What’s the best way to stay positive in self-isolation?
As the world shuts down and we all find ourselves increasingly isolated and stuck inside.
Separated from our usual daily routines, and in many cases 6 feet away from each other. Some of us are spending more time together with our kids and partners 24-7, while others are home all alone.
Yet still, others are working harder than ever in essential services to keep us all safe. Either way, it’s a drastic change to what we’re all used to. That shift, that change takes its toll.
I realized one simple thing about this crisis: it’s not just about staying safe anymore, it’s about staying sane.
In order to survive this pandemic, you have to survive the panic.
Keeping you and your family safe is about so much more than just hand washing, staying inside and social distancing, it’s about your emotional wellness and mental health.
After a few weeks on lockdown, I realized I was taking half-breaths. Being inside, working from home wasn’t new to me at all, but the overwhelming feeling of grief was.
With the collective grief growing day by day, the fear and the anxiety is so real you can feel it. You can’t ignore it, you have to take steps to protect your sanity. It’s no surprise that mental health issues are feared to rise, sparking an “echo pandemic” of mental illness across the world.
Please take the time you need to stay sane, these are trying times, even if you’re stuck inside social distancing. It impacts us all, even if you think things are business as usual, you’re not immune to it.
If you are struggling with your mental or emotional health, please seek out professional help. Help is just a phone call away, with therapists and counselors offering sessions online. Just search online for a “therapist near me” and get help immediately.
To help us in this time of crisis, I reach out to 36 mental health and emotional wellness experts, including therapists, counselors, doctors and life coaches, asking, “How do you stay sane while social distancing or self-isolating?”
Plus, be sure to click here to get your FREE Staying Sane While Social Distancing eBook with all 36 strategies.
Stay In Contact, Get Connected
How do you stay in contact while social distancing? How do you feel connected while self-isolating? Just because you’re staying home and distancing 6 feet away doesn’t mean you can’t communicate or feel connected. There are so many ways to reach out with technology and maintain strong and healthy relationships. You can deal with the feeling of loneliness by reaching out, here’s how:
- Connect With Loved Ones
- Keep In Touch with Friends
- Reach Out In a Physical Way
- Stay in Touch As Much As Possible
- Plan a Digital Happy Hour with Friends
- Use Technology to Be There
- Schedule Recurring Zoom Invites
- Use Walkie Talkies
- Volunteer Virtually
#1. Connect With Loved Ones
Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher MA, CAGS, LMHC
A tip that I’ve been giving all of my patients during this quarantine is connect with your loved ones through a virtual platform that allows video conferencing (ie, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom). When we visually connect with our loved ones, our brains produce the same neurotransmitters that they produce when we’re actually in the same room as these people; texting and audio calls just don’t do this. Being alone and feeling lonely are two different things – if you’re alone that’s ok but if you start feeling lonely, you need to connect with people you love. Better yet, be proactive and do this regularly so you don’t develop feelings of loneliness.
👉🏽 Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher MA, CAGS, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and owner of a private practice, Polaris Counseling & Consulting in Rhode Island.
#2. Keep In Touch with Friends
Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C
Make sure to keep in touch with friends. It sounds trite, but you have to be proactive about it – don’t just comment on Facebook posts. Call up friends regularly and talk about what you’re going through, what they’re going through, or nothing at all to do with what anyone’s going through. But take a few minutes every day to call or Skype someone. You’ll feel more human having some form of social connection (and social media really doesn’t fill that need in the same way).
👉🏽 Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C is a couples counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center.
#3. Reach Out In a Physical Way
licensed social worker and self-care coach
One way to stay sane during social distancing is to continue to reach out in a physical way to the people that you love. You may be thinking…”Hey, you’re wrong, we can’t do that.” By reaching out in a physical way, I mean going back to what we did before we had cell phones and the internet. You could send a letter, a box of donuts, a care package, or anything that you know your loved one would like. Think of how excited you’d be to get something in the mail from someone you love or how excited they would be to get something from you.
A few days ago, my parents surprised me by buying me a pizza and having it sent to my house. It meant the world to me. I know that my parents are thinking of me because we talk on the phone almost every day. But the extra effort put into sending a physical gift makes a difference.
👉🏽 Briana Hollis is a licensed social worker and self-care coach. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 and her Master of Education from Tiffin University in 2019. Briana has spent the last 5 years working in crisis intervention. She started her site, Learning To Be Free to assist others in bringing freedom to their lives. Take her Self Love Challenge.
“Reach out in a physical way to someone you love… You could send a letter, a box of donuts, a care package, or anything that you know your loved one would like” @learn2befree
#4. Stay in Touch As Much As Possible
Founder of 90s Fashion World
The truth is for extroverts, social distancing is particularly hard. As cities shut down and more people are forced to stay at home and keep their distance from family and friends, it starts to take its toll. The best way to avoid this is to stay in touch as much as possible, video calling, phone calls, and texting, they all make you feel like you are sharing your daily life with someone. Another great tip is establishing a routine and alternating between free-time activities and doing proactive or work-related stuff. Stay busy, stay safe and try to keep in touch with people as much as possible!
