It is difficult for most people to stay balanced and content when quarantined. Those quarantined are not worried about catching any fever except “cabin fever.” The quarantine that many are still dealing with can challenge them when it comes to staying true to who they are.

The first few weeks of “stay-at-home orders” were about spring cleaning the closets and catching up on projects. Funny how before the pandemic, most people wished they could find a week or two to spend at home. Now, with the arrival of May and the virus still spreading, it has some wondering how long they will be quarantined.

There is no real answer as to exactly how long the virus will be an issue. The only trustworthy statement is that no matter how long the vulnerable have to stay quarantined, it is vital to find ways to come to terms with the situation.

One of the most remarkable effects of chronic social isolation, is the decrease in the size of the hippocampus, the brain region related to learning, memory and spatial awareness. For those who never felt the need for the latest technology, maybe it is time to learn to use Face Time, Skype, Zoom or the Messenger camera option.

Exercise might be the single most effective stress management strategy there is. It lowers cortisol (a stress hormone) levels, raises serotonin levels (which elevates your mood) and improves immunity.

Another coping mechanism is to learn something new.

Use the internet to learn new recipes or get out that musical instrument that is collecting dust and take online lessons. Have someone drop off art supplies and take online art lessons. Read books that carry you away to fantastic places.

Don’t stay indoors 24/7. Grounding is the practice of connecting to the Earth through the senses. Sit outside and let the breeze caress your skin, let the sun shine on your face.

What grounding does is act like a reset button. It brings stress hormones back in check, gives persons a break from fear and worry.

It effectively stops the anticipation, negative assumptions and expectations that fuel anxiety.

While filling the mind with positivity, also control negativity by limiting media consumption of fear-based reporting.

Don’t just stay safe, stay safe and well.

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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