Psychologist shares what not to do in the face of quarantine-related stress: 'It's a very common experience'
There is nothing easy about adjusting to life in quarantine. For the foreseeable future, everything we do — whether it’s work, exercise, socializing or sleeping — is done at home, and sometimes that can drive us to the point of insanity.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help make your life in quarantine feel more normal. With the help of Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, founder and host of “Therapy For Black Girls,” we’ve rounded up some ways you can develop a productive routine in quarantine and keep your mental health in check.
1. Follow a schedule
“If you can have a little bit of a schedule, it can really help for your days to kind of hang together better,” Dr. Harden Bradford told In The Know. This includes your sleep schedule too, so make sure you’re getting “restful and restorative sleep” every night.
2. Establish boundaries
Whether you are currently cohabitating with your kids, your spouse or roommates, Dr. Harden Bradford says it’s important to establish boundaries with everyone in the house.
“It can be helpful to post your work schedule so that people know when you’re going to be available and when you’re not going to be available,” she said.
3. Stay connected with friends and family
Just because you’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from the outside world. For the sake of your sanity, Dr. Harden Bradford recommends getting creative with how you connect with friends and family for the time being. Apps like Netflix Party and House Party make it easy to get together without actually getting together, so don’t be afraid to plan a virtual movie night or game night!
4. Allow yourself to feel sad, anxious or stressed
“There are also going to be some experiences of anxiety, loneliness, feelings of isolation, and it’s okay to allow for space for all of those things to exist,” Dr. Harden Bradford said. Most people’s lives have been turned upside-down, and so this is “a very common experience that lots of people are having.”
5. Build a coping kit
When you feel like your emotions are getting the better of you, Dr. Harden Bradford recommends building a “coping kit,” or “a collection of items that will help you to allow the intensity of those emotions to … dissipate for a little bit.” Some things you might want to include in your coping kit, according to Dr. Harden Bradford, are a candle, some lotion and pictures and letters that “help you to remember more pleasurable experiences.”
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