Hating the Quarantine? This should help you feel better.
We’re settling in for the long haul with this pandemic, locking ourselves indoors in order to protect our families and loved ones. But, as with any type of social isolation, it’s normal to feel what experts call the “third quarter phenomenon”.
Third Quarter Phenomenon is something common to people living in submarines, Arctic research facilities, and outer space. Essentially, the isolation can lead to depression, decreased morale, agitation, and irritability during the “third quarter” period—after the initial panic and the second “honeymoon phase” of getting used to the new normal. Now that we’re feeling locked down, these negative third quarter feelings begin to set in.
Don’t let these negative feelings get the better of you. Here are a few tricks that will help you start feeling like your old self today:
Quarantine Life requires more breaks.
You’re probably working hard and trying to adjust to your new at-home routine, but that’s often easier said than done. Most people tend to feel more stressed than usual, and it has nothing to do with the longer hours.
Now is when you need to be a bit easier on yourself. Your rigid discipline works well at the office, but it could add to your stress now that you’re working from home. Put in enough hours to make progress, but let yourself take a few more breaks and relax more. Give yourself permission to have more down time. It will do wonders to take the load of stress off your back.
Quarantine Life requires closer attention to your feelings.
Every small feeling is going to be magnified because you can’t go somewhere for a change of scenery or “leave them at home/at the office”. The longer you try to ignore the feelings, the bigger they’ll become.
When you start feeling like something’s wrong, don’t ignore or suppress it. Instead, give those feelings a place to express themselves. Recognize them, acknowledge them for what they are, and feel them. You need to let them out in order to process them and move on.
Find calming and relaxing activities.
It’s easier to ignore stress when you can go out with friends, hit up a bar or club, or distract yourself with any number of social activities. Now that you’re locked inside, it’s much harder to distract your mind.
So it’s time to face your stressors and anxieties head on, and find indoor activities that help you to process and deal with them. Meditation is an amazing activity, one guaranteed to give you an outlet for all of your negative emotions. Deep breathing techniques can help, and you can use mindfulness activities to channel that stress and anxiety into something more productive.
But that’s not all! Try taking a long bath to clear your mind, or go for a slow, relaxing walk. Listen to music that soothes you, do a puzzle, read a book, or anything else that takes the weight off. Now it’s more important than ever that you find ways to relax.
Tend to your body.
Exercise is one of the best ways to stabilize your mood, reduce stress, and manage irritability. You’ll often find that your mood is at its most tempestuous when you haven’t gotten exercise for a week or two.
Your mind is important, but you’ve got to give your body priority as well. Make it a point to spend more time taking care of the physical now that you’re locked indoors. What does that mean for you?
- Spend more time in the sun. Vitamin D and sunlight play a huge role in your mood.
- Get fresh air. You don’t want to be locked indoors and breathing stuffy air all the time.
- Sweat. Push your heart and lungs until you can feel them working hard and you work up a good sweat.
- Train your muscles. Use resistance training, Yoga, pilates, HIIT, and bodyweight workouts to push your muscles hard. These exercises will help to boost your mood.
Don’t neglect your body during this critical time!
Maintain a healthy standard.
Letting your physical hygiene go during this time can contribute to your depressed mood. The same is true for your tidiness and the cleanliness of your home.
Now that you’re spending all of your time at home, it’s even more important that you do the things that make you feel professional and organized. That starts off with staying clean and showering as frequently as you would when working at an office, and extends to dressing in clothes that help you to feel like you’re going to work. You don’t need a suit and tie, but dressing in at least business casual outfits will do wonders to make you feel like a professional.
As for your house, make it a point to spend time cleaning it every day. Obviously your priority is keeping your at-home workspace neat, but don’t stop there! Make an extra effort to clean your entire house. Spending more time cleaning and organizing will help you to keep things up to a professional standard even if you can’t go in to the office.
While in Quarantine Reach out to others virtually.
Spend more time talking with your friends and family, even if it’s only possible over video chat or phone calls. Talk with your team members, coworkers, and bosses. That sort of social interaction is vital for those who are spending all of their time locked indoors.
And, if you feel like you could use some help, consider talking to an expert. Telehealth virtual counseling sessions are an excellent option for those who could benefit from therapy or working with a psychologist to deal with the issues that are arising with lockdown.
The more you connect with others—not just those at home, but everyone in your circle—the happier you will feel. After all, social connections are a critical part of a healthy and happy life.