Typically, anniversaries are an exciting occasion. Happy one year anniversary to a job, a significant other, life event, anything. However, we have passed the one year anniversary of quarantine. Not as much fun. Although the year has simultaneously flown by and been the slowest year of our lives, it’s still difficult. Every single day that there is a pandemic is taxing, whether you know it or not. It has not been easy for anyone and it’s extremely important to check in on yourself. Are you still keeping up your habits? Are you checking in with your mental health? Here are some hobbies to keep your mental health in check during quarantine – make sure to always prioritize yourself first. Just because we’re used to quarantining now doesn’t mean that it’s any less draining.
1. Watercolors/painting: Tapping into your creative outlet is a great hobby to keep your mental health in check. Grab a set of watercolors or paints and let your inner artist come out. You don’t have to paint anything specific, you can just let the paint inspire you. If you really don’t know how to start, you can do a video tutorial online. I mean come on. Who doesn’t want to be Bob Ross?
2. Journaling: Along with the creative theme comes journaling. Writing down how you feel, what you’re grateful for, what is upsetting you, anything that comes to mind is important. We might not even know what types of feelings that we’re suppressing until we write them down. Here are a few prompts to begin: Make a list of all your emotions right now – what comes to mind? Write a message to yourself on bad days. Write down three things you are grateful for. Make a list of your greatest qualities and show appreciation for them.
3. Exercising: Although this isn’t the most ~fun~ hobby for everyone, it’s a priority for your mental health. Exercising pumps endorphins into your brain aka it lifts your mood. When you exercise on a regular basis, for at least 30 minutes a day, you are much more likely to have a more positive mindset. A great form of exercise that combines both body and mind is yoga. You can find yoga videos on YouTube as a start!
4. Dancing: This may sound silly to some people but let’s be honest – life is a lot more fun when you’re dancing to your favorite song. If you have a space in your house alone, put in your headphones, throw on some upbeat music, and just dance. Or if you are having a bad day, put on your favorite angsty playlist and let it all out. It’d be a lie if I said I hadn’t been playing “Alone Together” by Fall Out Boy on repeat for a few days during the pandemic. We all have bad days. It makes it more enjoyable when there is dancing involved.
5. Reading (duh): Ah. The best for last. The whole premise of this company. Books, books, books! Getting lost in another story is a great way to distract yourself from the surrounding doom that is the pandemic. Whether it’s a hilarious memoir, an inspirational autobiography, or captivating fiction, reading is a fantastic hobby to keep your noggin busy.
It has been a devastating year. Millions of people have experienced loss, trauma, anxiety, depression, stress. No one is coming out of the pandemic the same person that they went into it. And for a lot of people, that can be a good thing. Do you and your loved ones a big favor and make sure that you’re checking in on your mental health. You can’t help others if you haven’t helped yourself first. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost there and you can and will make it.