I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that everything feels really weird right now. I have never lived through anything like this before. The CDC and many other helpful sources have offered great information on protecting your physical health during this pandemic, including hand washing and social distancing. The anxiety surrounding COVID-19 along with the isolation required to prevent its spread present a potent combination that can really take its toll on your mental health. While I am just a humble library associate and therefore cannot fix all of your problems, I have some suggestions that I will hopefully implement myself.
If you have the ability to exercise, the endorphins can really help keep you in a good headspace. Hoopla has some great workout videos, ranging from yoga to old school Richard Simmons, that can be done within the comfort of your own home. You can also pace around your apartment. Whatever floats your boat.
Reach out! This is a great time to get in touch with people you have not had the chance to talk to in a while. I am lucky enough to have friends all over the US, but we do not get to catch up much. Consequently, when we do talk, we talk for hours, so I typically save these conversations for weekends. It is very likely that your friends and family are isolating too, so they will be glad to hear from you, whether through phone calls or FaceTime.
Instead of spiraling, try to keep your mind busy. Your library is REALLY here to help you with this. The “Research and Learn” tab on our homepage has tons of things to do and learn, but to hit some highlights: CreativeBug is full of crafting tutorials for pretty much every kind of craft you can think of (cake decorating, painting, cross stitch, etc.). Transparent Language offers lessons and tests in over 100 languages (and even more dialects) to help you achieve that lingering lifelong goal of learning Welsh that you haven’t gotten around to yet. Universal Class lives up to its name, featuring courses in pretty much any topic you can think of. If you are looking to get more tech-savvy, Lynda.com offers classes on technology ranging from basic iPhone use to advanced web development.
I work in a library, so you know what I am about to say next: read! Even if you do not have a stock of physical books at home, you can access eBooks, magazines and audiobooks through our apps Hoopla, Libby and Rbdigital. This is also a great chance to explore some books you would not normally read. Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge offers 24 prompts to encourage you to read outside of your comfort zone. DBRL has a Facebook Page for our ReadHarderers, so it is also a great chance to connect.
This advice may seem a little ironic, but be sure to get your alone time. I am lucky enough to have a partner who I love very much, and I am glad to have some company while cooped up in my house. We are having fun watching movies together, reading together, cooking together, cleaning together, etc. With that said, for our individual and collective sanity, it is very important that we set aside time each day where we go into separate rooms and do separate things. Isolation can be challenging for the individual, but stir-craziness can take its toll on a relationship.
Give your house a good deep clean. The cleaner and nicer-smelling your house is, the easier it will be to be stuck inside of it. And hey, it’s peak Spring Cleaning season! Whether you’re into The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, there are also plenty of books about cleaning that you can read instead of actually cleaning.
Did you have exciting plans that got cancelled? Same. But you can (kind of) travel from the couch. Is it the same as hitting the thermal baths in Budapest like I had originally planned on spending next week doing? I doubt it, but those were probably going to be closed anyway (just like the Hungarian borders). Many museums offer virtual tours, including (but not limited to) The Musee D’orsay in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. You can also watch documentaries about your destination on Kanopy.
Finally, if your mental health care routine involves therapy and/or medication, ask your therapist if they conduct sessions via Zoom or FaceTime and see if you have the option to have your medication delivered to you by your pharmacy.
Together (but separately) we can flatten the curve.
Image credits: New Apartment Hereby Inaugurated, Mina Legend via Flickr (license); Wifi Sweet Wifi, sk via Flickr (license); Covid-19 Curves Graphic, Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris via Wikimedia Commons (license)