With summer coming to an end and stay-at-home guidelines relaxing in many areas, we’re still coming to terms with finding new ways to deal with our “new normal."
In addition to washing hands frequently and wearing masks, social distancing remains one of the most important ways to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Staying away from friends and family can be difficult for your mental health, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself through this challenging time. Use this end-of-summer quarantine bucket list to enjoy the rest of the season in a new way while doing your part to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Try a New Hobby
This summer is the perfect time to discover a new, social distancing-friendly hobby. Instead of focusing on what quarantine is preventing you from doing, try to see it as an opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
You could take up knitting or learn how to play an instrument. Enroll in an online course to learn a new language. Work on a puzzle or write in a journal. Try new recipes or plant your own garden. These activities provide a goal you can work toward as well as a sense of accomplishment. More importantly, a new hobby can remind you that there are still so many wonderful things to learn and explore even when you feel like you’re “stuck” at home.
Being physically active is important for your mental health. A 2019 study found a link between higher levels of physical activity and a reduced risk for depression. Exercising can also help to relieve anxiety and worrisome thoughts you may be experiencing during this time.
While you may not be able to go to the gym or attend group fitness classes, there are still plenty of great ways to stay active while social distancing, such as:
- Go for a walk.
- Take up running.
- Ride your bike.
- Do yoga at home.
- Follow online workout videos.
- Take virtual dance classes.
- Do yard work.
Find New Ways to Connect
Are you missing your friends and family? It’s important to stay connected to your loved ones even when you can’t be physically close. Social interactions are essential for emotional well-being, especially if you’re at risk for depression. If you’re not able to travel to visit loved ones, reach out to them via phone, text, or email. Schedule regular video calls so you can see one another “face to face.” You can even play games remotely using apps like Houseparty.
If you have friends or family living nearby, you may be able to spend some time together in person. However, you’ll need to take into account your local stay-at-home restrictions as well as each person’s health risks. If you do decide to meet up, use these guidelines:
- Only meet outdoors and keep masks on.
- Maintain at least six feet of distance at all times.
- Sanitize shared objects (such as lawn chairs) before and after meeting up.
- Don’t share food, drinks, or utensils.
- Don’t go into someone else’s home, even just to use the bathroom.
- Stay home if you don’t feel well in any way.
Do Something to Help Others
Giving back can help you feel hopeful and uplifted during this difficult time. If you’re feeling up to it, look for a few ways to help others this summer. You could donate to local food banks and other worthy causes. Bring awareness to a fundraiser on social media. Go grocery shopping for someone who is at a greater risk due to their age or personal health. Donate blood if you’re feeling healthy. These small efforts can have a positive impact on your mental health this summer.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Even if you try all the ideas listed above, you may still experience some mental health struggles. If that happens, make sure you reach out to get the help you need. Ask for emotional support from friends and family. Schedule a remote appointment with a therapist. Try an alternative treatment like Ketamine Infusion Therapy, which has demonstrated high success rates in relief from depression and anxiety. It’s especially important to seek out help when you’re feeling more isolated than usual during quarantine.
While social distancing has been a challenge for all of us, it’s even harder to do during the summer when we’re used to spending that time traveling and gathering with loved ones. By trying the activities recommended above, however, you’ll help protect both your physical and mental health this season.