calligraphy Kit.Learning a new skill is great for our mental health and will keep you distracted while bored at home. Calligraphy is all the rage right now, despite it’s ancient background.
Etsy Finds For Organizing Your Kitchen
It’s not uncommon for those in quarantine to spend a lot more time in the kitchen. Whether you’re expanding your cooking skills, cleaning and decluttering or baking bread, these Etsy finds are sure to help out!
A Spice Rack and Jars.This rustic, reclaimed wood spice rack comes with matching glass jars so you can keep all your spices at hand and on display while you try out those new recipes.
Pantry Labels.While you’re busy organizing your pantry, get a set of matching labels to give it a professional look. And hopefully, your pantry will stay clean after quarantine is over.
Beeswax Food Wraps.If you’ve been meaning to start eliminating disposable plastic in your kitchen, quarantine is the right time to start. It’s healthier for you and for the environment, plus it will save you money and is one less thing you need to stock up on.
Etsy Finds To Keep You Busy
Etsy is one of the best places to find arts and craft supplies, as well as handmade items. Whether you want to start crafting, are looking for ways to incorporate art therapy into your life, or just need to restock some of your supplies, consider supporting a small business on Etsy.
A DIY Organic Soap Kit.Make your own soap at home, and don’t worry about the stores being out of stock. You can make handwashing more enjoyable with beautiful organic, hand made soaps. Or craft them as a gift for a healthcare or front line worker in your life.
A Weaving Loom Kit. Weaving, knitting, crochet, macrame… any of these crafts are great for your fine motor skills and offer a distraction from anxious thoughts. Try utilizing one of these crafts while meditating!
An Embroidery Kit. Make an adorable little critter with these embroidery starter kit. Another way to keep busy and learn a new skill.
Etsy Finds For Your Windows
Have you heard of the Hearts in the Window movement? People everywhere are decorating their windows to brighten their neighborhoods and send messages of hope. Etsy is a great place to find unique and beautiful decorations for your window so that you can spread joy in your own community.
A Heart Suncatcher. This stained glass art piece resembles a dream catcher mobile and would look stunning displayed in your sunniest window!
A Rainbow Heart. I also love this colorful geometric heart. I’m sure when the sun comes through this stained glass heart, the entire house is filled with a flurry of color! This seller also makes them in other styles, including gorgeous mandala designs.
Window Clings.Another great option to decorate your windows is by using decals and clings. These simply stick onto your window and also reflect light through them for a rainbow effect when the sun shines through. Bonus – they work to deter birds from flying into your windows!
And finally, if you absolutely must leave the house during the pandemic, make sure you’re equipped with a proper face mask.
Face Mask with filter pocket. Several Etsy shops have started making and selling face masks to keep up with the growing demand. You can find some that are made of organic cotton, have a filter pocket, or with different designs and ear straps, which tend to make wearing them more comfortable. (But keep in mind that nothing sold on Etsy is considered medical-grade.)
These Etsy finds are just a few suggestions of the millions of products you can get to make your quarantine more enjoyable. And by making a purchase on Etsy, you can rest assured that you’re supporting a struggling independent seller or small business owner through this time of financial uncertainty. For postpartum depression printables, don’t forget to check out our own Etsy shop @RuninTrianglesBlog.
Anyone who isn’t currently practicing social distancing is putting others at risk.
With the COVID-19 Coronavirus on the loose, many people are retreating to their homes and avoiding large groups, i.e. social distancing. Not all are finding this is easy, with the Millennials and Gen Z’s getting most of the blame. Whether you’re currently serving a 14 day self isolation, or you’re still working and living life, you’ve likely noticed an increased level of boredom. Most places are closed, events are cancelled, and even hanging out with friends is frowned upon. So what are you supposed to do during this quarantine?
Well, my friends, it sounds like the perfect time to practice self care!
Pamper Your Body
With the added amount of stress due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, your body is likely in less than optimal health. Social distancing provides us with an unlimited amount of time for self care without feeling guilty. We don’t have to sacrifice time for self care because we suddenly have an abundance of it. (Besides, with all the frequent hand washing and cleaning, I’m sure we could all use a little extra pampering.)