👉🏽 Joe Flanagan, Founder of 90s Fashion World, a nineties culture and fashion blog.
#5. Plan a Digital Happy Hour with Friends
Licensed Mental Health professional
Planning a digital happy hour with your friends, especially friends that you haven’t caught up within a while is a terrific way to keep things upbeat and fun during this scary and uncertain time. Distraction and social contact are two of the best ways to improve your mood, and digital happy hours cover both.
👉🏽 Haley Neidich is a Licensed Mental Health professional and practicing psychotherapist with a master’s degree from Columbia University.
#6. Use Technology to Be There
Editorial Director for Amava
Take this chance to be – both for yourself and others. Journal, meditate or clean out that junk drawer. Use your technology to make playlists and share them with your friends and family. Help other people with technology. Teach them to cast their conversations on to bigger screens and how to use various platforms. Offer to read to your friends’ kids via FaceTime if they need to work but have kids home from school.
👉🏽 Rebecca Bloom is the Editorial Director for Amava, a platform to help you Discover Your Next®. Earn, learn, give back and more with socially engaging experiences at Amava.
#7. Schedule Recurring Zoom Invites
founder and CEO of Small Packages
Be official about it: send out a Zoom invite! Having something social that recurs on your calendar provides a sense of solidarity with your people, no matter where they are. It might sound a little stilted, but you realize quickly that having a screen between you doesn’t do much to diminish your sense of connection. It’s being able to see the other person’s face–their expression, the fact that they’re focused on you–that makes you feel bonded.
👉🏽 Julie Schechter is the founder and CEO of Small Packages, a curated care package company working to end the loneliness epidemic. In her work as a relationship wellness expert, she focuses on millennial isolation and how we can maintain strong long-distance connections with our networks. She has been featured by The Everygirl, worked with Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year Gala, and was awarded a Visionary Women Grant by Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran and iFundWomen. She is a former attorney and graduate of Harvard Law School.
#8. Use Walkie Talkies
Homeschool Mom, Rock Your Homeschool
As a homeschool mom of 5 boys (who was a mental health therapist prior to becoming a mom), I‘m staying sane while social distancing by using the Voxer app. This walkie-talkie-like app makes it easy to chat or listen to my friends when I’m available (or hiding in the bathroom!). I’ve been using the app for years but finding it essential for feeling connected during these crazy times.
👉🏽 Amy Milcic, a homeschool soccer mom to 5 boys at Rock Your Homeschool, believes that you can make learning & life fun, even if you feel frazzled & frustrated. She shares creative solutions so you can connect with your kids using growth mindset & interest-led learning experiences.
#9. Volunteer Virtually
Laurie Sharp-Page MS, LPCC-S, CWC
licensed therapist, Flourish Psychotherapy
Even while you are social distancing, your energy can be put to good use through virtual volunteering. Altruism is always a great coping skill, by helping others we increase our own sense of belonging and connection. Belonging and connection are always valuable, but during this period of social isolation, it’s even more important and meaningful. Additionally, altruism feels good to us because it stimulates dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, all of which are neurotransmitters that make us feel good and can help us cope more effectively with stress.
There are many different ways you can volunteer your time and energy right now. Virtual volunteering can take many different forms, from assisting with digital archiving, helping those with disabilities, assisting with a crisis text line, or even just socially engaging with nursing home residents whose current social engagement is most likely currently very limited. You can also check out VolunteerMatch.org to find an array of virtual opportunities, all of which will be valuable to your mental health as well as the greater community.
👉🏽 Laurie Sharp-Page MS, LPCC-S, CWC, is a licensed therapist and owner of Cincinnati-based Flourish Psychotherapy. She and her team currently offer teletherapy and virtual therapy sessions and are able to speak on how to keep your sanity during social distancing. Her practice focuses on evidence-based treatment and offers a variety of different specializations for individuals and groups.
Schedule Your Days, Stick to a Routine
How do you find a new normal while stuck inside? How do you not spend all your time on social media? While social distancing at home it’s easy to just drift from day to day without any real purpose. Even if you’re working from home now, you can feel lost, unmotivated or even lazy. Things can become chaotic for you or your kids. That’s why it’s so important to create a schedule for your days, with activities to help you stay productive.
- Maintain Your Routine
- Break Up Each Day
- Stick to a Daily Schedule
- Continue Scheduling Your Days
- Keep Yourself Busy
- Simulate a Similar Schedule
#10. Maintain Your Routine
life coach and editor at Mantelligence
With the home quarantine appearing to last longer, it can definitely take a toll on the mental health of individuals. To stay sane during this difficult time, maintain your routine. Social distancing should not disrupt your body’s sleep-wake cycle, daily activities, and work hours.
Maintaining a routine is the best way to have some connection to your normal life. Get the same number of sleep as you would on any normal day. When you feel trapped, isolated or alone, check on the people you care about. Connect with them via social media, email, or give them a call, just like how you do it before the lockdown. Remember, a routine is the key.
