With COVID-19 making self-isolation a norm all over the world over the last few months, a lot of people have had to deal with a lack of social interaction, minimal outdoor time, stress factors like anxiety and financial issues. This has led to a rise in mental health problems all over the world.
While it is true that everyone is experiencing the pandemic in a different way, for most people, COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in a lot of extra time. When you do not know what to do with all that time, it is easy for things to spin off the rails.
Here are a few things you can do every day to help you find a sense of calm with all the chaos going on:
1. Find sanity in a routine
I live with my family and dog. I have always been the kind of person who thrives on social contact. With the current situation, though, this has not been possible for a while now. I barely see anyone anymore, and whenever I get out of the house and meet people, I have to wear a mask and stay six feet away from them. It feels like things are never going to be the same again. It is very easy to lose your head when your world is turned upside down in this way.
One of the things that I have found really useful in helping me stay sane through all this is maintaining a routine. The best part is that it doesn’t even have to be an elaborate routine. You just have to do the same things at the same time every day.
Personally, making my bed in the morning sets the tone for a peaceful day. I also do some light cleaning (because my dogs are messy) and read a few pages from a good book. This usually only takes about an hour or two of my day, but it has been a really useful stress reliver for me. That’s why I highly recommend creating a simple daily routine and sticking with it. Besides, it is only human to find comfort in the familiar.
There are a lot of different approaches to mindfulness. I practice it in 4 different forms: meditation, breathing techniques, self-affirmations, and journaling. I have found that doing these four things daily has been really helpful in helping me have a more positive mindset despite the pandemic.
If you are completely new to mindfulness, I would recommend starting small with something like practicing gratitude. Focus on small, daily wins as well as the larger things you are grateful for like a loving family and a supportive community. I suggest writing down at least three things you are grateful for every day for two weeks. You will be amazed at the impact doing this can have on your worldview.
Everyone knows that physical and mental health go hand in hand. Over the past few months, since I have been moving around a lot less than I normally do, I started putting on a lot of weight. Whenever I add weight, it always goes to my face first for some reason. I guess this is a good thing because I notice it pretty quickly and it gives me the kick in the butt that I need to do something about it.
Well, for the last month or so, I made the decision to eat healthier than usual and work out daily. I have found that space and equipment limitations are not really a big deal. If you want to become healthier, nothing should stop you. I recommend jumping around, walking around in your home, doing push-ups, and doing sit-ups. Anything works, really, as long as you get to push sweat out of your body.
The best part is that if you can manage as little as just 10 to 15 minutes of exercise every day, it will immediately starts paying dividends for your mental health.
4. Get distracted
Some people like calming, creative activities like cooking or reading. Others prefer more active distractions, like dancing or singing, while others find comfort in connecting with and supporting other people, for example by looking after loved ones.
Whatever you opt to go for, the main idea here is to get distracted. As long as you do something that helps to take your mind off your daily challenges and negative, anxious thoughts, you are doing it right. So, take a deep dive into a new hobby, start reading a new book, or watch reruns of your favorite shows on Netflix. Whatever rocks your boat.
The mental health crisis all over the world is just one among the long list of crises that have resulted because of COVID –19. As the pandemic rages on, there is a clear focus on physical health, leaving everyone to their own devices when it comes to figuring out how to mentally come to terms with what is going on in the world.
The good news is that there is something you can do about your mental health. Consider adopting these tips daily for a start. And don’t forget to reach out and talk to family and friends. They are only a phone call away!