With Phase 2 of re-opening for Nevada being extended until the end of the month, some of you might be feeling stressed, frustrated, and stuck in the same place. Since the Parks Foundation has transitioned to tele-serving for AmeriCorps members, I have found myself struggling mentally and a classic case of “cabin fever” has really set in. Staring at the same walls and confined to a small space has taken its toll, and because I know many others are experiencing the same, I have come up with some tips to avoid feeling too down in the dumps!
Optimize Your Exercise:
Limited occupancy at my usual gym has kept me from my normal routine, so I’ve had to turn to other ways of exercise. Thankfully Nevada’s parks are open to the public with some restrictions, so I set aside time to hike up trails such as the Jones Creek Loop or Wedekind Park to get in some cardio. It’s also a nice change of pace to get outside and breathe in Nevada’s air; I’m even happy to sneeze when sagebrush tickles my sinuses! I have also utilized YouTube to follow yoga videos and stretching techniques in the mornings/nights. These exercises come in handy for waking up and cooling down, and they help alleviate mental stressors as well.
Check out our Trail Running Blog!
For times of high stress and lots of nervous energy, yoga or hiking usually doesn’t cut it for me. My childhood hobbies left me with a plethora of kicking shields and punching pads, so I use those to physically get rid of my frustrations through high-contact sports or activities. Although this sounds like a great way to help ease an active mind, I do not recommend this tactic to anyone who has not received proper training.
Re-think Your Reminders:
Not only has my exercise routine been thrown out of whack, but my normal daily routine has been, too. To keep on schedule with pre-quarantine me, I set alarms/reminders for when to eat, when to stand up and stretch, and when to go to bed. Because I’m at home 80% of the time now, I do not have my usual indicators (such as daily lunch breaks and coming home from service) for these things, and I find it most beneficial to have a substitute reminder set in place.
To-do lists have also worked wonders for me. Motivation during quarantine/social distancing is difficult to muster up, but I have found that physically writing down all the tasks I need to accomplish for the week really puts a kick into my step. Watching the tasks get blacked out once completed pushes me to do more, and it helps show me what I’ve managed to do that week.
Try Some Electronic Exploration:
Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming to relieve anxiety and stressors with exercise, so I turn to Netflix and Hulu under those circumstances. Rewatching old tv shows, marathoning movie sagas, and turning on Planet Earth helps put me at ease. To change it up, sometimes I’ll download movies to my phone/laptop/iPad and drive out to a place overlooking the city to watch them. This also gives me an excuse to expand my star gazing knowledge.
In addition to this, I also like to crack out my old video game consoles and play the worn out cartridges for pure nostalgia. Navigating the old controllers and watching Mario jumping from platform to platform to… death helps drive out the negative feelings I have for the matters I can’t control and put them onto a pixelated plumber for a few hours. Not only this, but ‘50s swing music instantly puts me in a better mood when played. There’s something about the trumpet mutes that really picks up my overall demeanor.
Check out our Hiking Playlist!
And our Top 8 Outdoor Movies!
Call Your Loved Ones:
And, of course, I miss my family and friends. This has probably been the most difficult problem to solve since gatherings are still limited. I try to FaceTime my family on Sundays (and text them almost daily), and occasionally we will have “social distancing dates” where they will open up their backyards and I sit and chatter with them about whatever. It might not be a lot, but hearing classic dad jokes and faux sister arguments brings forth a bit of peace.
I encourage all readers to maybe test out a few of the things above, and don’t be afraid to put your own twist into it! Maybe you chill out by reading, drawing, dancing, or something completely different, but take those outside! Safely distance from others, obviously, and do your thing! Everyone has to deal with these restrictions, so it’s best to try and enjoy the little things and take a breather from the complexity of the world for a while.
Photos taken by Emily during a birding trip.