Now, if you’re like me, part of my routine is to just lounge around in my pajamas thinking for something to do. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do and with the advent of technology, everything is within your grasp like this list of things to do here: Things to do at home.
Remember that this will pass. Maintaining your routine is the best way to keep your sanity, so do your best to stick to it.
👉🏽 Sam Whittaker is a life coach and editor at Mantelligence.
#11. Break Up Each Day
My #1 tip to keep sane is to break up each day with things that nurture in different ways. We may not be in physical proximity to people, but if the connection is a value for you, finding ways to make that part of your day (e.g. video chat, on-line gaming, connecting with those in your household) is important. Consider the things that are important to you and carve time for them each day.
For me, being in nature, exercising, laughter, connection, and challenging my mind are important. Each day, I’m finding moments to nurture those in small doses. I start with a meditation and a couple of quick exercises (burpees, squats, and planks are ‘fun’). After putting in some work, I usually goof around with my kids. These moments are typically outdoors and full of laughter. More work to do, followed by some puzzling, a strategy game, or researching something of interest, and time where I’m just chilling. Making time for things each day that align with what’s important and breaking it up into small doses will help you keep sane.
👉🏽 Chantal Côté is a registered psychologist in the province of Alberta and the owner of Pyramid Psychology. Pyramid Psychology’s goal is for all young people to be able to discover their greatness and uniqueness and to share those gifts with the world. Working in community mental health for several years with grieving and traumatized families has helped me realize the importance of helping people discover their inner resources to cope and handle the most difficult and uncertain moments in life.
#12. Stick to A Daily Schedule
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
My best tip for staying sane right now is creating and sticking to a schedule. With most of us staying home and socially distancing from others, the days can seemingly blur into each other. I notice that when I’m off my schedule, I tend to feel more depressed, anxious, and lethargic. I tend to also be more irritable and disconnected. We all thrive with some kind of structure- especially for those of us working from home.
Ideally, this should mean sticking to a standard morning routine (I wake up, feed my baby, drink my coffee, eat breakfast with my husband) and transition into the rest of the day. This means allocating some time for work, taking a walk, and settling into an evening ritual. I try and also go to bed at the same time every day. My schedule also consists of “checking in” with a group of family and friends. Every single day, I text/call/Facetime these people, and it helps me feel connected despite the physical isolation.
👉🏽 Nicole Arzt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, serves on the advisory board for Family Enthusiast.
#13. Continue Scheduling Your Days
My best tip is to continue scheduling out your day. It helps prevent those feelings of boredom and keeps you feeling like you are working towards something instead of being unproductive every day. Try to schedule some time for both work and self-care/fun time. Since you’re at home, you’re able to have a bit more flexibility with your schedule so it’s a great opportunity to have some more downtime and pursue a hobby you’ve always been meaning to try.
Just try not to spend all of your time scrolling through social media because it 1) makes you feel incredibly unproductive and 2) doesn’t really help you better yourself. While social media would be a fine place to get some ideas for what to do during quarantine time, make sure to still keep your day structured with a schedule so you don’t end up spending all your time on it.
👉🏽 Hedy is the lifestyle blogger and teen entrepreneur behind Happily, Hedy. She blogs about self-care, self-development, style, books, and more to empower others to pursue their best, happiest life.
#14. Keep Yourself Busy Everyday
Orlando Parents Family Fun Magazine
In order to stay sane while social distancing, I am keeping myself busy. During the day, I have my work and I help my kids with their schoolwork. In the off periods, I am finding things to do in order to make being at home more enjoyable. I am playing games with my kids again and putting together fun projects for them. We have restarted our movie night, which had fallen by the wayside about a year ago, because we were too busy running around.
I have started trying out new recipes that I wouldn’t have had time for before. Also, I’m tapping into all the free resources that are now online. I have listened to live concerts and readings, started reading blogs again and have signed up for classes to develop new skills. Even though I cannot leave the house right now, I feel that I will come out on the side better for it.
👉🏽 Mikaela Walker is an adventurer, explorer, writer and mom of 2 who lives in Orlando. On her site Orlando Parents Family Fun Magazine, she shares all there is to do in Orlando for families.
#15. Simulate a Similar Schedule
Founder, Petite Dressing
Keeping a daily routine is super important to me. Even though social distancing has forced me to stop my previous routine of commuting to the office and working with colleges, I have found it critical to simulate a similar schedule while I’m at home.
Here is the steps to keep the routine:
- Getting up everyday at a fixed hour and having my morning coffee before 9am helps me start the day fresh and energized.
- Then I use a daily planner to write down what I need to accomplish today. I have found writing things down the old school way is very powerful. This makes sure I won’t forget things I need to finish, and also keep my tasks more organized. I don’t have to necessarily finish everything I write down, but I do make sure to record what I have finished today and what needs to be finished tomorrow or the rest of the week.
- During lunch hour, I make sure I have lunch at my regular time. If I am too busy and skip lunch, my afternoon will feel less productive.
- Then in the afternoon, I make sure I take a break for a tea or for a walk in the yard. Having regular breaks makes sure I recharge and makes me more productive.
