Annie Duong

Anxious? Scared? Sad? Bored? With everything changing around us, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Self care doesn’t just mean face masks and “me time,” it also means mental, emotional and physical care as well. The shift from a “normal” to a quarantined lifestyle has affected us all. Going from always on-the-go to always on-the-couch made me come to realize that I had to find new hobbies and activities to keep me sane. Finding positive stimulation that still follows social distancing and quarantine guidelines may take a little time, but I promise it’ll be worth it in the long run. 


The world seems like it’s simultaneously chaotic and still at the same time. I feel sad, angry and scared all at once. In this time of uncertainty, mental wellness should be on everyone’s radar. It’s okay to not be okay. Being aware and conscious of your mental wellbeing is the first step to adjusting and adapting. Anxiety and stress are in the air but there is hope. We first must take care of ourselves before others and to do so, why not start by letting all those feelings out. Kendal Maxwell, a Clinical Neuropsychologist, held a virtual “Quaran-SCREAM” event for friends, family and anyone looking for some release. “We decided to do it based on something that was already going on in Italy. Giving people a feeling of appreciation (for healthcare workers) and a sense of community,” says the L.A. doctor. Whether it’s into a pillow, the backyard or in your car, letting out a good scream can help let all the fear, anger and/or sadness out! While letting out a scream can help in the moment, what about for the weeks and months to come? 


Pre-quarantine, boredom wasn’t much of a problem for most. Curious by nature, our bodies and minds love and need stimulation. Finding hobbies that encourage focus and learning can help get those neurons firing. Do all the things you’ve been putting off. Finally organize your closet or learn how to play that instrument that you’ve always wanted to play. Doodle, paint, or write — find something you’re genuinely interested in to help keep that cabin fever away. 


Also, don’t forget to get outside. While most parks and public areas are closed due to quarantine guidelines, getting out and moving can help your physical wellbeing. Now that we’re confined to our own homes, it can be easy to spend the entire day sitting around your house. Whether it’s working from home, binge watching tv or other things, we must not forget to exercise! Exercising releases endorphins that are nothing but good for your body. Daily walks will help blood and oxygen flow, brain stimulation and keep you healthy as we wait out these uncertain times. The real question is: Is it okay to go into the mountains? While there are no real rules about not going into the great outdoors, it’s best to keep general social distancing, Stay Home, Stay Safe guidelines and most importantly, the Leave No Trace principles in mind. Nothing heals better than Mother Nature herself. Keep in mind that small cities like Moab, Heber and other favorite towns are asking non-residential visitors not to come during this stressful time. I know it seems to make sense to get away from the craziness, but it puts unnecessary stress on small towns that cannot handle the stress of a pandemic while also trying to provide for visitors as well. If you love and respect them, don’t add to their stress. So, please. STAY HOME.


Change is here and we must adapt. Together, by taking care of ourselves, we can take care of others. Stay home, stay safe and stay STIMULATED.