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14 Ways to Stay Sane During Quarantine

Hey Turning Point! I’m one of the new Summer interns, and I’ve been selected to do a “Blog Post of the Week.” I wanted to do a post about COVID-19, since many of our mental healths are struggling during this time. Whether it’s anxiety over sickness or a feeling of being overwhelmed by everything that’s going on, there are many causes for this struggling. So, with this in mind, here are some things you can do to stay sane during quarantine:

  1. Spend time outside. Even if just for a couple minutes, a study finds that time outside significantly reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, while also boosting resilience, restoration, and cognition. Sit in your backyard or take a stroll around the block. You may be surprised at what it can do for you.
  2. Try home cooking. We’ve all wanted to cook more but haven’t had the time. Well, here it is. If you’re like me and have little experience, I recommend starting small and making, for example, brownies from brownie mix. Everyone loves brownies, and the rest of your household will very likely appreciate this. But of course, if you’re like me most days…
  3. Get really good takeout. Support businesses you like– it’s less work than cooking.
  4. Learn something new. Watch a TedTalk. Scan the front page of the New York Times, or run a Google search on a topic that draws you and read an article you find. You never know what a bit of knowledge now can do for you later.
  5. Connect virtually with a friend. Many of your friends may be struggling through this time, whether worried about a loved one, overwhelmed by change, or bored out of their skulls. Getting together with a friend is a great way to help both of you. Some options include playing a game together online, setting up a group call, or simply talk one on one.
  6. Make time for family. This may be harder for some of us than others, especially if our loved ones are essential workers or self-isolating. But for many of us, we have more time on our hands to spend with our loved ones, a chance to make up for the school year’s lost time. Try setting up family dinners, if you don’t already, or maybe having a family game night or movie night. You can even use platforms like Zoom to have “dinner” with extended family members.
  7. Practice relaxation techniques. This can play a substantial role in reducing your anxiety. Learning meditation through an app, practicing yoga, performing daily breathing exercises… all of these things may seem ineffective at first, but there’s a learning curve to them as there is to everything else. You may find yourself settling into them as time goes on.
  8. Establish an exercise routine. A study found that exercise, for some people, works as well as antidepressants. It can be mellow getting started, but using an app such as Seven Minute Workout can be a good way to get into things. Go for a jog, trying lifting weights. I guarantee that when you finish a workout, you’ll feel amazing.
  9. Keep a quarantine journal. Writing the day’s weirdness/struggles can help put your internal problems on paper. Who knows? Maybe in the future, it’ll be a historical relic.
  10. Read something enjoyable. Many of us have an ingrained, negative view of reading from school (thanks, teachers). But the truth is, there’s a wide variety of books you can read, and no matter what genre you discover, you’re bound to find something that interests you.
  11. Write letters to healthcare workers. Giving back is important in a situation like this. We all have our own problems for quarantine, but healthcare workers are putting themselves through a uniquely difficult struggle so that more people aren’t sick. They could certainly use our optimism when theirs may be running low, so if you know a healthcare worker whom you feel like giving back to, consider writing. It’ll give them a boost while making you feel better.
  12. Donate food/used items to places that accept them. This is also a good way to give back to the community. Local food pantries are taking donations, and places such as Goodwill have opened (at least in my town). This could be your chance to help someone less fortunate.
  13. Mix up your schedule. No matter what you’re trying in quarantine, doing the same thing every day is like banging your head against a wall. Life starts to get monotonous, and your new pastimes feel old. So, mix it up. Every day, ask yourself anew, “what do I want to do today?” and use it to uniquely structure your day. Of course, you can repeat an activity if you find that it sticks, but shaking up the time when you do it can stop your routine from going stale.
  14. Give yourself a break. This may seem ironic this a stay-home world, but even when many of us have far fewer responsibilities, we’re still hard on ourselves in a way we shouldn’t be. We’re thinking, for example, “everyone else is being productive in quarantine, so I have to be, too,” or, “I can’t keep wasting all this time.” But its no good being productive if your mental health suffers. Set aside a chunk of time to put aside your responsibilities and devote it to self-care. Self-care means different things for a lot of people, but watching Netflix, reading, taking a hot bath, and eating something nice are all means of doing so.

So there you have it: 14 ways to stay sane during quarantine. Hope they help! Let me know in the comments what works for you!

6 Replies to “14 Ways to Stay Sane During Quarantine”

  1. Vanessa Gorlewski says:

    Love this Ben! I like how you included ways we can help our communities, doing good things for other people is a great way to boost your mental health 🙂

  2. alexebersold says:

    Hey Ben! Great post. I love that you mention switching up your schedule since time doesn’t feel like a real thing anymore. I’ve seen a lot of people saying they should get into a routine to help cope with quarantine but a lot of people would benefit from the opposite! Everyone copes differently 🙂

  3. Mariahlu says:

    Hey Ben,
    You have some really great tips! I’ve used some of these tips myself and find them to be very beneficial. Now everyone can try them out!

  4. hspanderson says:

    Hey Ben, I loved tip #10! I’ve been trying to use all this new free time in a productive but still fun way by reading all the books I wanted to read when I was too busy with school! It’s been a great way to minimize my screen time while still engaging my mind. I’m at 8 books down so far and hope to be close to 20 by the end of the summer!

  5. ColbyDineen says:

    Hi Ben!

    I loved this and how you mentioned how important our mental health is during this time! I definitely have done some of these things during quarantine and its helped my mental health! I hope everyone try’s at least one of these out!

  6. Luz.Feliz says:

    Thank you so much for this post Ben! I think that I often forget that we can still be safe and do things like go outside and enjoy nature, or mix our schedules up just to try to keep our sanity. Being able to see a break from the constant routine that has a little weird but stressful will definitely be my biggest takeaway from this list. Thank you again for sharing.

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