👉🏽 Chi is a 5’2″ fashion enthusiast, 5’2″ founder of Petite Dressing, a fashion community that connects fashionista and supports positive body image and self love.
Do Something Good, Stay Positive
How do you stay positive while self-isolating? How can you use your time inside for good? It’s tempting to use this time at home to binge-watch everything on Netflix, but why not make something of it? There are so many activities, personal development books to read, passion projects, hobby ideas, and skills worth learning while self-isolating. You don’t even have to spend, there are countless free printables and courses to help you. How will you use this time?
- Do What You’ve Always Wanted
- Use This Time for Good
- Pursue Self-Improvement
- Dance is the Best Medicine
- Get a Good Dose of Laughter
- Find Reasons to Laugh
- Just Be A Kid Again
#16. Do What You’ve Always Wanted
Dr. Douglas Moll, PsyD
Do things you’ve been wanting to do but didn’t have the time.
This is a great time to get things done that you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have the time. Find your to-do lists and New Year’s resolutions that you forgot about and start working on them. Take that online course, clean out the garage, read that novel, sort out your closets — the list is endless of things you can do from home. This will help you stay busy and it will get your mind off all the bad news for a while, and you’ll be left with a good feeling because you accomplished something.
Use this time to discover what’s really important in your life. It’s not often that the whole world basically stops. There are some terrible things happening as a result of this pandemic, but often a time of crisis gives us an opportunity to discover what is really important in our lives. When we are cut off from the people and things that we love, it makes us appreciate them all the more, and it may lead us to re-prioritize how we live our lives after this crisis is over.
Instead of spending all our time at work trying to get ahead, or obsessing over how many likes we get on our social media posts, for example, we just may decide that spending quality time with family and friends, or volunteering to help those in need, are more meaningful ways we can spend our time.
👉🏽 Dr. Douglas Moll, PsyD is a psychologist in Cincinnati, OH. and is a medical advisor for eMediHealth. He has been practicing for over 15 years.
#17. Use This Time for Good
teacher and online tutor
So you’re isolated at home in quarantine, keeping you and other people safe. You’re doing great, and that’s the important thing.
But there are a lot of ways to keep yourself sane while keeping yourself away from others. Video chats are, for one, are effective to ward off that cabin fever. It is still different from being with someone in the flesh, but seeing another person can be refreshing.
Isolation isn’t that bad. Use this time to read a book, watch a movie, or pursue a passion.
This also a good time to meditate. Find your center and let go of any baggage you may have.
👉🏽 Mike Hanski is a teacher and online tutor for high school students with Bid4Papers.
#18. Pursue Self-Improvement
The Anxious Mum
I think it’s wise to (if you can) use this period of social distancing and self-isolation as a time of self-improvement. That’s why I am setting small, time-sensitive and measurable goals (or S.M.A.R.T goals) for things that I’ve always had on the back burner but haven’t had the time.
I find myself staying sane (enough!) while social distancing by having something to pull my focus on.
My overall goal is pretty large so I work at it a small amount each day, meaning I have something to distract myself with.
👉🏽 Renee at This Anxious Mum writes all things mental health and organised parenting.
#19. Dance is the Best Medicine
author of TranscenDANCE
Staying sane means staying close to everything that brings health and happiness. For me, that’s dancing and connecting with others. Dancing and community was the medicine I needed to heal from a lifetime of depression.
Just after publishing a book that detailed my dance with recovery, shelter in place orders were issued. As a result, the dancing activities and events I relied on to release stress, cultivate happiness, and connect with like-minded tribe members were canceled. As someone who lives alone and works from home, I feared this change could significantly and negatively impact my mental health status. Rather than forgoing dancing and communing with others as the healing salve it is, I turned to technology to stay connected and keep dancing.
While unconventional, our mid-week virtual dance parties, social distance style enabled me to chat and dance virtually with friends and strangers alike. Attendees were grateful for the time and space to let loose, dance through anxiety, and be in the energy of support, healing, and joy. During these uncertain times, it’s important to feel that we are not alone and rely on the support of the Universe as the greatest dance partner there is.
👉🏽 Melissa Drake is the author of TranscenDANCE: Lessons From Living, Loving, and Dancing, a book that details her recovery from depression through dance. She’s also a TEDx Speaker with 25 years of corporate experience. Her TEDx Talk, “The Dance of Collaboration,” presents fresh insights on the benefits of collectively beneficial collaborations. As the founder of Uncorped Influence, Melissa helps like-minded businesses and individuals find solutions and go further than they thought possible.
#20. Get a Good Dose of Laughter
online stress management coach
I make time to do some of my favorite things and to laugh! Laughter is a medicine that keeps me emotionally and mentally strong during this major disruption in my life. It’s called self-care, and now more than ever, we all need to excel at self-care.
One thing I enjoy is spending time outdoors in my garden taking care of my palm trees and my spinach patch. Both are low-maintenance plants, which is just up my alley. 🙂
For a good dose of laughter, I spend some time looking at Golden Girl re-runs. No one gets me laughing like Sophia. (LOL)
Finally, staying virtually connected is one way to avoid getting upset, frustrated, irritable, or angry because I can’t go out or do certain things for an extended period of time because of social distancing.
