3 ways to improve your mental health amid a pandemic

Painting%2C+exercising%2C+and+dieting+constitute+ways+to+stay+in+control+of+one%27s+life+in+a+time+when+everything+seems+out+of+control.+Doing+what+one+can+to+improve+their+mental+health+in+a+time+where+social+distancing+creates+normality+can+produce+differences+when+it+comes+to+one%27s+mental+state.+%E2%80%9CExercising+helps+me+relieve+stress+and+deal+with+anxiety+in+a+healthy+way.+The+adrenaline+produced+when+exercising+helps+me+feel+like+I+am+lifting+all+the+weight+off+of+my+shoulders%2C%E2%80%9D+NC+freshman+Carson+Walker+said.

Amber Roldan

Painting, exercising, and dieting constitute ways to stay in control of one's life in a time when everything seems out of control. Doing what one can to improve their mental health in a time where social distancing creates normality can produce differences when it comes to one's mental state. “Exercising helps me relieve stress and deal with anxiety in a healthy way. The adrenaline produced when exercising helps me feel like I am lifting all the weight off of my shoulders,” NC freshman Carson Walker said.

Amber Roldan, Staff

 As closures and cancellations pile up on top of each other, people around the globe become confined and quarantined within their homes. The virus that quickly spiraled into a pandemic already closed hundreds of schools, restaurant chains, and places of worship worldwide. Self-isolation and social distancing has emerged as the new normal throughout the world. While limited human contact presents its challenges, it also provides overwhelming benefits, as the time spent at home allows room for personal growth and mental health improvement. 

With the emergence of the pandemic, a new type of anxiety referred to as “coronavirus anxiety” begins to emerge and starts affecting people worldwide. This abnormal version of the common nervous disorder roots from the overwhelming amounts of news received about coronavirus. Pandemics have surfaced multiple times preceding the coronavirus outbreak, but this event constitutes the first time anxiety has manifested in such a ubiquitous way. This anxiety resulted from the impact of social media on the pandemic due to news spreading faster than ever before. The universal fear caused grocery stores globally to sell out of everyday necessities such as water and toilet paper. Healthier alternatives to stockpiling toilet paper and canned foods exist, allowing people to cope with their coronavirus anxieties and fears in healthy ways. Below consists merely three easy ways to improve your mental health from home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Exercise

When posed with the task of staying home, an extraordinary opportunity to lose weight and get in shape surfaces. Exercise not only helps one look better, but it also helps them feel better: a recent study conducted by “Health Direct” proved that exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that work to improve your mood. This brain stimulus of boosted happiness allows personal growth in the realm of mental health. With COVID-19 closing esteemed fitness chains including LA Fitness, Lifetime and Planet Fitness worldwide, athletes and fitness enthusiasts now must transition to home-based exercises and workouts. 

The inability to leave one’s home poses one with the challenge of finding sufficient activities to fill their schedule with to cease from succumbing to the boredom the coronavirus has imposed. At home, exercise can range from utilizing the family treadmill to practicing repetition on your favorite cardio workout. The lack of accessible workout equipment should not stand as a barrier to stop someone from exercising. It should inspire them to find creative home-based workouts to stay in shape while improving your mental health while stuck at home. 

Paint

Art in all forms acts as outlets for artists to channel their inner creativity and manifest a tangible representation of their innermost fears and feelings. Painting constitutes one of the innumerable ways to stay busy during quarantine while working on improving one’s mental health during the practice of social distancing. Painting serves as a type of therapeutic treatment referred to as  Creative Therapy, utilized when treating depression and anxiety cases. Painting as this type of therapy allows one to express themself while also getting in touch with their feelings. Painting tends to serve as a soothing activity and creates the perfect opportunity to occupy one’s time while social distancing. This could look like painting a canvas, painting your nails, or if possible, even sprucing up a room in your house with a fresh coat of paint.

“Painting is a great way to express myself without having to use words, and in the end, you end up with something that you can be proud of creating. Quarantine offers a great time to indulge yourself in painting, just because we are physically stuck at home doesn’t mean our minds cant travel,” NC sophomore Lauren Sloan said.

Start a new diet

With the coronavirus closing countless US restaurants and fast-food chains, Americans become forced to prepare and consume home-cooked meals. Staying home provides the opportunity to begin eating healthier and dieting. Pantries around the world right now appear packed due to the fear of getting stuck inside for weeks on end. Instead of filling one’s fridge with unhealthy junk food, one can take advantage of eating at home by filling their fridges with healthier meal options to improve one’s mental health while social distancing. 

Healthy diets can range anywhere from cutting out carbs, going gluten-free, replacing sugary desserts with fruits or even attempting to start intermittent fasting. The possibilities remain endless, and new eating habits not only contribute to improving mental health but will also assist in helping one look and feel better. Healthier eating habits also allow your immune system to become stronger which reduces the chances of contracting the coronavirus. 

Incorporating all of these healthy habits into one’s daily life while stuck at home allows room for personal growth in the realm of mental health. Although the coronavirus brings with it countless struggles and challenges, it also introduces a multitude of outlets to increase creativity offering numerous ways to improve one’s mental health from the comfort of their home.