Leave it to humanity to find ways to stay entertained, whilst contained. Over the past weeks, my Instagram feed has been graced by a plethora of push-up challenges, TikTok dances, and community sing-alongs. Pandemic-induced social media addiction has fully taken over, as we collectively fight the withdrawals of “social distancing.” The overstimulated culture we live in drives us to keep busy and moving (even when forced, quite literally, to #StayatHome). There’s much to be said for the morale boost of fun and games; but are we losing sight of the bigger picture?
Mother Nature – or your local governments, depending on your perspective – just handed us a reset called quarantine. The earth is healing due to a forced break from manufacturing and over-production. Venice canals are clear for the first time in 60 years. Nitrogen dioxide levels are 10-30% lower in China according to NASA, giving the country blue skies again.
Yet we, as the human race, refuse to heal.
We’re not used to boredom, so boredom is all the more prevalent. According to estimates, most Americans are medically addicted to their phones, causing a heightened craving for dopamine and a desire for constant entertainment. This addition is reflected in our lifestyle choices; our schedules are packed, our kids are signed up for every extra-curricular; saying no is just about the only thing we’ll say no to. It’s no surprise we’re facing unprecedented levels of anxiety, depression, and suicide; we can’t keep up with ourselves.
Trapped in our homes, we’re tempted to continue the trend. But nature is giving us an opportunity to return to calm, clear waters and blue skies. Shouldn’t we take it?
Here are five activities to heal your mind, body and soul during quarantine:
1. Take a morning sabbatical from social media.
If going without your phone for days seems like an impossible challenge, start by keeping your phone off until noon each morning. Giving your mind a chance to wake and adjust naturally will improve your focus and peace of mind. As Alex Lickermann suggests in “The Effective Use of Silence” published in Psychology Today, silence is one of the most powerful self-growth tools available to us. Use this time to invest in yourself and embrace the quiet.
2. Journal a weekly list of priorities, and stick to it.
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh acutely observes that when we feel stressed, we’re either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Instead of allowing what’s out of our control to cloud our focus, declutter your mind with a weekly list of 3-5 priorities. If it’s not on the list, do your best to avoid investing energy into it. Especially during times of anxiety, staying centered in the present is a game-changer.
3. Stretch your body for 30 minutes each day.
According to the late neuropharmacologist Candace Pert, the “body is your subconscious mind. Our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience.” The tension you’ve been carrying around from financial anxiety, and social isolation is hiding in your body. Confront it by stretching. Instead of worrying about losing weight or bulking up during this time, embrace slow and intentional movements. Beginner barre, yoga, and ballet are all free and YouTube-able.
4. Treat food as medicine.
A study by dietitians in the American Journal of Health Behavior found that our largest obstacle to eating clean is the 9-5 work schedule. People simply don’t feel they have enough time to plan, cook, and consume for health instead of convenience. Thanks to quarantine, we now have plenty of time. With so many free meal plans available online (this one here is a great resource), it’s easier than ever to find healthy, delicious options. Lean into this reset, and clear out the junk!
5. Find a cause you care about, and become an e-volunteer.
The best way to feel connected is to serve. As doors shut due to lockdowns, the hardest hit organizations are non-profits. Volunteering is the last thing on most people’s minds during this time of crisis, but even in isolation we must remember the importance of community. Thousands of groups providing food, shelter and other necessities depend on our support. Reward Volunteers suggests the following ways of giving your time through “e-Volunteering”:
- Website design or support
- Data entry
- Email marketing or management
- Fundraising phone calls and outreach
- Social media promotion and management
- Volunteer tracking
- Copywriting, blogging or editing
- Graphic design
- Marketing or branding assistance
- Video creation
- Virtual assistance
Whether you’re passionate about animals, the homeless, orphans, or needy families; we are better together, even while social distancing.
Let’s Stay Connected.
If this article resonated with you, follow me on Instagram and let me know how you’re handling quarantine. Find me afternoon PST, (before which I’m on my “morning social media sabbatical”), and I’ll be sure to respond!