Thankfully, we can ALL stay virtually connected because we have this amazing thing called technology that allows us to connect without being in the same room. I am putting technology to full use and staying virtually connected.
It’s ironic, but thanks to all of this social distancing, we now have to connect virtually more than ever, for homeschooling and working from home.
👉🏽 Darlene is an online stress management coach who helps career and self-employed women conquer chronic stress and overcome whatever life throws at them. Darlene delivers top-tier digital products and services that have allowed committed women to face their challenges without losing steam. She shares How to Change Your Life and Be Happy.”
#21. Find Reasons to Laugh
Mental Health columnist at E-Counselling
Looking for reasons to laugh is saving my sanity during the Social Distancing Era. My mood lightens or remains pleasant when I take the time to ask myself “What’s wrong with this picture?” and then poke fun at it. Comedians do that on a professional basis (John Oliver is an Olympic champion with that).
Before I begin feeling trapped, isolated, or even alone, I look out the window and imagine funny remarks that I can make about the cleaner skyline (“Factories have shut down across the nation and unemployed people are breathing easier for that!”). I’ve issued fake traffic reports to friends by E-mail, too, such as “Breaking News: Intersections are clogged with oxygen as commuters gaze from their front windows on cops driving in circles. They can find anyone to ticket and can’t meet monthly quotas. Tune in again 20 minutes from now to find out if pedestrians are being pursued for breathing fresh air in their own front yards!”
I also minimize a sense of loneliness by calling people to live conversations. I intentionally make my voice sound light-hearted. That prompts listeners to respond as if they’re smiling, too. We share our misery, and ideas for perking up again. To keep things light, we share jokes, talk about funny memes on social media, and laugh with each other. We also make plans for getting together after the crisis ends.
Humor is my sanity-saver. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with staying indoors too much, I play the Mission Impossible theme. Then I clean out another drawer, closet, cupboard or do another home repair. All my lightbulbs are shining brightly, loose pot handles have been tightened, and dust bunnies have died and disappeared from under all the furniture. I’ve handled all the tasks that were put off until I had the time to do them. Next up: watching funny videos such as by Michael McIntyre, Jean Robertson’s comic presentations and the Two Thousand Year Old Man’s remarks. My goal is to be laughing my way until Social Distancing ends.
👉🏽 Yocheved Golani is a Mental Health columnist at E-Counselling.
#22. Just Be A Kid Again
hypnotherapist, Mind Your Subconscious
Normally, you look forward to happy hour, fun plans on the weekend or an adventurous holiday. Now that these are currently out the window, take yourself back to when you were a kid.
Remember how as kids we were excited and fearless because we didn’t judge, analyze, care, or think too much. Our conscious minds had not been developed yet and we were living solely with our subconscious minds: free from worries about the future, free from past pain.
As kids, we lived in the present moment. We were able to find joy in the simplest things. With amazement, we followed a bird flying by, our tiny little fingers pointing at it. We painted, sang, and danced our hearts out without caring about what other people would think of us. As kids, we got creative, invented games, and talked to imaginary friends. We also spoke our truth.
Think about how you can be more like a kid. Smell your food. Feel its texture. Explore its taste. Start writing. See where it goes. Turn up your favorite songs and dance or sing. Draw something. Invent a game.
Think less. Be in the moment. Be a kid.
👉🏽 After her first hypnosis session, Jennifer Schlueter quit her job as Managing Editor of 22 newspapers and is currently traveling the world while working online. She then became a hypnotherapist herself, freeing others from limiting beliefs, suicidal thoughts, and anti-depressants. Empowering others to create a life better than their dreams is what she’s known for. Connect with her at Mind Your Subconscious.
Be Compassionate, Take Care Of Yourself
Are you feeling stressed and anxious while you’re stuck inside? Is the self-isolating hard on your emotional and mental wellness? It’s okay, you’re not the only one. You need to take care of yourself and be compassionate to your circumstances. Here are daily techniques and self-care strategies to help you stay sane.
- Practice Feeling Grounded
- Self-Sooth With Self-Havening
- Make Time For Self-Relationship
- Keep a Reflection Journal
- Engage in Self-Care
- Use Daily Self-Affirmations
#23. Practice Feeling Grounded
Co-founder & Director of Content, All Mental Health
When we’re feeling anxious (like when we’re refreshing the news over and over) we can feel disconnected from our bodies and surroundings. It can feel like our muscles are supercharged, our hands are tingly, and we aren’t really noticing what’s around us.
Feeling grounded is the opposite; it means that we experience stability, awareness, and connection to ourselves and our surroundings. Research has shown that spending time noticing a physical object can help us move from that anxious state to a more grounded one.
For this practice, look around you. Choose some sort of physical object that you can hold in your hands and observe.
- First, notice how your object looks. What color or colors does it have? Smooth? Can you see through it? How large or small is it?
- Feel your object in your hands. Is it light or heavy? Cold or warm?
