After nearly a year of lockdowns, people are feeling restless. You may have gone for walks or bike rides in the summer and fall, but winter makes it more challenging to remain positive, because everyone’s always inside.
This guide will show you how to help your family’s mental health during winter quarantine so everyone can enjoy the season without counting down for spring.
Limit Your News Exposure
When the pandemic began, most people watched the news more than before. Every latest update revealed more about the new virus and showed how to stay safe from it. Even though health experts are still learning about mutations and infection rates, it’s better to limit your news exposure this winter.
Watching or listening to the news activates the sympathetic nervous system, releasing stress hormones that cause physical effects like:
- Increased blood pressure.
Stress hurts your mind and your body, so limit how often you watch the news around your family. Even if your kids color or play video games away from the TV, they can’t escape the stress from hearing reports about death and scary world events.
Encourage Family Time
Spending time together may be the last thing everyone wants to do after quarantining for so long, but it’s great for your mental health. Playing board games or other indoor games stimulates socialization, which is key to preventing loneliness and isolation.
While you think about what to play during your next game night, remember every member of your family. Dog adoptions and sales soared during the past year, so you may have brought home a new pet. Make sure they don’t exhibit signs of socialization nerves when everyone gets rowdy, so they’re just as comfortable and happy as the rest of the family.
Explore Through Movies
You can also help your family’s mental health during quarantine by exploring the world through movies. Vacations might not be an option, but your kids can still learn about new places with educational films. Browse the latest hits and check out conservation movies that are equally entertaining and informative.
After it’s safe to travel again, you can always visit the places you learned about during your winter quarantine movie nights. Kids will be more excited to travel to new destinations if they’ve already fallen in love with them through films and documentaries.
Remember Private Time
Some family members may benefit from regular private time. The pandemic isolated many people, but continually being together is not the solution to the lack of socialization with friends and neighbors. People need a balance of socializing and alone time to maintain their mental health.
Spending every moment together will lead to quick tempers and irritation. Even just 10 minutes alone during the day improves moods by revitalizing the brain, giving you time to reset and process everything going on.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Mental health and diets are directly connected. Many people ordered meal deliveries and ate junk food from grocery stores when the shelves emptied at the beginning of the pandemic. Now is a great time to get your diet back on track. Eating nutritious foods prevents and treats mental health issues by fueling the body with essential vitamins and nutrients.
When your brain has everything it needs to function, your mental health will remain strong even during difficult times. Skip sugary foods and processed meals to immediately see and feel the difference in your family.
Check In With Everyone
Keeping an open dialogue is the best way to help your family’s mental health during winter quarantine. If everyone feels safe and comfortable together, they’ll open up about their personal struggles. When everyone tackles issues like depression and anxiety together, a few more months of quarantine won’t feel so challenging to manage.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.