The novel coronavirus responsible for causing the disease COVID-19 has already forced millions of Americans out of work. The number of unemployment benefit requests has already skyrocketed over the last week, and things will only get worse. People who are unaccustomed to being alone inside their homes for weeks on end are experiencing a new level of stir-craziness. Introverts unite! This is what we know best. Let us help everyone else.
How can you stay happy, healthy, and sane during self-isolation?
First things first: STAY in isolation. Although not everyone is taking the dangerous viral outbreak seriously, you should. This disease is far deadlier than the seasonal flu, and the underlying virus is far more infectious. It’s likely even more contagious than the Spanish flu, which was the deadliest pandemic of the modern age. Don’t go out unnecessarily. Don’t visit with friends or family. You can spread the virus even while asymptomatic.
When we say don’t go out unnecessarily, it’s important you understand the meaning behind those words. To put them into perspective, you should still go outside whenever possible! Mental health is extremely important and can affect physical wellbeing too. You’re allowed to go outside for a walk or to enjoy the sunlight, which can provide a valuable dose of Vitamin D. Don’t congregate with others. If anyone else crosses your path, stay at least six feet away and avoid coughing if sick.
Dietary needs are important as well. Everyone obsesses over Vitamin C, but more than 100% of your daily value is wasted. Don’t down glass after glass of orange juice. All you’ll do is increase the amount of sugar in your diet with no real added benefit.
That said, you should continue to eat plenty of fruits and veggies daily. Avoid foods with added sugars or high fructose corn syrup. Stock up on dry goods like beans, rice, oats, and fiber-rich cereals. These will last the longest in storage. Frozen fruits and veggies store well and retain nutrients — so don’t feel the need to buy fresh produce more often. You don’t need it. Tortillas, tofu, yogurt, and kefir are all foods that keep for weeks without spoiling. Cheese and eggs are good options too.
Try to avoid too much screen time. Two or three hours of TV, video games, or phone use is plenty per 24-hour period. More will strain your eyes, decrease your energy, increase depression, and make it more difficult for you to sleep.
Make a routine and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Eat three square meals. Cook at least once a day. Exercise at a set time or when you’re feeling stir-crazy. Try to find time for something educational. Read. Listen to music. There are plenty of activities everyone loves! Find as many as you can, and stagger them throughout your schedule. You can do this!