The Covid-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it. As the government place communities and cities in lockdown, you may feel bored, unproductive, lonely, anxious, and afraid. You may be concerned about your health and that of your family and friends. During this uncertain time, it is important that you take care of your mental, social, and physical wellbeing. Here are some tips:
How to Stay Mentally Healthy
1. Find ways to connect with others.
Keeping in contact with people you love is important for your mental health. Although social gatherings are strongly discouraged, you can still continue to nurture your relationships via social media, video calls, and phone calls.
2. Learn to serve others.
Everybody is suffering. And most of the time, the best way to make yourself feel better and forget about your worries is to help those around you. Is there are a neighbour that you can message? Are there community groups around you that can volunteer on? Do you have any surplus that you can donate to charities or offer to a friend? There are many ways to support each other during a time of crisis. Just make sure these are done according to the social distancing measures imposed by the government to keep everyone safe.
3. Don’t be afraid to express your worries.
Let it out. Covid-19 is no joke. So far, it has infected over one million people and killed over 50,000. It is normal to feel helpless, worried, and scared. Share your feelings with family and friends. Be open. Tell them how you are coping up too. As you open up about your worries, you’ll realise that you are not alone in this predicament and that support is just right around the corner.
If you are not comfortable sharing your worries to your friends or family, there are various support groups that you can join online. Alternatively, you can also speak somebody who cares via these NHS recommended helplines.
4. Manage your information intake.
There’s a lot of negativity floating around the social media and 24-hour news. While it is important to keep yourself informed, exposing yourself to a constant barrage of bad news can make you feel worried or scared.
If you think too much information about the pandemic is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, listening or reading news about Covid-19. Only check the news at specific times of the day.
5. Beware of fake news.
Absorbing inaccurate information can damage your mental health. Sharing it online can affect others too. So, make sure you gather your information from high-quality and credible sources only. If you find posts about the virus online, always fact check the information against the NHS website or GOV.UK. Getting the right information will help you stay vigilant during a lockdown.
6. Do the things you enjoy or learn new skills.
Instead of focusing on your anxiety, learn something new and do the things you enjoy instead. Or just take some time to relax to boost your mood. There are many free tutorials, online classes, games, and even streamed live music concerts that you can enjoy while staying at home.
7. Practice mindfulness.
Instead of worrying about the future, focus on the present. There are many relaxation techniques online that can help reduce anxiety and brighten your day. Looking for something to do right away? Try mindful listening! Here’s how to do it:
- Select a song you’ve never heard before.
- Close your eyes and put on your headphones.
- Ignore the artist or the genre (the key here is to be neutral). Allow yourself to get lost in the journey of sound throughout the song.
- Be aware of the track. “Dance” with the soundwaves.
- Explore each sound. Separate each instrument in your mind.
- Hone in on the vocals. Pay attention to the range and the tone.
- The idea in mindful listening is to learn how to listen intently without judgment or preconception.
How to Stay Physically Healthy
1. Take care of yourself.
Your physical health will have a big impact on your mental and social state. During a lockdown, anxiety can easily pull you towards bad habits and unhealthy choices which do more harm than good. Your health should be your top priority. You can take care of yourself by:
- Eating healthy and balanced meals
- Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
Exercising (there are lots of exercises that you can do at home without the need for gym equipment. If you can go outside, consider walking or jogging while practising safe social distancing measures.)
2. Get enough sleep.
The lack of sleep can weaken your immune system --- making you more susceptible to the virus and other illnesses. Getting a good night’s sleep can make a big difference in your physical and mental health. Do this by:
- Maintaining regular sleep schedules
- Staying away from screens at least an hour before bed
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Creating a relaxing environment (i.e. removing clutter, listening to peaceful music, etc.)
3. Develop new routines.
The lockdown has surely disrupted your normal routine. So, try to develop a new one based on your current situation. Find time to engage in meaning activities like reading or video chatting with a friend. Set aside some time for useful things like cooking and exercising. Avoid idleness and get moving. Treat this lockdown as an opportunity to catch up with family time or revisit some old hobbies.
4. Get outside at least once a day.
If you can, spend some time with nature at least once a day. Green spaces have superb effects on your physical and mental health. If you can’t go out, you can still “commune” with nature by letting as much sunlight and fresh air as you can into your home. If you have a garden, the better!
The Covid-19 lockdown may have disrupted the normal lives of many, if not all, of us. While the future is still uncertain, rest assured that this is only temporary. We hope these tips on how to keep your mind and body healthy during a coronavirus lockdown can help you get through this crisis.