1. Soak in the bathtub with a bath bomb or Epsom salts.
The media coverage on the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has us all stressing out. All of the stress and anxiety is bound to have a detrimental effect on our mental health. Plus, having to stay isolated can exacerbate those symptoms. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to use this time of self isolation and social distancing to work on improving our mood and mental health.
Self care should never be all work and no play. In fact, laughter is a great mood booster and we should find all kinds of ways to laugh and be playful, even while social distancing.
26. Play a video game or app.
27. Play a board game.
28. Work on a large puzzle.
29. Doodle a mandala.
30. Watch your favorite movies.
31. Laugh along with some stand up comedy or a funny movie.
Keep in Touch
We often think of self care as being alone but taking care of ourselves means doing good things for others, spending time with those we love and sharing pieces of who we are. This might seem hard to do while practicing social distancing, but there are still ways to keep in touch with others.
We need to spend as much time outside as possible while social distancing. Of course it’s important to stay away from crowds and limit our interactions as much as possible, but accessing fresh air is so important for our bodies both physically and mentally.
Decluttering is a form of self care because it’s something that we tend to put off doing. Then the clutter sits there, reminding us of our failures and causing undue stress. Use this time at home to deep clean, declutter and minimize possessions.
63. Go through all your old electronics, DVD’s, CD’s, cables, etc.
Tap into your Artistic Side
Art therapy is a super important way to practice self care while social distancing. Being creative means using our brains as well as developing hand eye coordination. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artistic person, you might be surprised with what you can come up with.
Use this opportunity to learn something. Learning is a way to improve our brain health. Plus it offers a distraction from anxiety and loneliness and can boost our self esteem. As adults, we often refrain from learning new things, or we start them but never seem them through. Learning a new skill or hobby is truly making the most of social distancing.
76. Take an online class.
77. Watch YouTube tutorial videos.
78. Read an instructional book.
79. Watch a documentary.
80. Find a new way to utilize something you don’t use anymore.
Exercise is one of the most important parts of self care. There’s no excuses while locked up at home with nothing to do. If your local gym is closed, check to see if they’re offering online workout videos instead. And don’t worry if you don’t have a home gym, there are so many different ways to stay physically active at home.
The world looks a little scary right now. Try to focus on the positive aspects instead. We are living in a moment of history, so document it. Take photos, write about it and enjoy every single moment. Use your time wisely and continue to have hope for the future. When this is all over, will you come out of it a better person?
96. Take at least one photo each day.
97. Cuddle with your spouse, kids, pet or even a stuffed animal.
Those who have recently traveled, have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who are sick are putting themselves into self isolation. This basically means to quarantine yourself within your home for two weeks. And further more, social distancing has us all keeping away from friends and public places. With all of this isolation and anxiety, how does a person avoid actually feeling isolated? For moms with mental health issues, isolation can actually make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse, so it’s important to have some ways to manage the loneliness.
During self isolation, try some of these tips to avoid feeling lonely.
Most people, especially moms, will not actually be alone during their self isolation or social distancing. Spouses and children will likely be in isolation with them. It’s hard to say whether this makes it better or worse for a woman with postpartum depression or anxiety. Having the family around 24/7 might become overwhelming very quickly.
While it’s great to embrace this gift of family time, make sure that each person is also getting enough alone time to themselves each day. This could be quiet reading or doing a quiet activity all in one room, or have everyone separate into different rooms for an hour or two each day. This will surely benefit everyone’s mental health during the isolation period.
If the entire family is beginning to feel isolated from the outside world, then consider some of these options.
Make a Connection
Even though we can’t go out and socialize with our friends right now, we can still make connections with others. We need to stick together, especially during these uncertain times. This is something we should be doing daily or at least a few times a week in order to maintain our mental health.
Phone a friend or family member. Simply talking to another human being helps you avoid isolation.
Video chat with a friend or family member. It helps to see another familiar face from time to time, and not just hear their voice. This is also a great option for younger kids.
Write a letter to someone. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know. Consider writing letters with your kids to senior’s homes, hospitals, government offices, army bases, etc. It would make someone’s day.
