Some+activities+during+quarantine+that+can+benefit+your+mental+health%21

Ella Cuneo

Some activities during quarantine that can benefit your mental health!

A Guide to Staying Mentally Well

While times are changing, here are some tips and tricks to stay mentally healthy!

April 27, 2020

Our situation has changed dramatically in the last few months. Having parties with friends changed to waiting for them to get on your Zoom call. Cheering on sports teams from the stands switched to watching reruns and highlights from your favorite teams on YouTube. Without a doubt, something in your life has changed due to the Coronavirus. Change can be scary and being at home all the time definitely can affect your mental health but here are some ways you stay mentally well.

EXERCISE
Everyone knows that exercising is good for them, but do you know how it really affects your mental wellness in addition to physical well being?
“Exercise is a really important piece of taking care of ourselves physically and mentally,” said psychologist Dr. Stone Krashuaar.
Exercise allows better blood supply to the brain which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to parts of your brain. This increases neurotrophic factors and neurohormones that allow for better neuron signaling, connections and growth. Basically, exercising can allow portions of your brain to grow and develop. Exercising also releases endogenous cannabinoids, or a fancy word for feel-good endorphins. These natural brain chemicals increase your senses of well-being.
“Exercise is a really important piece of taking care of ourselves physically and mentally,” said Krashuaar.

“Movement is a huge thing. Even if you don’t want to do that outside, just in your home, breathing exercises are really helpful and easy to do in your home.””

— BJC Grief Counselor Taylor Sedano

Other than the medical aspects, exercising can also allow you to gain self-confidence. Setting achievable goals and achieving them can give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. In times like these, small wins are important as sometimes the bigger gains are unachievable.
“Right now, people have a lot of time on their hands because their home and schedules have completely changed. So, people tend to be thinking a lot about what they could have done, what they should’ve done, what they will do,” said Krashuaar.
Krashuaar, as well as many other psychologists, believe that living in the moment can improve one’s mental health. Exercising allows one to cope with change in a healthy way. Rather than having an unhealthy way to cope with your emotions such as alcohol, drugs, or dwelling on your hardship, exercising can get out anger as well as distract from negative thoughts of the day.

While exercise can sound daunting, there are a variety of ways to fit in physical activity. Things like gardening, running, lifting weights, working on your sports skills, dancing, walking around the block, stretching and yoga can all be a part of your exercise for the day. Exercise is also a great way to get outside, another tip to help with your changing environments. Doing 30 minutes a day three to five times a week can make a big impact on your physical and mental health.

RESTRICTING CORONA TALK
Considering we are a newsmagazine this is going to sound silly, but the intake of news about the coronavirus can be overwhelming and detrimental to one’s mental health.
“It’s important to limit how much you’re watching the news. It’s probably also important to limit how much you’re talking about the coronavirus. It can slip into almost any conversation and sometimes dominate it,” said Krashuuar.
In our modern society we are surrounded with ways to see the news. Whether it is on TikTok, CNN, or the New York Times, the feed of stories and news updates related to coronavirus is everlasting. Our daily lives seem to be consumed with the rising cases and death counts. But, limiting your intake of the coronavirus coverage does not just include news.
Coronavirus, while an important issue occurring now, can become addictive in daily conversations. When focusing and only talking about COVID-19 people tend to sit and fixate on the negatives of what is happening currently. Perseverating on the negatives prevents one from being able to continue being hopeful and overall helping their mental health.
“Having healthy boundaries, that’s what a lot of this is about, around how much you talk about it and what you think about… Talking about it to the point that it’s helpful, but not perseverating on it,” said Krashuuar.
Limiting talk on coronavirus needs to become an essential part of one’s day. Even Clayton High School health and physical education teachers have started incorporating activities into their assignments. Things, like taking breaks from social media, meditation, and focusing on what you can control, have appeared on a variety of assignments.
Sendano has been helping her clients with “concrete coping tools that they can do in their home to help put them back in the present moment and focus on getting them through the day and not necessarily getting overwhelmed by how long this will last.”

LIVING IN THE MOMENT
“Right now, people have a lot of time on their hands because their home and schedules have completely changed. So, people tend to be thinking a lot about what they could have done, what they should’ve done, what they will do,” said Krashuaar.
Krashuaar, as well as many other psychologists, believe that living in the moment can improve one’s mental health. During this time psychologists have to adapt to the way they communicate with their patients, whether it is through video calls or just a basic phone call.

Sendano has been helping her clients with “concrete coping tools that they can do in their home to help put them back in the present moment and focus on getting them through the day and not necessarily getting overwhelmed by how long this will last.”
Psychologist Michaela Cuneo promotes the idea of using the term “right now” to keep your actions and thoughts focused on the present. Right now I am walking my dogs. Right now I am doing the dishes. Right now I am playing board games with my family.
“Grounding yourself in the present moment helps you focus on what you can control- the present moment,” said Cuneo.
There are a variety of ways to live in the moment. If you find yourself getting anxious about something you can try a variety of breathing exercises, meditation, exercising, or find a creative output. Reference the next section for more ideas.

MAKING ROOM FOR YOUR FEELINGS

“Allowing ourselves to experience these emotions teaches up that we can survive them, and creates a pathway to acceptance of what is out of our control.””

— Michaela Cuneo

“You have to have space for your feelings,” said Krashuuar. “Let’s say you started crying over something that you thought was little, and you’re like ‘why am I crying,’ it is important to honor and allow yourself to have those feelings.”
During this time a variety of emotions are to be expected. Anger because you can’t go outside, loneliness because you can not see your friends, sadness due to the situation in general, grief from losing someone or something, and so much more. Allowing yourself to have feelings and a proper outlet for them can help to accept our current situation.
“Much of life involves managing difficult emotions that cannot be resolved immediately,” said Cuneo.

 

IDEAS FOR HEALTHY OUTLETS 

About the Contributor
Photo of Ella Cuneo
Ella Cuneo, Photo Editor

Ella is a sophomore this year and this will be her second year on the Globe. During her freshman year, Ella was a reporter--now she is the Photo Editor. She loves to take photographs...

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