7 QUARANTINE STRUGGLES
And Natural Ways To Cope
Raise your hand if you’re going stir crazy after too many days cooped up indoors? Even if you live someplace where things are starting to open, life is likely still far from normal. While our support and thoughts go out to those directly affected by the coronavirus, the rest of us are struggling in our own ways.
So, how do you make the best of a not-so-fun situation? We’ve highlighted seven natural tips to alleviate common struggles in the era of COVID-19 so you can continue living a happy and healthy life.
1. You Have Too Much Screen Time
We can all probably agree that one of the worst byproducts of living life indoors is ample screen time. From streaming services to your phone and computer, we spend a lot of time with our devices.
The solution? Develop unplugged activities. That could be anything from learning learning guitar to practicing calligraphy. If you want a quick and hassle-free habit to take up, though, you should consider meditation.
Meditating gives you peace of mind and relaxes the body, and you can learn on your own! The best part about meditating is that you can practice anywhere and you only need five to 10 minutes a day to benefit from it.
2. Your Alcohol Consumption Is Starting to Worry You
No one’s accusing you of being an alcoholic, but a recent study found that 42% of working Americans admitted to drinking at home on the clock during quarantine. Another report claimed that alcohol sales in March soared 55%. While some of that is likely due to stockpiling, the figures indicate that our society is drinking more.
So what’s TCM got to say about it? In general, alcohol is viewed as an unhealthy beverage if it’s not consumed in moderation. Alcohol can actually have medicinal properties, though, if consumed appropriately. Here are three quick TCM rules of thumb you can incorporate to curb your drinking habit:
- Never drink on an empty stomach
- Quench your thirst with water or herbal tea rather than alcohol
- Drink with or after your meals
3. You’re Experiencing Isolation
Prolonged periods of isolation can be taxing on your mental health, and quarantining doesn’t help. After all, the whole point of “sheltering in place” is to avoid contact with others, right? Besides calling or texting your loved ones to keep in touch, one socially responsible way to make isolation more bearable is to practice emotional freedom techniques (EFT).
EFT is similar to acupuncture, only you use your hands to tap along your meridian lines rather than needles. The practice is said to help with everything from anxiety and depression to stress and chronic pain.
Check out this free EFT manual to get started. Practicing EFT won’t replace social interaction, but it can at least act as a supplement while you stay in touch with your folks.
4. You Don’t Exercise Like You Used to
If you kissed your fitness goodbye after the quarantine set in, don’t feel bad: About 27% of Americans said that they’ve been exercising less often since the outbreak of the pandemic. One way Americans have combatted the issue is by hosting Zoom group workouts.
That’s certainly one way to do it, but you can also take the quarantine as an opportunity to practice yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts at home. You can find tons of free Yoga videos for all skill levels online, and you can search YouTube for countless HIIT routines to change things up that don’t require weights or machines.
5. You’re Schedule & Environment Are Off
Working from home and staying indoors can really derail your daily routine — especially if you’re someone who prefers the outdoors. One practical method is to time block your days on a calendar. Create a routine that you stick to so you avoid eating too much, drinking too much, or watching too much TV.
Another practical fix is to re-evaluate your home’s interior. In eastern medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is known as feng shui. Comfortable environments interact with your Qi and stimulate your creativity and energy. If your home office doesn’t inspire you to work, for instance, you’ll be less productive and less likely to stick to a schedule. If this is the case, decluttering or rearranging your furniture could help.
6. Your Sleep Pattern Is Off
Your sleep could be affected for a number of reasons. You may have anxiety or depression keeping you up, or you’re simply less active than you used to be due to quarantine. However you slice it, lack of sleep isn’t good for your health.
If you’re struggling with sleep, herbs could be option. An ancient Chinese herbal medicine called xiao yao wan may lead to improvements with falling and staying asleep. This herbal mix is said to inspire users to feel relaxed (yes, please), one with nature (hiking here I come), and more able to “go with the flow” (it’s all good).
7. Your Diet Is Terrible
Let’s be real: Unhealthy food tastes great. It’s also easier to justify late night pizza and wine five nights a week when you’re stuck indoors all day. If your quarantine diet looks nothing like your normal diet, then you need an intervention.
The best way to do that is to establish some ground rules. Here are some foods that, according to eastern medicine and TCM, should be avoided:
- Too many raw, cold foods
- Iced beverages
- Excessive dairy
- Oily, greasy, and dried foods
- Overly sweet foods (like too much fruit)
- Excessive alcohol and meat consumption
Throw out the junk food and alter your diet so it incorporates mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts with a limited amount of meat, such as beef, chicken, tuna, and salmon.
You should also consider your eating environment. TCM advises that you eat in calm environments free from distractions like TV or reading. You should also cut out the midnight snacks: TCM promotes three meals throughout the day with healthy snacks interspersed between, and ending with an early dinner so that your body has time to digest your food, leading to sounder sleep.
Maintaining Your Zen Is a State of Mind
The quarantine has a negative effect on your mind, which can leave you feeling scattered and out of sorts. To keep your mind clear and your chin up, stay active, eat healthy, and communicate with those you love often. Once the quarantine is lifted, you’ll be happy you stayed in shape both mentally and physically.
If you have other quarantine tips and suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments below!