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One day passes…another…and another, and we are still on quarantine. Living confined can be exhausting. Binge-watching YouTube videos, endlessly scrolling through social media posts, and repetitively checking news sources are simply unsatisfying after the umpteenth time. If you want to flee the purposeless passage of time then you will need to embrace a new routine that includes some creativity and exercise. Now is the time to let this period of quarantine jump start some healthy physical self-care practices that will enhance your daily life, even after COVID-19.


Doctors often emphasize that exercise is important, but we may not realize how essential exercise is to having a healthy mind. Being confined to the parameters of our homes and neighborhoods can cause mental fatigue. For example, a study shows that sunlight increases blood flow, which enhances cognitive functioning and memory to reduce depression and protect against some physical conditions (Kent, McClure, Crosson, Arnett, Wadley, & Sathiakumar 2009).  Depression has been linked to poor weather and, as the previous study shows, our bodies need sunlight to keep our mood up. We receive Vitamin D from sun exposure, and Vitamin D has been linked to increasing the immune system to protect against respiratory disease. By receiving a daily dose of sunshine, the immune system is strengthened, and our blood gets flowing moving us beyond the mental fog. 

Being outdoors is helpful on its own, but our blood flows especially well when exercise is added. Moving around stimulates the body, creating endorphins that make us feel good. This can reduce anxiety, depression, and anger. One study even concluded that indoor exercise is enhanced by simulating an outdoor running experience (Yeh, Stone, Churchill, Brymer, & Davids, 2017).  Therefore, simply watching a nature scene while running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike can encourage greater physical accomplishments that increase blood flow. The following list includes ways to increase exercise during COVID-19:

  • Rosary walks around your neighborhood
  • Zumba or other exercise classes on Facebook Live
  • Palates in your backyard
  • Body-weight workouts through apps, such as the popular “Home Workout” by Leap Fitness Group


Physical tension can leave our bodies sore and tight. Physical exercise is only one way of providing relaxation to the body. Science shows that our vagus nerve is a key to well-being, because when its activated it provides a relaxing and soothing sensation. This nerve reacts to things like deep breathing, prayerful meditation, hugging, or stretching. Subsequently, these reactions reduce pain, disease, and sadness. Implementing relaxation into a daily schedule provides an important element of self-care. Without ways of relieving stress, our bodies may be less effective at fighting off illness. Here are a few ways to implement relaxation during the COVID-19 panic:

  • Meditate on the Scriptures
  • Practice deep breathing exercises
  • Nap in an outdoor hammock 
  • Read a book
  • Get a massage from a family member


Many of us have experienced the jarring effect of losing a well-established routine because of the pandemic response. Parents and kids alike are adapting to work and school from home. No longer are the monthly book clubs, date nights, or other social events occupying our schedules. Many people feel like they have endless amounts of free time—or at least unstructured time. The loss of social and religious events leaves many of us feeling unsure of how to proceed. Therefore, developing a new routine, rather than waiting for our old one to come back, is vital to mentally surviving COVID-19. A study on the importance of routines indicates that routines provide better sleep for all ages and help children with impulsive behavior. Routines provide structure and stability, which counteract feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. One of the biggest perpetrators that steals our time is screen time. Minutes can turn into hours by entering the vortex of Facebook scrolling or Netflix binging. Jean Twenge, the author of the book IGen, is concerned that more than two hours of screen time per day causes a significant increase in depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem (Twenge, 2017). To avoid falling into the screen time trap, here are a few ways to create structure in your day:

  • Get dressed in the morning
  • Write out and execute a to-do list of unfinished house projects  
  • Pray daily 
  • Schedule your screen time and include a stopping point
  • Exercise daily
  • Call a friend or family member 


Creativity is a great way to express inner thoughts and desires in new ways. Creativity is important to our mental health because it can lower depression and stress by providing a form of relaxation similar to meditation. Creating something or starting a new hobby allows for a healthy release of stress through the self-expression. Using whatever means are within your home, you can create the wonders of your imagination. Creativity is, in many ways, a lost art especially for adults. The quarantine may provide free time to pick up an old or new hobby. Ideas for creativity:

  • Paint using a video or from your imagination
  • Create a DIY home project 
  • Plant a garden
  • Play an instrument
  • Cook with a new recipe 

Being indoors for an extended period of time has been shown to increase depression, so physical self-care is essential to keeping our spirits high. Physical exercise, relaxation, routines, and creativity are all helpful ways to provide structure in this unprecedented time. Although there are many unknowns moving forward, take the time to create some stability for yourself, so when the quarantine is over, you are ready to go out and joyfully participate in life.

Recommended Reading:

  • IGen: why today’s super-connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy–and completely unprepared for adulthood by Jean M. Twenge
  • Feeling Good by David Burns
  • The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan