Here are six things to do during the COVID-19 pandemic & the psychology behind why they’re good for you to do ALL the time.
1. Get clean, get organized. It’s springtime after all!
Aside from the obvious reasons to stay clean during a pandemic – namely, germs – there is actually powerful positive psychology behind cleanliness and organization. People gravitate toward repetitive behaviors during times of stress to regain control. When you can’t control your circumstances – like how the COVID-19 pandemic affects you – you can control the cleanliness of your home. Give your anxiety an outlet and go grab a vacuum!
2. Actually fulfill your New Year’s resolution & exercise.
If you are looking for motivation to improve your physical health, a viral pandemic should do the trick. It’s true: exercise helps improve your immune system and increase your heart health. Exercise also releases endorphins – chemicals that trigger a positive feeling in your body similar to morphine. Psychological benefits are especially important in these times of crisis, and the list goes on…
– Improved mood
– Reduced stress
– Improved self-esteem
– Improved body image
– Increased feelings of energy
Here is our challenge to you: own your hour. You can do this by completing 5-25 reps of an exercise every hour of your typical work day. Squats, push ups or sit ups will all do the trick, but the options are endless! Get happy, get healthy and own your hour.
3. No cooks in your kitchen? Get in there!
Restaurants may be closing, but we still have to eat! It’s not news to anyone that home cooking is better for your body, but it may surprise some that it is better for your mind as well. Studies have shown that people who regularly cook or bake report feeling more relaxed, happy, confident, and focused. This is due to the psychological term called “flourising,” which is a feeling of personal growth. Self-quarantine may have you feeling professionally or socially stifled, but the creativity and focus that goes into cooking or baking will have you flourishing from your delicious finished products!
4. Binge watch/binge read – it’s good for you!
You are probably used to hearing how bad screen time is for your health – well, that’s not what we’re about to tell you. During this time of stress, boredom or both – aesthetic experiences help transport you elsewhere. Being completely immersed in a story – whether print or digital – helps you lose track of your own reality, and it fulfills your human desire for novelty and familiarity all at once. Use this self-quarantine as an opportunity to read that book gathering dust on your shelf or watch that TV show you thought you would never have time for.
5. We’re social distancing, not emotional distancing. Call your loved ones.
They say you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone – like toilet paper. But really, don’t wait until it’s too late to check in with your loved ones. The psychological phenomenon of adaption is the process that humans “get used to” their situations and environment. When our situations change or we are exposed to new things, they affect us powerfully. However, it doesn’t take long for “taken for granted” syndrome to creep in, triggering our tendency to disregard the value of the good things in our lives. Whether it be our loved ones, health, or even freedom, cherish it while you have it. Perhaps this pandemic is a blessing in disguise to remind us to appreciate what and who we have while we’ve got it.
6. Stop & smell the roses – be mindful.
While you are doing all of these activities, make sure you engage in being mindful – you will get so much more out of them. Being mindful means taking a moment to smell the fresh soap as you do the dishes; feel the warm water on your hands as you wash them; hear how comforting your loved one’s laugh sounds. Focusing on these little things makes everyday life more meaningful.
Follow us @cawleychicago to stay tuned as fresh and detailed ideas will be posted daily!
Applied Sports Psychology