- Does your object have a smell? Is it pleasant or unpleasant? Strong or subtle?
- If it’s food, go ahead and taste it. Is it salty? Sweet? Bitter?
- Now, put your object down.
Take a moment to notice how you feel. It’s possible you’ll feel a little more present, or a little more in control.
This tip is a grounding practice based in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, offered by our nonprofit All Mental Health. It’s part of our guide to help support people’s mental health.
👉🏽 Ryann has been working in the mental health field for the last 10 years, through both direct service work and evidence-based content creation. During her clinical internship, Ryann created and delivered curriculum for the Living and Recovery Community’s first mental health education program. She maintains a private trauma-informed yoga practice, focused on supporting students with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. In 2017, she piloted UCSF/USF’s first on-campus Yoga as Healing series.
#24. Self-Sooth With Self-Havening
The “HIListically Speaking” Health Coach
Self-Havening is a wonderful self-soothing tool that uses the modality of touch and pleasant distraction (affirmations, singing, visualization) to alter one’s thoughts, moods, and behaviors when upsets arise. From physical and emotional discomfort to lack of focus and confidence, it is neuroscience at its best.
Havening Techniques is a psycho-sensory approach that heals the brain from unpleasant feelings that surface. While it can be facilitated and applied by the practitioner, the option of self-Havening puts the power of healing in one’s own hands by the application of touch to specific areas of the face, arms and hands. This creates slow-moving and calming delta waves in the brain and boosts the “happy chemicals” (oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine) that bring about a better state be being. Anxious and stressful feelings can diminish in just a few minutes when the technique is applied and a sense of calm is restored.
👉🏽 Hilary Russo, The “HIListically Speaking” Health Coach, is a certified Havening Techniques Practitioner, certified Holistic Health Coach and health/wellness journalist. She currently hosts “Healthy Communities News”, a monthly health travel show for CVSHealth and can also be seen regularly on the live-streaming daily fitness show “Daily Burn 365”. She’s a communications professor at St John’s University in NYC.
#25. Make Time For Self-Relationship
My #1 tip for staying sane while social distancing is making time each day for self-relationship and self-care. During normal times it can be hard to remember to make time for checking in and talking with yourself, but this is always important, even more so when you are alone during times of social distancing.
You should take time each day to check in with yourself and your emotions and ask yourself what you need that day to feel good about the day and yourself. Then take the time to make sure you include your needs in the day. This is a great way to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself and learn how to take care of yourself in a positive way.
👉🏽 Stacy Caprio is a business coach, life coach, and marketing guru, who loves helping people design their ideal lives and careers.
#26. Keep a Reflection Journal
Blogger, Lifestyle Anytime
Keeping a reflection journal is my number one thing for keeping sane during social distancing and social isolation between home and workplace. There are many types of journals, a reflection journal is a way to self reflect on your day or what is happening around you.
A reflection journal is often recommended for self-healing, as it is a place to process information and gain some clarity. I find there are many benefits of daily reflections. It is a way to express negative thoughts and emotions, it’s an outlet for expressing frustration and a place to share the positives of the day. Writing in a reflective journal is effectively you self coaching yourself as you learn from past experiences and discover what went well and what didn’t.
The process of reflection, learning and discovering ways to improve relationships, situations, reactions all lead to personal growth. One of the benefits of writing your feelings and emotions towards what is happening now is it helps you accept and work through difficult times.
👉🏽 Angie blogs about setting goals and mastering habits as well as productivity and living abroad. She started blogging while learning the skills to start an online business. Her goal to work online came about due to wanting to see overseas family and travel around Australia. Her mission is to help others succeed with their goals. Angie often shares tips and tricks while walking the beaches or near the lake on the Central Coast NSW Australia. Angie shares how to Start a Personal Journal.
#27. Engage in Self-Care
digital wellness coach
With many of us working from home and practicing social distancing, we’ll likely be finding ourselves with more time than we’re used to in our homes and otherwise. With the state of things, some of us may also be feeling higher levels of anxiety or loneliness. To counter these feelings, there are a variety of things you can do to stay sane while social distancing.
My biggest tip? Engage in self-care that doesn’t include scrolling through your phone or watching Netflix. Whether that means reading a book, catching up on sleep, coloring or doodling–use this as a time to slow down, do less, and give yourself a break. And if you’re craving human connection, schedule a FaceTime date with your friend–but limit yourself to only that time on your phone and give them your FULL attention. This authentic connection is another form of self-care–reestablish how you think of it!
👉🏽 Liana Pavane is a digital wellness coach and founder of TTYL—a tech-free community dedicated to human connection. Liana founded TTYL in 2018 to help people have a healthier relationship with technology and social media. Since launching, she has been featured on Thrillist, TimeOut, Thrive Global, NY1, The Mind’s Journal, Darling Magazine, and more for her work in digital wellness. As a professional community builder, Liana believes in the power of unplugging and living in the present moment.
