5 Ways Quarantine Has Made You Stronger
Look closely and you’ll see it – that faint light of hope shining brighter at the end of our lonely quarantine tunnels. Soon, it will overtake the virus-infused darkness, leading us towards freedom and a new “normal;” one where masks are the height of fashion and hand sanitizer is the most sought-after accessory. While you may find yourself feeling anxious as things begin to reopen, rest assured that you’re more prepared for this new world than you think.
Whether you’ve learned a new skill, embarked on a kick-ass fitness regime or finally mastered the art of meditation, the list of positives associated with quarantine is likely heftier than you thought. Now that we’re about to slowly embrace our new freedoms, it’s time to grab hold of those great habits you’ve picked up and bring them into this new world we’re about to rejoin.
While things may not return to “normal” for a while yet, we can revel in the fact that a few of those elements we took for granted, like having someone else cut our hair, for instance, are about to become a thing of the present. And now that we can move a bit further from our front yards, it’s time to recognize the positives that came out of quarantine and commend ourselves for getting through it. Best of all, we can apply these 5 impressive quarantine-learned skills to our new, post-pandemic lives.
Loving Ourselves. Quarantine offers us a wonderful opportunity to try things we may have been too embarrassed to attempt under other conditions. Always wanted to go blonde? Now’s your chance. Too nervous to wear a bright nail polish? Why not give it a go? Ditch your self-conscious ways and accept the awesomeness you have to offer. Wear track pants every day, go make-up free, celebrate your grays. Embrace the things you’ve been worried about showing the world. Hopefully, quarantine has taught you that no one else’s opinion really matters. If you were too nervous to try new moves in gym class, practice them now, in the comfort of your living room. By taking others out of the equation, you can focus on what YOU like and remove self-consciousness.
Researchers at Princeton University found the higher your self-confidence, the bigger your motivation to succeed in life. So, it’s time to bring that newfound self-love into the world and care a little (no a LOT) less about what others think. Act like you have self-confidence and those around you will believe you do. Pretty soon, you’ll believe it, too.
Being Kind. Suffering through a pandemic did more than just increase our anxiety levels, it boosted altruism across the globe. Being faced with adversity brought many together in the hopes of reaching a common goal – sharing kindness. Be it by leaving rocks painted with uplifting messages, distributing food to hospital staff, or checking on an elderly neighbor, entire communities bonded to help. These acts of kindness helped the givers as well. According to a study from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, positive emotions caused by being kind and compassionate can boost your health in multiple ways including, decreasing anxiety and depression, pushing away negative thoughts, and prolonging a person’s lifespan.
Exercising. While many of us spent the first few weeks of quarantine in a Netflix- and ice cream-induced coma, exercise slowly crept in. The more we moved, the happier we felt. The longer we worked out, the stronger we became (and the faster those ice cream-related calories disappeared). Regular exercise is a must for everyone, especially those struggling with depression and anxiety. According to a poll conducted by KFF Health Tracking almost half of Americans (45 percent) are suffering from stress and worry related to the coronavirus. A study by Evidation found that 50 percent of us are reporting increased anxiety for the same reason. Working out boosts our levels of serotonin, which helps combat the negative effects caused by stress. Combine your daily workouts with stretches and you’ll not only increase your strength and flexibility but boost your mood as well.
Staying Connected. Funny how it took a pandemic for many of us realize just how much we enjoy being around our friends and family. Not surprisingly, being unable to see loved ones has increased our levels of depression and anxiety. University of Chicago psychologist, John Cacioppo found that loneliness can also decrease our ability to fight diseases. Now that we’re all more averse in the language of online communication (thank you, Zoom), it’s important to keep in constant contact with our friends and family members. Reconnecting with old friends was an unexpected joy that came out of this pandemic. Let’s not lose touch again.
Training Our Brains. Odds are you learned something new even if you didn’t sign up for one of those free online courses during quarantine. Whether you’ve mastered a new language, learned to knit, or added more job-related skills to your resume, your brain is thanking you. Acquiring a new skill not only helps you learn better overall, but it also boosts the rate at which you absorb information over time. According to an article published by CCSU, educating yourself on a new topic can also make you more interesting and adaptable. Time to crack open a book!