Write an email to someone. Same as above, but send it online instead. You can find e-mail addresses for most places on their websites. Let your favorite local shop know how much you miss their store/business while it’s closed, and can’t wait to be back there again.
Read a book or watch a movie. Going on adventures with the characters in a book or a movie is another way to help you feel less lonely and isolated. Now is a great time to start binge watching that TV series you’ve been wanting to start.
Adopt or foster a pet. If you’re going to be locked up inside the house for weeks anyway, why not foster a pet to keep you company? You could all benefit from the company during this anxious time.
Find a Distraction
Don’t count the days of self isolation on a calendar, find a way to pass the time. Keeping the mind distracted is a great way to avoid things like intrusive or anxious thoughts while you are quarantined at home.
Cook or Bake. Don’t do it with the intention of “getting dinner on the table” as that will likely stress you out even more. Spend a day cooking some homemade soup or baking fresh bread or muffins with the kids. Take your time and don’t worry about the mess.
Craft. You can find hundreds of crafts you can do with the kids on Pinterest. Or maybe you’d rather do something just for you?
Learn something new. Nothing keeps the brain busier than learning. If you’re planning on homeschooling the kids, that will keep all of your brains busy. Trying to pick up a new skill? Now is the perfect chance to focus on it undisturbed for weeks! Interested in knitting? Check out Love Crafts for everything you need including free PDF patterns!
Leave the House
If you’re in self isolation or practicing social distancing, you should be avoiding other people and public places. But that doesn’t mean you have to be locked up within the walls of your house. There are still several ways that you can safely leave the house in order to avoid complete isolation.
Spend time in your own backyard. Good weather or not, spending some time each day in your own backyard is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.
Go for a drive. Why not pack the kids into the minivan and go for a drive in the country? See if you can spot any wildlife or signs of spring. Take photos along the way and compile an album. Stop for a picnic lunch on the side of the road and play some fun family car games.
Work on Yourself
Having weeks of undisturbed time at home means you finally have the chance to focus on yourself. This global pandemic is going to change our entire world in ways we never imagined. Let’s begin to prepare for the aftermath of it by using our self-isolation time to reflect on our lives.
Exercise. There’s no better way to avoid stress, anxiety, depression and isolation than to exercise daily. Exercise is so important for both our physical and mental health. You don’t need a home gym, either. Watch yoga videos on YouTube or turn on some music and dance!
Read self help books. Maybe you’ll actually finish some of those books that you’ve been saving for when you have time. Or try listening to some inspirational podcasts.
Try cognitive behavior therapy. If you’ve been putting off therapy because of a lack of time, self isolation is the perfect time to try online therapy. By completing an online therapy course, you can emerge from self-isolation with better tools to help you be successful in life.
Meditate. There are several different ways to meditate, even if you’re not a fan of it. Download a guided meditation app or simply spend time being mindful and grateful. Practice deep breathing and stretching for optimal health. Turn on an essential oil diffuser and listen to some soothing meditation music.
Focus on the positive. Self isolation is not the ideal situation for everyone. You may be worried about your job and bills and having enough food. Instead, try to find something positive to focus on each day and write it down. At the end of this quarantine, you can look back at this time and feel the happy moments instead of the negative ones.
Make plans for the future. Thinking about the future is a great way to avoid isolation and anxiety about the coronavirus. Sit down as a family and decide what things you’d like to do when this is all over. Maybe you’ve learned to live with less or have realized where your true priorities are. This is the time to set goals and make plans for the rest of this year.
Does postpartum depression put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?
The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is officially a global pandemic and causing all kinds of anxiety and uncertainty. It can be especially hard on new moms who are already dealing with mental health issues. Moms with postpartum depression might see an increase in their symptoms during this time. Yes, it’s a stressful time for everyone, but could moms with mental health issues actually be at a higher risk?
If you have postpartum depression, find out if you are at risk of contracting coronavirus.