#28. Use Daily Self-Affirmations
Hold the Moments
I use daily affirmations to find inner peace and stay sane. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you move past and overcome negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, you will believe them, and hopefully, make positive changes. Self-affirmation has even been shown to help reduce stress. I have some taped to my bedroom mirror and repeat them to myself daily after I have meditated.
You might be thinking that affirmations are unrealistic or just “wishful thinking.” But look at it this way: you do repetitive exercises to improve your physical body (I.e. lifting weights, doing sit-ups and push-ups). So why can’t you do repetitive exercises for your mental health? It’s worth it to give it a try!
👉🏽 Rachel is a law-enforcement wife, stay-at-home mom, and former teacher. She resides in Arizona with her husband and son. Rachel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Education, and a full Gifted Teaching Endorsement. She is the owner and writer of holdthesemoments.com. Rachel shares 20 Affirmations for Inner Peace During Trying Times.
Shift Your Focus, Change Your Mindset
Having trouble with negative thoughts? Stuck in a worried and troubling mindset? To stay sane while self-isolating inside you need to shift your focus to the positive. Find something to give you gratitude, joy and even happiness at this time. Shift your mindset from the present chaos with the following strategies.
- Perceive Isolation as Solitude
- Go Inside, Do Soul Work
- Reframe Your Mindset
- Know Who You Want to Be
- Be Respectful and Understanding
- Stop Counting Numbers
- Look at the Bigger Picture
- Remember, We’re All In This Together
#29. Perceive Isolation as Solitude
Personal Development Blogger
I understand that social distancing and self-isolation can be a challenge for many people but I often try to perceive isolation as solitude. Isolation is oppressive while solitude is an opportunity to be introspective and creative. It allows you to disconnect from the noise and really listen to your own thoughts. It could also be a time to reassess your purpose, set goals and plan for the future. I believe mindset and resilience play a really big part in overcoming what people perceive as distancing and isolation.
As for work, I clock on and off as I do at a normal job, and set clear boundaries at home. Connecting with loved ones could always be done via messaging or face time so that’s never been a problem. It’s very important to check in on your loved ones and remind them that, despite the distance, that we’re all in this together.
Self-care is also essential when self-distancing and there are many ways to do this such as reading, playing music, writing, Netflix, learning a new skill and exercise, just to name a few.
Being introverted also helps!
👉🏽 Corinne Rootsey is a blogger from Australia, with a focus on personal finance and personal development. She was broke and depressed until she decided to turn her life around, consequently becoming a multi-property investor and a blogger. In her spare time, she loves playing her guitar and reading. Connect with her at My Jearney.
#30. Go Inside, Do Soul Work
There’s a saying, “If you can’t go outside, go inside.” I stay sane while social distancing by taking time to go inside and release my negative thoughts, emotions, and all my resistance about this lockdown and self-isolating situation. We all understand that fear is the oldest survival mechanism we have. But it doesn’t always help us. Most of the time, fear, anger, and other negative emotions keep us stuck.
The entire world needs healing right now. And I take this opportunity to do a little soul work while we give the world a chance to catch its breath. I give myself permission to stop and be. This gives me the power to heal the body-mind. I allow myself to be a healing force for myself, my loved ones, and the planet just by releasing my unwanted emotions.
Through my releasing process, when the strong emotion arises, it’s gently dissolved to a level that enables me to continue to think, listen, and respond rationally. Healing already exists all around us, and inside of us, and it’s working way beyond what we know with our local minds.
👉🏽 Ade Aprilia is a healing coach and the author of almost 100 books about personal and creative growth, including some national best-selling books in Indonesia. She helps men and women find their truest selves through self-love.
#31. Reframe Your Mindset
Dr. Patricia Celan
psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University
One way to manage the challenges of social distancing is by reframing it in your mind. Focus not on feeling “trapped/stuck” while “forced” to work from home, but on being “safe” while “allowed” to work from home. For those in essential services, focus on the gratitude you notice from people you are helping by still going to work.
Don’t tell yourself your life is ruined and you can’t do anything, but rather that you’re taking a break from your everyday life; see it as an opportunity to do things you previously couldn’t because of your many obligations prior to social distancing, such as trying new hobbies or completing unfinished tasks.
Finally, when reframing this solitude in your mind, remind yourself daily that all of this is temporary – appreciate the calm while it lasts, and look forward to your eventual return to normal life.
👉🏽 Dr. Patricia Celan is a psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University. She completed her M.D. at the University of British Columbia. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
#32. Know Who You Want to Be
certified life coach & personal development expert
This is what has worked for me to stay sane while social distancing. Picture what you want to do and who you want to be when all of this will be over!
I think that this is the “pause” or “reset” button of our life. Take the time to list all the things you want to do but also, all the things you want to BE when all of this will be over!
Ask yourself questions such as:
- What are the things that you really want to do?
- What people do you really like hanging out with?
- Also, how do you want to show up?
- How do you want to be remembered?
Picturing the “after” is going to keep you sane while all of this. It’s a chance to stop and think of how we are doing things and who we truly are. This will help you stay sane because you know that there will be an after and it’s going to be a fresh start for anyone who wants to!
