We’ve been grappling with the realities of lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic for over 7 months now and unlike a lot of things, with time for many of us this isn’t getting any easier.
While the initial euphoria of baking banana bread, making Dolgona coffee and at home work outs seems to be dying, we are now left staring at the anxieties unleashed by prolonger periods of uncertainty, the loneliness of isolation, disappointment of cancelling plans, longing for seeing our loved one and the stresses of working from home. In such times, it’s harder but even more necessary to prioritise our Mental Health and this blog focusses on giving some small tips on we can take care of our Minds during these times.
1. Stay active
Exercise increases wellbeing and helps reduce symptoms of common mental health concerns. While our gym may have closed or and fitness groups may be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean we can’t exercise! Yoga and stretches all can be done in a relatively small space and with no equipment. The internet also has several videos, guides and tutorials available. Exercising can help keep our mind fit with the release of endorphins and help keep our body fit as well.
2. Have a healthy diet
We need to nourish our bodies if we want to stay healthy overall. We may be tempted to eat unhealthy foods during times of high stress but eating a nutritious diet is great for both your physical and mental health. As much as possible, try and stick to a healthy diet despite changes to routine and environment.
3. Stay Connected
While physical distancing is the need of the hour right now, social connection is more important than ever! Use technology to talk to your friends and family, using video chats to talk face-to-face where possible. Share how you’re feeling and invite others to share with you. Check in on those around you, even the strongest people may be finding this a hard time. You maybe physically distanced, but that doesn’t need to translate into being emotionally disconnected. In addition to video calls, you can always send a letter or a little care package to someone if the restrictions in your area allow that.
4. Find time for Self-Care and to do something you enjoy each day
Try and do things that make you feel physically and emotionally comfortable, engaging in activities that make you feel safe and calm. Continue to do the things you enjoy as much as possible as this can help bring a sense of ease and reduce the stress that you are going through. It is important to remember that the times are hard and you need to be more empathetic with yourself. Whatever you’re feeling or going through is very valid, so don’t allow anyone to invalidate your feelings or experiences. Remind yourself that there is no right or wrong reaction to what is happening right now. Allow yourself extra grace as your productivity is likely limited and your environment has changed a lot. Take out time for Self-Care, because that is absolutely essential through these times even more than ever - you owe that to yourself.
5. Limit media consumption
It is advisable to limit your exposure to news and media during this time if you find it distressing or triggering. Choose how often you engage with news and social media and be sure to find news sources that are trustworthy and factual. It is always advisable to check before you share. If you must browse through social media, make sure you follow accounts which also share uplifting and laughable content as that can often help brighten up your day and feed. May sure you don’t fall prey to doom scrolling.
6. Try and keep to a routine
Keep to your regular routine as much as possible, including exercise, sleep, daily chores, work, recreational activities and connecting with others. This can help give you a sense of normalcy and balance in the midst of the uncertainties. While trying to keep a routine for everything it is integral to also prioritise getting enough sleep each night, to help you feel more energised and focused during the day, and to protect your mental health.
7. Maintain perspective & seek help
While this is an uncertain time, try and view these changes with openness and acceptance. You may find positives in it such as having more downtime to pursue your hobbies or learn something new. Or to even be able to connect more regularly with friends and family. That being said, if you are not able to find the positives and find yourself struggling through these times, please reach out and seek help. It is likely and normal that you will experience some anxiety and stress during this time. Talking to trusted friends, family or your GP is a great starting point. There are also many online and telehealth resources available should you need it.
There are the top 7 tips to taking care of your mind during these times. We all maybe facing the same storm but we are all going to go through this differently. It’s ok the way you are coping is different from the way others around you are coping through it. Everyone will go through things differently, but that’s ok. Remember, times may be tough right now, but hand on to hope, each day brings us closer to things being ok again.
Written by: Yash Mehrotra