Those most at risk for contracting coronavirus include the sick, elderly and people with a weakened immune system. Many mothers with postpartum depression may suffer from a weak immune system, which is what puts them in the high-risk category. Depending on how recently a mother has given birth, her immune system may not have had a chance to recover properly. And certain behaviors caused by postpartum depression can affect our immune systems as well.
Symptoms of a weakened immune system:
Frequent and long lasting illnesses and infections
Digestion issues (diarrhea, nausea, constipation)
New or increased allergies
Joint pain or inflammation
Think about whether or not you seem to catch every cold or still get the flu despite getting the flu shot. Do your symptoms drag on for a long time? Do your wounds take long to heal? These are all warning signs that you could have a weak immune system. And if you’re likely to catch a cold from someone sneezing nearing you, then you’re also likely to catch coronavirus.
How does postpartum depression cause a weakened immune system?
Stress is the number one culprit when it comes to a weakened immune system. High levels of stress can increase our cortisol levels and decrease our lymphocytes(the white blood cells that help fight off infection). This imbalance within our bodies makes us more susceptible to viruses, like COVID-19. Moms with postpartum depression and anxiety often find themselves under a lot of stress. It’s never easy to manage the kids and a household, while trying to maintain our own mental health. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.
New moms, especially those with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, are not getting nearly enough sleep as they need to. Chronic sleep deprivation can affect our immune system in a negative way. Normally while we sleep, our body works to produce certain antibodies that help us fight infection. Sleep is also our body’s time to recharge and refill. But when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system goes into overdrive. Then it doesn’t work when we need it to the most, like for fighting off the coronavirus.
Both postpartum depression and anxiety can cause a new mother to distance herself from others, long before the CDC recommended it for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus. Moms normally take extra measures to keep baby away from crowds and strangers, in order to protect their fragile immune systems. But all this time spent in isolation results in the opposite for moms. Without being exposed to normal, everyday bacteria in the outside world, moms haven’t been able to build up any immunity to it. Our immune system needs a lot of practice in order to keep it in good, working condition.
Fluctuating Hormone Levels
While the underlying cause of postpartum depression is still unknown, some theories suggest it could be due to changes in hormone levels after giving birth. We know this to be the cause when it comes to the baby blues, which is why it’s so common and doesn’t last long. Postpartum depression is a much more complicated illness, however. Either way, lower levels of estrogen may contribute to weakening the immune system. All women who experience a hormonal imbalance of estrogen might be susceptible. This includes women who are postpartum, peri-menopausal or who have had a hysterectomy.
Unhealthy Eating Habits
Our body needs a steady source of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy. But moms with postpartum depression or anxiety don’t always have the greatest eating habits. Whether it’s binge-eating junk food or skipping meals all together, these bad habits can weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to the coronavirus. If food was an issue during your pregnancy (due to hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes, anemia, etc.) you may already have some type of vitamin deficiency.
How will coronavirus affect a mom’s mental health?
Drink lots of water. Regularly drinking water not only boosts your immune system, but helps to flush out any unwanted bacteria in your body.
Get plenty of fresh air in wide, open spaces. Avoid crowded parks and playgrounds and take a stroll through nature instead.
Practice deep breathing and meditation.Not only does meditation help to calm stress, but taking long, deep breaths will actually improve your lung function. Strong lungs will help in the event that you need to fight off coronavirus.
Focus on the positive. This worldwide pandemic is one for the history books! As scary as the times are right now, we are living in a moment of history. Try journaling your experiences, or take photos. Look for ways that you can help out someone else, even if it’s just by making a phone call to check in.
Continue practicing self care. Increase the amount of self care you do daily, if that’s an option. In order to keep yourself from getting cabin fever, you’ll need to find time to yourself each day.
Try online therapy. If your mental health is truly suffering during the coronavirus outbreak, this is something you can always do from home.
The thought of a global pandemic killing thousands of people across the world is truly terrifying. With the intense amount of media coverage on the coronavirus, it can get very overwhelming for a mother with postpartum depression. It’s terrifying because so much of it is out of our control.
We need to focus on the small things that we can control. Don’t waste your time hoarding toilet paper. Instead, work on getting your immune system ready by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce your stress levels. In time, this too shall pass.