Staying home in the middle of a global pandemic can be tough. The sense of isolation, loss of control, and helplessness is devastating. The social and political unrest, like the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and the recent elections, add more to the distress and anxiety that we already feel. Studies have shown that depression, suicide ideation, and anxiety disorders have tripled in the past months and that the collective trauma and distress brought about by the pandemic can have lasting psychological effects that can manifest later in life. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an extensive list of ways to cope with the stress brought about by the pandemic, we would also like to give our own creative suggestions on how to manage your mental health.
Decorating Your House
Decorating, or redecorating, your house can be a great way to personalize and energize yourself. There have been so many studies that show how our room looks can affect the way we feel—from the way our furniture is arranged, how the colors of the rooms are added or painted, the number of windows, to natural light that enters our rooms. Because we are spending more time in our homes, why not make it as comfortable as possible?
1. Starting an indoor garden
Plants, especially indoor plants, have become a trending craze on social media, with more people buying and showing off their green thumb. It has become so viral that it has become a millennial cliché, along with avocado toast and vaping. Who wouldn’t be proud to show off their thriving Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant) or their collection of succulents? Indoor plants are also easy to take care of, so even beginner plant enthusiasts can nurture these plants and delight in their growth. Indoor plants not only add more color and vibrancy to the room, they also positively impact your mental health. They also encourage plant owners to look for more creative ways of storing them.
2. Working on a do-it-yourself project
Do-it-yourself projects have always been a great way of saving money, especially when you are very handy with tools and crafts. Even something as simple as repainting your bedroom wall or making a poster wall of your favorite franchise can be a great way to de-stress, and the sense of accomplishment that you get from finishing a project is a good dose of serotonin. You can even organize a big DIY project for the whole family.
Experimenting with Fashion
Being stuck at home should not be an excuse for not dressing well. Although it is comfortable to stay in sweatpants and a ratty old T-shirt, what you wear still affects how you feel. Why not think of staying home as a time to experiment with your style? Think of it this way: the only one who can judge what you are wearing is you. Some people have even worn their wedding dresses while playing with their kids and doing household chores and felt great because of it, so why can’t you?
Traveling these days can be stressful. There are many traveling protocols and restrictions to follow, and often being in quarantine can cut a huge chunk of your vacation time. But there are many ways to travel without stepping outside of your house. Video games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons have a multiplayer feature where you can visit a friend’s island and interact with them. Many museums such as the Louvre offer online tours. You can even walk in the streets of Tokyo if you want to.
Keeping a Bullet Journal
Keeping a bullet journal has been making a comeback. Different ways of keeping a journal have helped in boosting productivity and managing anxiety and depression. There are even communities that organize writing prompts to inspire and unite people from different walks of life. Writing is a great way to process and compartmentalize your thoughts and refocus on what you need to do, and it can also be a great way to be creative. All you need is a pen, a blank notebook, and your mind.
Taking care of your mental health, especially in the middle of a pandemic, can be tough. But there are many ways to manage your stress. From taking on a new hobby, starting a do-it-yourself project, to even learning how to make gourmet dishes—the possibilities are endless. The ones listed above are just some of the more creative ways to cope with stress in the midst of the pandemic.