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As you settle into a new routine of social distancing or self-quarantine, you may start to develop feelings of isolation, loneliness, or even sadness. This is completely normal given the situation! Now, more than ever, is a time to prioritize your mental health. If you feel up to it, here are some self-care exercises that you can try at home: 

1. Stick to a routine

Try to wake up around the same time you normally would. Make your bed and get dressed, even if it’s switching from one pair of sweatpants to another! You can maintain structure by creating an agenda that sets aside time for different activities. This will ensure that your days don’t melt together. 

2. Stay connected

As humans, we are designed for interaction and connection. Though you can’t be with your friends physically right now, take advantage of the technology that allows you to connect so easily. Send emails, talk on the phone, check in over text message, send each other memes on Insta, FaceTime, or learn new Tiktok dances together! You may also want to stay in contact with coaches, mentors, and teachers who are influential in your life. They can provide you with some extra grounding during this time. 

3. Start a project

When discovering self-care during quarantine, you may have more free time at home than you expected. If you’re feeling productive, tackle a project that you’ve been procrastinating. Learn that new song on the guitar, organize your closet, teach your pet new tricks, or cook dinner for your family. 

4. Take time to rest

If the thought of taking on a project overwhelms you, know that you don’t have to be productive during this time. Everyone deals with stress differently, and if resting feels right, you should do that. A pandemic is a big deal, and it’s okay if you need to use this time for sleeping, laying on the couch, and watching Tiger King. 

5. Spend time in nature

If possible, go to a nearby park (keeping 6 feet away from people, of course!) and breathe the fresh air. Close your eyes and listen to the birds, pay attention to the plants, and notice the insects buzzing nearby. Let this be nature’s way of comforting you. If the earth could speak, what would it say? The sun will rise again; the world is still spinning. It’s all going to be okay.

6. Start a journal

Keeping a journal can serve as a helpful tool in processing uncomfortable emotions. When you’re bored or stressed, take a minute to write down all your thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry about correct grammar or writing in complete sentences; the goal is to simply let out all your anxieties and frustrations. Remember that this is just temporary! Make a list of all the adventures you will have when this is over.

7. Fill your time with hobbies

Another way to practice self-care during quarantine: take on a new hobby, or rekindle an old one. If you can’t come up with any activities, connect with your inner child. What brought you joy as a little kid? Break out the art supplies, build a blanket fort, do puzzles, or make silly videos with your siblings. Express yourself!  

8. Stay active

Incorporating exercise into your routine will reduce stress and improve your sleep. Some ideas to get started: look up some at-home workouts on YouTube, practice daily yoga routines, ride your bike around your neighborhood, or go for a long walk with your family. 

9. Practice gratitude

Acknowledge all the things in your life that you are thankful for. This could be the food in your pantry, the toilet paper in your bathroom, or your friends and family who support you. Think of all the nurses, doctors, first responders, delivery drivers, grocery store workers, and so many more. Give thanks for all the people putting their safety at risk, and know that you are protecting them by staying home. 

10. Finish up the school year

We know that some of you might be overwhelmed at the thought of starting hobbies and projects, and that’s okay. It’s okay if your only goal throughout this pandemic is to finish out your semester. Do the best you can, and know that is a huge victory in itself! 

There’s no doubt, it’s strange adjusting to a new normal. At the end of the day, self-care is about doing the things that make you happy. Pandemics are scary and worrisome, so don’t feel like you have to “make the most” of this time if that doesn’t feel right for you. Everyone responds to anxiety and uncertainty differently, so be gentle with yourself.

We hope that these ideas inspire you to practice self-care during quarantine. To learn more about dealing with uncertainty, check out this article!