Tools for De-Stressing While Confined

States across the U.S. have asked residents to slow COVID-19 by staying home unless absolutely necessary. This physical distancing is essential to “flattening the curve”—making the virus’s spread more gradual so it’s easier for health care workers to provide treatment. In many places, there’s evidence that this approach is starting to work.

But spending this much time at home can lead to cabin fever for many of us. It also means less access to many of the social activities we’d normally turn to for stress relief. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce anxiety without having to leave the house.

Begin a journal

Putting your emotions into words can be powerfully therapeutic. Grab a notebook and start recording your thoughts every day. Beyond helping to keep perspective, making this a daily exercise can help provide routine and structure. 


Take a hot bath

Fill the tub, pour in some bubble bath, and turn on some peaceful music. Light a candle. Lock the bathroom door. Then have a long, hot soak. Not only will it relieve some mental stress, it will relax tense muscles too. 

Stop and smell the roses — or the lavender 

The jury is still out on why it works, but research suggests that aromatherapy can provide relief from anxiety and improve sleep quality. Aromatherapy diffusers, oil warmers, or a few drops of essential oils diluted in a carrier such as olive oil and rubbed into the skin are all effective. For a calming effect, try lavender, chamomile, bergamot, or clary sage.


Try yoga

You don’t need to take a formal class to give yoga a shot. There are countless books available, thousands of videos online, and even a wide variety of yoga apps for your phone or tablet. Just choose a book, video, or app intended for beginners. Here are three that we recommend: 

Last but not least: Limit your exposure to the news and to social media (unless you’re actually talking to friends). Check in with a trusted source like the CDC every now and then, but remember take breaks from the news for the sake of your mental well-being.