Even though it’s a new year, many places around the world are still under restrictions due to COVID. Depending on where you live, you might be stuck at home without a lot to do. It’s important to follow government regulations in order to stop the spread of COVID. However, it’s also important to acknowledge the impact restrictions can have on our physical and mental health.
With the cold weather further limiting what we can do, many of us are struggling. It’s ok to admit that this is hard! Being isolated from our friends and family is difficult. Your physical health might be impacted from a lack of movement and exercise. Your mental health might suffer as well. In this article, we’re sharing some tips and tricks on how to manage your physical and mental well-being during a cold quarantine.
Stick to a routine
You might see the pandemic as an opportunity to sleep late and wear your pyjamas all day. However, studies show a regular routine can have a positive impact on mental health. If you’re working from home you might be able to sleep a little bit later than usual. However, you should still try to stick to a daily routine in order to maintain your own sanity. Here’s an example of a schedule:
|8:30 - 9:00 am
||Brush teeth, make coffee, change from pyjamas to comfy clothes
|9:00 - 10:00 am
||Check emails, social media and news
|10:00 - 10:30 am
|10:30 am - 12:30 pm
|12:30 - 1:30 pm
|1:30 - 3:00 pm
|3:00 - 3:30 pm
|3:30 - 5:00 pm
|5:00 - 6:00 pm
||Physical activity such as a walk or stretching
This is just one example of a schedule. You can customize it to fit your needs. Sticking to it as much as possible can help give your life some stability and structure that may have disappeared since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Stay physically active
According to the Government of Canada, adults should be getting at least twenty minutes of physical activity per day. Physical activity not only keeps your body healthy, it also keeps your mind healthy. The Canadian Psychological Association says physical activity can prevent and improve depression and anxiety and reduce daily stress.
When you’re not leaving the house on a regular basis, it can be really easy to neglect physical activity. This is especially true when the weather is cold. It’s so much easier to stay bundled under the covers! However, if you want to stay as healthy as possible, it’s important to move your body every day. Here are some easy ways to get some movement in:
- Go for a walk. Yes, we know it’s cold. But if you dress warm, you should be able to do a twenty minute walk.
- Dance party! Put on your favourite music and dance. Why not take advantage of the fact that your colleagues can’t see you?
- Visit your closest skating rink. Despite the pandemic, many cities have opened public skating rinks.
- Dust off your Nintendo Wii. Remember when those were all the rage? If you have one collecting dust, now is the perfect time to use it to get some exercise.
- Deep clean your home. Things like mopping, dusting and scrubbing count as exercise! Mash two potatoes with one fork and get your home sparkling.
- Play with your kids. How about a good old-fashioned game of The Floor is Lava? When’s the last tie you played Hide and Seek? We’re not sure how many calories playing with your kids burns, but it beats sitting on the couch!
Maintain a healthy diet
When you’re stuck at home it can be really tempting to snack all day. Working from home can be great, but one of the most dangerous parts is how close you are to the fridge! It’s important to fuel your body with healthy food that will leave you feeling energized.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends:
- Lots of fruits and veggies
- Foods with protein
- Whole grain foods
- Water as your drink of choice
Try to see quarantine as an opportunity to cook more and try something new in the kitchen. Health Canada has lots of healthy and fun recipes to check out.
Have you ever heard the word “doomscrolling?” It’s a new term that means scrolling through a large amount of negative news online. It can have a negative effect on your mental health. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, you might have found yourself doomscrolling through your phone well past midnight.
It can be hard to tear yourself away from the never-ending news cycle. But it’s more important to get a good night’s sleep than it is to constantly refresh your Twitter feed.
According to Harvard Health, there is a strong link between sleep and mental health. Be sure to prioritize a good sleep every night. Here are some tips on getting a great night’s sleep:
- Leave your phone in a different room. (We know you’ve heard this one before.)
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Limit your caffeine intake.
- Get some exercise during the day.
- Is there something on your mind that’s keeping you up? Jot it down in a journal before sleeping.
Maintain a connection with others
Even though we are physically apart, it’s important to maintain relationships with friends and family. Depending on the restrictions in your region, you may be able to do things like meet a friend for a walk. If your city’s public health authority does not advise this, you can stay in touch using the phone or video calls. We’re lucky to have so many tools that help us stay connected. Give your loved ones a call as often as you need.
FAQs on Mental and Physical Wellness During a Cold Quarantine
Does the type of music I listen to affect my mental health?
According to The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, music has a number of scientifically proven health benefits. It makes us happier, reduces stress and helps us sleep. Some studies have looked at the effects of different types of music. There is some evidence to show that music with a slower tempo is more relaxing.
How do I combat insomnia and get a good night’s sleep during home quarantine?
Mental health professionals have been reporting an increase in insomnia among their clients. If you are struggling with sleep, you are not alone! One of the most important tips in getting a good night’s sleep is consistency. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Try to get some form of exercise during the day to have a better sleep. And of course, avoid using your phone in bed!
How do I cope with winter cabin fever?
If possible, go for a walk outdoors. You can even try an outdoor activity like snowshoeing or building a snowman. If you can’t get outside, try doing a workout of some kind indoors. YouTube has lots of free workouts you can try. Tapping into your creative side can help with cabin fever. Try writing, painting or cooking.