As the Coronavirus pandemic is unfolding around the world, it is important to remember that the world is not ending, it’s just being interrupted. Staying calm in a time when your daily life has been upended is paramount for your mental health. An unstressed you will make better decisions and that’s exactly what the world needs right now. So here are 7 things to do to keep your stress levels low during this time of isolation.
Number 1: Stress Management
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room—stress. The world may seem like it’s collapsing around you or you may feel like everyone is overreacting but the reality still remains that you might be out of work; your children are at home; your high school and college-age kids may miss out on their graduations and all that comes with that, and you may have sudden unexpected hospital bills. Also, you may be stressing out about the lack of food or toilet paper in your home; bills that may go unpaid; and experiencing anxiety created by being cooped up in your home for too long. This form of anxiety is normal. Thousands of people are experiencing it at this very moment. You are not alone but you need to learn to manage your new-found anxiety.
Some books that may help you find a technique that suits your situation are; 7 Top Anxiety Management Techniques by Heather Rose, Raising Healthy Parents by Sid Garza-Hillman, and Under Pressure by Lisa Damour
Number 2: Start a Budget
We’re living in troubling financial times and it is important to know what you are dealing with so you can try to plan out the best future for yourself and your family. It’s time to pull out a notebook and pencil and look at your finances like never before. Look at your debt, look at your expenses, look at your savings, and look at your income and start planning for the months ahead.
Some books that may help you better plan are; Balanced Budget, Balanced Life by Rollie Dimos, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget by The Writers of Wise Bread, or 5-Star Living on a 2-Star Budget by Danielli Martel
Number 3: Meal Prep
Two images pop into the mind when someone mentions meal prep. The first one is a hunk of unseasoned, bland food being divided up into two weeks to a month worth of Tupperware. And then the other image is normally a pile of uncooked ingredients daring you to start while you are staring back at them not wanting to start. And although both images are not pleasant ones to have, meal prepping is definitely something that needs to be done during this time of bare grocery store shelves. You need to know what you’re going to eat for the next week so you can know what to get from the grocery store, how much you’re going to need, and how much it’s going to cost. Meal prepping can be daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be smooth sailing.
Some books that may help you get started are; The Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep by Erin Romeo, Vegan Yack Attack's Plant-Based Meal Prep by Jackie Sobon, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard
Number 4: Create a To-Do List
It’s tempting to use this time to sleep in, worry about things you can not control, or just become a glorious streaming being-watcher surviving off potato chips but you could also use this time to get your life organized one checkmark at a time. Make a list of twenty tasks that need to be done and instead of trying to do all of the tasks in one day, failing, feeling unaccomplished and giving up; complete one task a day. As you make your way through the list, you’ll feel more productive even if the tasks are small ones. By the end of the list, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that will lift your spirits.
If the method above isn’t a match for you, a book that may help you is Taming Your To-Do List by Glynnis Whitwer, Dot Journaling-A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller, and Martha Stewart's Organizing.
Number 5: Clean Your Home
You’ll enjoy being stuck in the house for a month a lot more if it was clean. Even if you enjoy a little mess, after close to 30 days of being constantly surrounded by an ever-growing pile of clothes on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and not being able to the remote control, you’ll be itching to clean your home.
Some books that may help you better understand the happy feeling you get after cleaning your home are; The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson, Cleaning and Organizing, and The Clutter Remedy by Maria Stone.
Number 6: Learn a New Skill
When you finally get bored during isolation, you can take the time learn a new skill. This skill can be anything from knitting to drawing. Both of those things have been known to decrease stress. If you want to learn more professional skills, such as video editing or communication skills you can use on your job, you can take this time to visit Lynda.com and use your SLPL library card to gain access for free.
One hobby that is quick and easy to start is drawing since almost everyone has a pencil or pen and paper in their house. If you’re interested in learning how to draw, some books that may help are; How to Draw by Ian Sidaway and Susie Hodge, Drawing by Kate Rochester, and Drawing by Paul Calver
Number 7: Sleep
Despite sleeping in being mentioned so often in this list, getting a restful night of sleep is very important. It’s going to be one of the most important things you do during your isolation because our body and brain do their best work while we’re sleeping. Sleep is as fundamental to your health as breathing.
Some books that may help you understand more about the importance of sleep and how to sleep better are; Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, Sleep and You by Diane B Boivin, and Sleep: The Owner's Manual by Pierce Howard.