👉🏽 Tamara Pflug is a certified life coach & personal development expert, she’s the owner of Personal Development Zone. She’s passionate about helping millennials (like her!) reach their full potential and become more self-confident. Through her blog and podcast, you can learn how to bring your hidden confidence out and start living the life you want to live!
#33. Be Respectful and Understanding
Dr. Giuseppe Aragona
medical advisor for Prescription Doctor
Talking to your friends about social distancing can be difficult, but it is essential. Unfortunately, many people are in a position where they cannot take time from work, or work in an industry that is still ‘running’. If they are in this situation, be supportive and encouraging, let them know you understand and help them stay safe whilst they carry out their routines. If they can stay at home, talk about ‘flattening the curve’ and explain that staying at home where possible will help the vulnerable. Be respectful and understanding always.
Being vocal on social media about what people are doing while social distancing will help others feel that they can do the same, and also be productive when they are in the house. Having resources you can turn to and give to friends will both help them feel more comfortable with the idea, as well as allow you to feel they are in a safer position to not leave the house.
This works for you, just as much as them. A lot of my friends are now using the Houseparty phone app to have group chats or organize a friend quiz once a week. Facetime isn’t a direct replacement but it can help raise morale and keep people’s spirits up.
👉🏽 Dr. Giuseppe Aragona is a medical advisor for Prescription Doctor. He is a qualified GP/Family Doctor, and is based in Bolton, United Kingdom. His medical training took place mainly in Italy, with further medical training taking place in the UK.
#34. Stop Counting Numbers
Creator, Meraki Musings
I started working on my personal goals. Started daily yoga, meditation and drinking more water. I am not counting numbers right now for my blog etc, instead, I am just going with the flow. Taking one step at a time and do the next right thing.
It seems we are more connected with our friends and family during this social distancing. We are doing more video calls, chatting with family members and getting to know how’s everyone doing in their life. It feels really good to embrace this silence and slowing things down for a while. I am trying to spread as much positivity as I can to my community and the message not to fear this situation.
Rather, this is a time for personal and private retreat, planning your blog and business and start like a boss when everything gets back to normal. We are in this together and this too shall pass. In the end everything is good. I am keeping myself aware and positive during this chaos. Again, we must stop counting numbers right now.
👉🏽 Nilakshi is the creator of merakimusings.org. Besides being a self-love and personal development blogger she is a wife and an inspirational coach who helps the creative over-thinkers to get back into the track. She inspires others to live their life in a more positive way by cultivating self-love with ease and grace.
#35. Look at the Bigger Picture
Just Being Monica
I have stopped watching the news, reduced my time on social media, exercise, tripled my meditation time, listen to motivational podcasts, and Facetime my family daily to check how they are doing. Every day, I follow a routine and choose to focus on the positive. I try to look at the bigger picture, practice gratitude and feel blessed for all I have.
👉🏽 Monica Rezende of Just Being Monica is a working single mom on a mission to help others to overcome hardships and turn their lives around. Monica’s goal is to inspire and motivate you to get out of your comfort zone and claim the life you deserve. Monica provides openhearted and valuable content to assist you in reaching your full potential and hopefully touch your heart. She lives in Canada with her daughter and two dogs.
#36. Remember, We’re All In This Together
Dr. Kris Boksman, Ph.D., C.Psych.
clinical psychologist, Limestone Clinic
My #1 tip is to remember that we are all in this together. While social distancing feels very weird and is a serious hardship for many, I know that we are doing this for all the right reasons. I stress to my children, who both have birthdays coming up in early April, who miss their friends, and who we can’t take to the store to shop for a birthday present, that we are all doing this to help contain the spread of the virus.
In this way, we are being as socially responsible as possible, and staying home is a very meaningful work we are doing. We are protecting our neighbors, our seniors, our loved ones and family, and most importantly, we are conserving our medical resources so that the people who will need to see the doctors can do so. If everybody stays home, we can all remain well and give our nurses, doctors, and hospitals what they need to handle this new virus – time. I can feel pretty good about that. For me, the rest is just details.
👉🏽 Dr. Kris Boksman, Ph.D., C.Psych. is a clinical psychologist in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She owns and directs a mental health clinic called Limestone Clinic.
“While social distancing feels very weird and is a serious hardship for many, I know that we are doing this for all the right reasons.” @DrBoksman
Staying Sane While Social-Distancing and Self-Isolating
How are you feeling now? Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you have to be stuck. Take this time to focus on yourself, on giving yourself exactly what you need.
Instead of seeing everything you’re missing out on, focus on everything you’re now able to do.
Use this time to slow down, to refocus in and connect with yourself.
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Please remember to be sure to seek professional help if you need it.
During these trying times, your sanity is just as important as your safety.
Please be patient and understanding with others. We all need to be extra kind and focused on all aspects of our health.
Do you feel lonely, stressed or anxious in self-isolation? Click here for 36 ways to stay sane while social distancing. Staying safe is about mental health too! #StayAtHome #StuckInside #MentalHealthClick To Tweet
How do you stay sane while social distancing?