This global pandemic has turned daily life (as we knew it) right on its head. Weddings have been postponed, birthdays are celebrated in solitude, and this Mother’s Day, moms will be honored from afar. These precautions, intended to stop the spread of disease, are indeed the safe, healthy, and moral thing to do. But it’s not easy spending so much time in isolation, away from our friends, family, and favorite social hobbies. Shelter-in-place orders also have far-reaching financial implications, causing many Americans to lose their jobs, refinance loans, and cut down on spending. Fears surrounding financial well-being intensify feelings of insecurity, despair, and anxiety.

Without the option to return to normal, every-day hobbies and work, some people are feeling restless. While some individuals would benefit from taking this time to slow down, get some much-needed rest, and give themselves permission to be “unproductive,” this type of self-care does not work for everyone. We all cope differently. Some people find that staying busy truly is their own unique form of self-care. If you’re one of those people, and you’re looking for mental health care tips during quarantine, read for some ideas on how to stay engaged when the world seems to have slowed to a grinding halt.

Home Maintenance

One of the most powerful mental health care tips professionals offer to those suffering from depression or anxiety is to find a small task that can be accomplished easily and quickly. Checking something off your to-do list, getting a small win, is a sure-fire way to get that natural hit of dopamine we need to stay motivated.

If you’re like most busy Americans, you have a long list of home maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off. Some of these jobs are going to be quicker and easier than others; for instance, major roof repair may not be the ideal choice if you’re inexperienced. But maybe your bathroom needs a fresh coat of paint, your HVAC filter is due for a replacement, or your impact sliding glass door is looking a bit grimy. All three of these small tasks can be completed in an afternoon. As you check off your list, getting a small dose of dopamine each time, you’ll be more and more motivated to take on bigger tasks. But remember to pace yourself; your whole house does not need to be repaired in one week or even one month. Trying to tackle everything at once will only leave you exhausted, stressed, and disappointed if you can’t finish your whole list.

Yardwork

Devoted gardeners and outdoors enthusiasts know that one of the best mental health care tips out there is surrounding yourself with nature. Spending time in green space or bringing nature into everyday life has been proven to improve a person’s mood, reduce stress, and boost self-esteem. Calming nature sounds can even lower blood pressure and levels of the hormone cortisol, which regulates the body’s fight-or-flight response.

Whether you have a big, sprawling yard or just a small space for a flower bed, taking care of your home’s outdoor space can give you a sense of purpose and keep your mind and body busy. With springtime upon us, there’s no better time to get outside and tend your yard. Weed your garden, plant some flowers or vegetables, prune your trees and bushes, or mow your lawn. The fresh air combined with the feeling of accomplishment will do wonders in those stir-crazy moments.

Design Your Dream Home

There may not be much you can do right now, and it’s important to remember that not only is it okay, but it’s only temporary. No, we don’t know what the future will look like in the wake of this pandemic, but some things never change. You will, of course, still need a place to call home. And if your current residence isn’t what you always envisioned, start planning out your dream home. You may not get it within the next month, year, or decade, but it’s really the planning that matters. Another of the great mental health care tips experts recommend is finding something to look forward to. Hope keeps us going.

Maybe the bones of your house are good and you’re not really into the idea of looking at new houses. In that case, start designing your dream remodeling project. Have you always wanted a sunroom or a lovely outdoor fireplace? If your kitchen is a bit outdated, start a Pinterest board for inspiration on your next kitchen remodel. White subway tile, stainless steel appliances, sleek granite countertops — just picturing your new space lifts your spirits even a little bit.

Maybe you are looking to invest in real estate. Starting thinking about all of your must-haves in a new home, like a sophisticated wine cellar in the basement or solar panels on the roof. Make a list, do some research. Finding and purchasing a new home is a time-consuming process. If you begin the process now, you’ll be in great shape when the time comes to look at listings.

Studies show that roughly 350 million people around the world are affected by some form of depression. As the global pandemic alters our daily lives, separates us from our friends and family, and causes widespread fear and uncertainty, people suffering from depression are finding it even harder to cope. People who’d never experienced mental health issues in the past may also be facing similar feelings of dread and hopelessness. It’s certainly a tough time for all, but there are things we can do to alleviate some of the discomfort.

Of course, staying busy and feeling productive aren’t the best mental health care tips for everyone. As Americans, we’re conditioned to believe that if we aren’t contributing to society, we aren’t living our best lives or proving our worth. The truth is your productivity does not define your value. So take these tips with a grain of salt and remember to listen to your body. If you need to rest, rest. If you need to accomplish something small, create something beautiful, or plan for the future, do it at your own pace.

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