How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Isolation
Times are surreal. With the threat and increasing fear of Coronavirus, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and feel helpless or depressed. There is a global struggle to stay poised and motivated.
Although isolation and self-quarantine might initially be a great opportunity to get a ton of production work done, prolonged isolation can negatively impact one’s mental and physical well-being. Reduced contact with the outside world can cause loneliness and self-neglect. Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid falling into this. In this article, I will cover several good habits you can follow to ease your isolation blues.
This is an instrumental habit to practice in order to feel good during these times. Exercise has been proven to improve mood, increase energy, relieve stress, and even lead to better sleep.
It’s recommended to exercise at least twenty to thirty minutes a day. Do what exercise you feel comfortable doing. I like running and doing yoga. That’s what works for me. If you have a routine, do it. If you don’t, find one. There are no excuses when you have all the time in the world.
There’s a multitude of free workout series on YouTube. I’ve included a few below:
New York Times published an in-depth 9-minute strength workout that requires no equipment. It’s a simple, yet effective all-body workout.
Another important part of exercising is stretching. Stretching helps decrease the chance of sustaining an injury while exercising. As producers and musicians, stretching should be part of our daily lives. Check out this Beat Lab Health Series article to learn some stretches for producers. Stretch for at least five minutes a day. As well as relieving physical tension, it’s great for stress relief.
Stay Social Through Calling and Video Chatting
This is the perfect time to call your family and friends! It’s likely that they want to hear from you and make sure that you’re okay. While it’s easy to text others to stay current with them, calling allows for deeper communication. If you are talking to someone you care about, it’s possible that hearing their voice will help you feel calmer and more emotionally grounded than reading their texts. Additionally, being able to express yourself verbally is an effective way to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety.
If possible, make sure to video chat with them. Just like hearing a loved one’s voice, seeing their face is likely to improve your well-being (and theirs too). Sharing laughter, tears, and everything in between is bound to do a lot of good.
Join a Forum, Get Active Online
With over 4.5 billion Internet users, niche communities have become increasingly popular and accessible. It’s easy to find a forum that caters to your interests. Forums can be a great way to chat with like-minded people and develop a sense of belonging. Reddit is one of the most popular forums on the internet. It’s easy to join multiple forums, which are separated into their own specific pages, called Subreddits. There is even a subreddit for Ableton.
If you are into video games, play online with your friends, or meet others that way. This can provide a sense of community.
For those who enjoy watching movies, several streaming outlets have enabled watch parties, which allow for an interactive watching experience with friends and family. This TechHive article explains the streaming services and setup in detail.
Destress Through Online Therapy
There may be certain issues you don’t feel comfortable discussing with your friends and family. If you find yourself constantly worrying about those issues, it might be helpful to seek therapy.
With social distancing and mass lockdowns in effect, seeing a therapist in-person is far from likely, however, it’s possible to perform therapy sessions over the phone or via computer.
PCMag released a comprehensive list of online therapy services here.
The services range in cost from $40 per week and upwards, offering an array of different therapy plans. Certain services even offer free trials.
Spend Time Away from Screens
When you take breaks from producing, make sure to spend them doing something that doesn’t revolve around a lit screen. Don’t just stare at your phone for twenty minutes as a “break”. This is just going to cause more eye fatigue and it won’t help you feel rested. Spend time doing something that provides a break for your eyes and ears. Go stretch, exercise, take a walk around your neighborhood (or wherever you’re able to do so), cook, bake, nap, or meditate. If you have a pet, go pet it. It’s a good destresser.
While it may seem daunting being forced into the close quarters of our homes for the majority of the time, there are plenty of ways we can combat feeling trapped and uneasy. It is important to take COVID-19 seriously. Please practice social distancing and only go outside when you need, but don’t shut yourself out from the rest of the world. We are a global community and we need to take care of ourselves and each other. Make sure to do so, and we will all get through this together.
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