Do you feel that confinement affects your mental health? A little? A lot? Passionately? To insanity?! Let me offer you some of my favorite strategies to help you stay fit, emotionally, during confinement.

1) Listen to music that relaxes us

Music soothes the soul. Did you know this expression?

For my part, I recently discovered the favorable effects of a certain type of jazz which promotes my concentration and improves my mood. You can find this kind of jazz music on YouTube by entering the keywords “jazz study”, “relaxing jazz” or “coffee jazz”.

Everyone to their own taste! And you, what kind of music will put you in a good mood?

2) Update yourself with news… from loved ones

Taking news from loved ones: this is a great way to maintain your social network, break isolation and focus on people other than yourself!

When you help others, you help yourself. What do you think?

3) Put on paper what you have to do

Are there tasks that you want to accomplish, but that have not yet been done, for weeks or even months? Frustrating, right?

I propose a simple principle, known and always good to remember: to put on paper the things to do. This allows us to stay focused on one or more objectives and also increases the chances of achieving the listed tasks.

And what a pleasure to check off the items from this list as we take down the tasks!

When I want to be sure I do something, I put it on my “to-do-list”. Otherwise, the days go by and the task is not accomplished.

What would you like to finally achieve these days?

4) Expose yourself … to humor!

Don’t just expose yourself to bad news. Also expose yourself to humor!

We all need to laugh and detach. And what could be better than humor to achieve this?

How do I put humor in my daily life?

I take 5-10 minutes a day to listen to a comedy number on YouTube. La Francophonie is full of talented and funny comedians.

Do you have a favorite comedian? Tell us who it is!

5) Give yourself challenges

Some people in confinement are less busy than usual. As a result, they have more time to mull over or worry. This mental activity is rarely useful. So the psychiatrist’s advice: give yourself challenges!

Challenges lead us to focus our attention on a goal to be achieved. Meanwhile, we don’t think about our worries as much.

For my part, I challenge myself to cook delicious meals. This activity represents a good challenge. Not true?

I have a colleague who started writing a novel on a spare time basis. Good idea!

And you, what stimulating challenge could you give yourself these days?

6) Move at least 20 minutes a day

Life is movement.

Blood needs to circulate well in our bodies. Our muscles need to be stressed.

Also, sport improves mood. Succeed in defeating our ruminations during exercise (and sometimes even in the hours that follow).

As for physical activity, I have given myself the challenge of moving at least 20 minutes a day. An essential habit for my mental hygiene!

Running out of ideas for physical activity at home? How about dancing in your kitchen listening to some tacky songs from the 70s, 80s or 90s? 😊

7) Put a touch of madness in your life

The classic writer François de La Rochefoucauld wrote: “He who lives without madness is not as wise as he thinks.”

I agree with him. In my opinion, you have to put a little bit of madness into your life, otherwise there is something to turn you crazy during a pandemic!

For my part, I like to imitate famous personalities. My guilty pleasure: speaking with a Franco-Ontarian accent – an accent that I particularly like. These improvisations, in addition to entertaining my entourage during meetings in web conferences, allow me to get my worries off my mind. This is what we call killing two birds with one stone!

On your side, how do you put a touch of madness in your life?

In conclusion

To stay mentally fit, it pays to implement a set of strategies.

I have offered you seven that I apply almost daily:

  1. listen to music that promotes calm and concentration;
  2. take news from those in your social circle;
  3. make a list of things to do;
  4. incorporate humor in your life;
  5. give yourself challenges;
  6. exercise
  7. include madness in your life.

I invite you to apply one or more of these tips.

Tell me, how do you manage not to “go crazy” in this period of confinement?

Please share your strategies below.


Stéphane Migneault, Psychologist, author and speaker