We’re living in an unprecedented time. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused us all to quarantine, and for many, this is the first time experiencing prolonged solitude.
On average, it takes a person 66 days to create a new habit. In the time that our lives have been disrupted by the Coronavirus, we may be well on our way to creating new habits of living- for better or worse. When a quarantine, an illness, or even parenthood causes us to transition from going into work five days a week to staying at home and reducing our socialization, the effects can be harmful if healthy habits aren’t formed right away.
I know how difficult this can be. Eleven years ago, I became bedridden with a chronic illness. I lost my business and found myself living in a state of solitude. I was married so my husband kept me company when he wasn’t traveling for work. It wasn’t long before depression set in. If I hadn’t suffered depression from pain and fatigue, I would’ve experienced it from isolation.
We are created to have community, love, and movement. When we don’t have those things, storms in our hearts and minds begin to form.
It took years for me to discover how to live fully when I couldn’t go to work or socialize. Whether you’re quarantined during the Coronavirus (COVID-19), or you're isolated for other reasons, these tips will help you develop healthy habits so you can thrive.
Routine is key.
Chaos is a killer. When we don’t have order in our day, we shut down. If I get up in the morning and can’t figure out what I should do with my day, I’ll end up watching Netflix for the next 14 hours. Consuming an excess of TV or social media is a guaranteed ticket for a high-speed train straight to Depressionville.
Open up your calendar and schedule every weekday the same way. Follow your schedule like it’s your job. Take an hour for a lunch break. Leave weekends open for a chance to rest and change things up, just like you would if you were going to work five days a week.
1. Start the morning with God.
This is always a great way to start your day. Put on some praise and worship music and celebrate. This is a great time to practice gratitude and thanking God for all of the good that He’s given you and that which He's establishing for your future. If you can, walk around or dance- just move and sing. This moves you into a place of joy that starts your day off on a positive note.
Meditate. There is a time to speak to God and a time to listen. Breathing deeply and quieting your mind is a way to hear from God. It’s also proven to change our brains so that we’re able to have more peace throughout our day. According to Healthline.com, there are 12 scientific-based benefits to meditation which include reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.
We have energy that we need to use. If that energy isn’t exerted through movement, your brain will use it to worry. Excess energy causes anxiety. According to Harvard Health Publishing, exercise improves brain function, decreases depression, and regulates mood, making you feel better. If exercise causes you pain, try Tai Chi. This is what helped me start moving again after being bedridden for a couple of years due to Fibromyalgia.
3. Develop a creative outlet.
Most people would call this a hobby. Choose something that makes you happy and engages your mind and body. Expressing our creativity allows us to bring life to something and there is joy in that.
4. Learn something new.
Consistent learning improves brain function which is important when you’re isolated. It’s not uncommon to start to feel like you’re not quite as sharp as you used to be after prolonged periods of seclusion. This can lead to a loss of confidence. Learning new things keeps you feeling sharp, helps you maintain confidence, and gives you a sense of achievement. When you finally find yourself back in a social environment, you’ll have some interesting things to talk about.
Have you told yourself that you would eat healthier if you just had the time? This may be the time to research healthy recipes and use your creativity to tweak them and make them your own. Have fun with it and practice plating for a gourmet finish.
What we consume directly affects our mood. It’s always important to practice healthy eating but especially when you find yourself in a less-than-desirable situation. What you eat will either give you the resolve to push through and find victory in your situation or make it harder to accept your circumstance. Choose wisely.
We tend to eat when we’re bored. This is why sticking to a schedule is important but having constant access to your kitchen all day still provides temptation. Here’s how you combat that: don’t buy snack foods or sweets. If the only snack options are carrot sticks, bananas, and raw almonds, you’re only going to eat when you do need an energy boost- not for entertainment.
This time alone can benefit you.
Sometimes God draws us to a place of seclusion to reassess and reset. It's in this place that we have the time and space to think deeply and develop a deeper relationship with our Father. The wilderness is a time for growth and maturity, a time for new vision, a time to prepare and become equipped for things to come.
Remember, the habits that we develop now will affect the people we become when we go back to work and socializing. We can develop habits of depression and fear which can be just as hard to break as any other bad habit. Or we can take this time to grow, learn and become healthier. Which will you choose?
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