This year is not turning out to be the greatest. With COVID-19, there are millions at risk. To help prevent the spread of this virus, the US has turned to social distancing and quarantines. At the first mention of a quarantine, many people made light of the situation. People talked about how great it would be to be at home. But now, quarantine times seem to be increasing. This means more months stuck at home, only leaving for essentials. Sooner or later, you might start to feel closed-in or stir crazy. Feeling helpless can cause mental health issues to skyrocket, especially if you live alone. By following these ten steps, you’ll be able to keep a clear mind and end the day feeling productive.

1. Don’t Oversleep

Oversleeping might sound tempting when you’re stuck at home, but it’s not the best option. Teens need eight to ten hours of sleep every day, while adults need at least seven. Oversleeping is as bad as getting not enough sleep. Those who oversleep tend to have back pains and more headaches. It also increases feelings of depression. Making sure you get a good night’s sleep is great, but too much will leave you feeling fatigued and still tired! You should try to create a sleep schedule and stick to it every day to ensure you wake up feeling happy and well-rested. But don’t worry–you can still take those afternoon naps!

2. Exercise

You’ve heard this tip from every fitness guru or influencer. Exercise boosts endorphins in the brain, which helps to relieve stress. No, you don’t have to curate a daily hour-long workout routine. But getting your body moving is beneficial for the body and mind. At least push for 30 minutes a day or an hour every other day. It doesn’t have to be difficult, either. You could spend those 30 minutes dancing to your favorite songs! There are so many follow-along videos on YouTube including yoga, pilates, strength training, cardio, and many more. The internet is the biggest asset you have during quarantine, so why not use it? I recommend Yoga With Adrienne and POPSUGAR Fitness. Following these videos is even more fun with others, so I recommend doing them with friends and family. You don’t need to strive for the ultimate summer body–just focus on your health!

3. Clean

Okay, cleaning doesn’t exactly sound fun. But sitting around doing nothing gets pretty old real fast. Maybe there’s a spot in the house that you’ve been dreading to clean or you’re waiting to clean a pile of laundry. This is the perfect opportunity to work on it! You have all the time in the world while you’re at home, so why not make your living space more livable? Depression and other mental illnesses can cause a build-up of mess. If you put on some music and take breaks between cleans, cleaning will be easy! You don’t have to clean the whole house in a day, or even a whole room. Maybe you want to do the laundry and that’s it. Doing one task that involves cleaning every day will be beneficial for you and the space you live in.

4. Stick to a Schedule

Like a sleep schedule, a daily schedule will help your quarantine life as well. It might sound crazy, but making a timed schedule of what you will do for the day is a great way to pass time and get things done. It’s hard to complete tasks when there’s the temptation of naps, video games, and Netflix. Of course, you can do those things, but in moderation. Make a weekly schedule, where you put down what days you will exercise and what days you will clean parts of the house. You may be a student who needs to schedule some time to study and do homework, so you can make a daily schedule and decide what times work best for you. It can sound tedious, but it does the trick. Learning the skill of organization and creating a schedule can help with that. Learning a new skill can be difficult, but learning organization can be as simple as scheduling. Following a schedule can help lift you out of a rut and will keep your mind busy, preventing you from having negative thoughts.

5. Go Outside

No, not to the park or to the beach. You need to practice social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax in your front/backyard! Staying inside too often can lower your amount of vitamin D, which can cause body pains. You should get at least 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day to get a healthy dose of vitamin D.  A lack of vitamin D can contribute to feelings of depression. You’ll not only feel better physically but also mentally. Sitting outside in the fresh air is great. It’s even better if you’re able to do exercise or something fun outside to get your body moving.

6. Do Something You Love

As stated in a previous paragraph, the internet is your friend! Sure, you can be productive but some days you just want to relax and have some fun by yourself. Take this time to play any video games you love or set up a movie date online with your friends. You can also search for any fun crafts that look interesting to you. If you’re able to, go online and buy a book you’ve been wanting to read. Play a board game with your family. There are so many fun ways to destress during this time that you can do alone or with others. I recommend Animal Crossing: New Horizons or any Sims game. It lets you “travel” and “go outside” while social distancing and staying inside.

7. Don’t Wrap Yourself up in the News

Don’t get me wrong–it’s very smart to keep up with updates on COVID-19 and what you can do to prevent it from spreading. But checking your phone countless times throughout the day can be damaging to your mental health. Plus, there are many sites on social media that provide false reports. If you want to keep yourself up to date, consider looking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) websites. Keep you and your family safe, but don’t worry yourself too much.

8.Keep in Contact With Friends and Family

Everyone you love is (hopefully) in the same position you are: quarantined. Some of your friends and family may live alone, making the quarantine a lot harder for them. Make sure you talk to your friends and family daily. Even a simple text is good. You could use this opportunity to have a group Skype or Zoom call with all your friends/family. And if you live with family, don’t stay cooped up in your room. Spend some time with your family! Of course, don’t sacrifice your alone time, either. This situation you’re in is scary, but you’re not alone.

9. Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

The words “staying hydrated” are very cliche when it comes to mental health, but it’s so important. There are days where you can forget to eat or drink anything if you’re feeling low enough. If you need to, even set an alarm to remind you to eat and drink. But make sure you’re not overeating, either! Try to eat scheduled meals and don’t rely on unhealthy midnight snacks. It can also be difficult to eat healthily–I know I don’t. But if you have a bad diet, eat it with good proportions. A happy body makes a happy mind.

Throughout this rough time, we all need to think about bettering our health. Not only for us but for those around us who are more prone to illness. The consequences of being in quarantine can have effects on our mental health. But by doing these steps, you can make quarantine easier and more productive. Physical health is important and mental health is equally so. Don’t ignore what your brain is telling you! Work on improving your state of mind–we will get through this together.