This is a guest post from our partner Gravity Blankets.
Over the past 3 months, people around the globe are living in a new everyday reality. The stay-at-home orders have forced us to rethink almost every aspect of our life – from how we work and learn to how we shop, and even how we interact with friends and family.
The pandemic has impacted the economy that will lead to some lasting changes. It has also impacted our physical health; many of us aren’t as active as we usually are, which is as simple as walking around the grocery store. However most importantly, the pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health.
The isolation of quarantine makes it easy to feel alone, overwhelmed, and stressed out. All of the changes to your daily routine can affect your sleep. At a difficult time like this, it’s critical that you work on your mental health. Here are some key tactics and methods to reduce stress and achieve quality sleep during quarantine.
Set Work Boundaries
As many of us adjust to working from home, it’s important to separate your work and home lives, despite them happening in the same setting. We recommend establishing a space that’s dedicated solely to work, whether it’s a desk, dining table, or kitchen countertop. Use that space during your work hours, and leave the pressures of the workday there too.
Without this defined space it can lead you to bring work to the couch or bed, allowing the stressors of work to seep into your spaces typically used for relaxation and joy. You’ll also feel more pressure to work longer and stay up late to answer every email and text instead of giving yourself some “me” time at the end of the workday.
Also, we know this can be a challenge (we love them too!) but make the swap from your PJs or sweats each morning. Getting changed prepares your mind for productivity. Therefore, changing into work attire will help get you in the work mindset.
Move Your Body
When you’re living your entire life in one space, it’s easy to become sedentary and spend this time entirely on the couch or in bed. Taking time to be physically active will help your body and mind feel better.
If you’re looking for a full-on workout, there are a ton of great resources out there. Tune in to a workout on Instagram Live from your favorite studio, stream one on Youtube, or even do your own workout. But it doesn’t need to be high-intensity. You can commit to going for a 20-minute walk each day and use the time to stretch those legs and clear your mind.
Best of all, getting some activity each day will help with sleep – a major key to a restful night’s sleep is being active, and there’s no better way to make you weary than exercise.
Engage in Meditation/Mindfulness
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try using some effective techniques or tools to help you stay calm throughout this experience. Deep breathing is a simple yet effective technique to clear your mind, bring on a sense of calm and elevate your mood. It lowers the heart rate and blood pressure while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body relax. If you’re looking for additional breathing exercises, head to the Gravity Blanket Instagram where we post breathing and other meditation exercises each week, or if you’re an Eight Sleep Member, try one in the Eight Sleep app.
Another tool is meditating, and with apps like Calm or the meditations in the Eight Sleep app, you can easily access an entire array of stories and meditations from the comfort of your home.
Don’t Over-Consume the News
It’s important to stay informed but that doesn’t mean you have to read every story, article or status pertaining to these recent events. It can be triggering to the best of us so we ask that if it’s something that’s causing you anxiety, you make the conscious decision to choose what you participate in.
Setting boundaries with yourself and others is extremely important. You’re allowed to say “No, thank you. I would rather not receive this type of information from you at this time. Please let’s discuss something else.” Approach those that come to you with compassion as they are most likely just as anxious and frightened as you, but stay resilient in your needs and boundaries.
Avoid Social Media Before Bed
When you’re getting ready for bed, stop using your phone for at least 30 minutes before you try to fall asleep. Besides the blue light your phone emits that can stimulate the brain, research consistently shows that the amount of media we consume has a huge impact on our mental health. We fill our time with Facebook and Instagram feeds, streams of Tweets and YouTube videos. This abundance of information fills our brains, which can cause stress and anxiety.
Switch off your electronics and do something that makes you feel happy like reading a book or listening to relaxing music.
Create The Optimal Sleep Environment
Your bedroom is your sanctuary. It’s the place where you recharge and recover each day, especially when you’re living every facet of your life from home. Design your bedroom to not only look good to help you feel relaxed and stress-free, but with products that will get you optimal sleep each night.
This starts with your mattress. The Pod Pro by Eight Sleep features the Comfort Blend topper with 5 layers of comfort, built in sleep tracking like HRV monitoring, and automated water powered heating and cooling. Plus, the ability to set the individual temperature for each side of the bed will ensure you and your partner both sleep at your optimal temperature.
Additionally, add a Gravity Blanket to your every day routine This weighted blanket will prime the body for sleep by reducing cortisol levels (the hormone tied to stress) and increasing serotonin and melatonin levels (which help promote calmness and improve mood). Thus, you’ll fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Find Moments of Joy
It’s easy to get stuck in the negativity around what’s going and further isolate yourself by being alone. While you can’t physically see your friends and family, use technology to stay connected. From Facetiming with family to game night with friends via Zoom, you can still get in quality time with your loved ones and those enjoyable moments that make you happy, all from the comfort of your home.
Besides that, use the time to do things you love and may have not had a chance to do: read a book, paint a picture, complete a puzzle. This is an opportunity to make yourself a priority.
While times are hard, we will get through this. YOU will get through this, and we hope these tips help you stay mentally healthy during the pandemic and come out strong on the other side.