This is how you stay mentally healthy at home

We are at home en masse in uncertain times. Social agendas become empty and there is no going out. Good against the spread of the coronavirus, less for our mental health. How do you ensure that you stay mentally healthy at home, and that the walls do not approach you? Three psychologists give tips.

There are several reasons why quarantine can affect your mood, says psychologist Najla Edriouch. She works at the Adolescent Psychiatry Center and gives tips on psychology on her YouTube channel : “People need social contacts. The fact that you have to limit that can trigger mental problems .”

“You now experience that life is not always stable. We are not used to that in Europe,” says GZ psychologist Azadeh Rezamand, who specializes in psychotrauma. She explains, “We fear uncertainty and focus on stability and stick to what we have. We think about ourselves, money and the future. And now we are confronted with uncertainty and fear, which are part of life.”


How do you stay mentally healthy? First of all: structure your day. “Some of them continue to Netflix all day. But rhythm is very important,” says Edriouch. “Get up on time and go to bed on time. Live as if you were going to work or school. Shower, brush your teeth, wear normal clothes and take time for a coffee or lunch break.” And don’t forget to stop working in time.

“If you don’t have an office at home, choose a place in your home for work,” explains associate professor of psychology Jessica de Bloom of the University of Groningen. “No work to do? Think of the time you have now as a challenge: learn something you never have time to read or read books you’ve always wanted to read. Feeling competent and useful makes for better psychological well-being.”

Healthy eating and exercise

In addition to rhythm, it is important to take good care of yourself. “Eat healthy and exercise,” says Rezamand. “Now that you are at home, you need less food than usual. Less sugars, but vitamins C, D, B6, B12 and zinc. And exercising is important for your mind. You then produce endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Neurotransmitters that proven to work against anxiety and depression. “

And if possible, don’t shut up. Sometimes go outside too. “Enjoy nature, go for a walk or to the sea,” says Rezamand. “But: don’t look for crowded places, stay away from others. But still take daylight,” Edriouch adds. “And for those for whom it is not easy, buy a daylight lamp. That can help you keep your mood right.”

Do not let them get to you

Edriouch also has some advice about the continuous flow of information: “Clients of mine who are already anxious often sit in app groups that are only about corona. They watch a lot of news and keep an eye on Twitter. It can help to frame for yourself how often you talk about it. “

“Instinctively we tend to focus on dangers,” explains Edriouch. “That’s healthy, it helps us survive. But try to keep the positive things in mind. Doing thinking doesn’t help, try to avoid the horror stories.”

How? “By putting things into perspective,” says Rezamand. “Uncertainty is part of life. But you don’t have to be afraid of it. What can help you is learn from this crisis. Instead of seeing it as something bad, see it as a challenge that helps us to become stronger. By learning to connect us with our strength, ourselves and each other And also: live more in the here and now We are so focused on the future in the Netherlands that we sometimes forget that This is your chance to see that . “