While the world has had pandemics before and pulled through, the Coronavirus is proving to be right up there with the worst of them. As the numbers keep climbing daily and more and more governments decide to go down the lockdown path, people are slowly but surely beginning to feel the effects of that kind of isolation on their mental health.
Social distancing and curfews are now very much the norm in many parts of the world and reports show that at least 45% of all adults agree that the worry which comes with the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.
Since the world is still not sure how long this problem is going to persist, it’s only logical that each and every person begins to take better care of their mental health. What can you do to make sure that you stay sane both during this pandemic and after it passes?
Tips on How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During COVID-19
There are several steps that you can take to manage and maintain your mental health during the pandemic and almost everything else that life throws at you as it so often does. Here are some helpful tips:
Manage Your Expectations
There is a very good chance that your employer, like many others, has asked you to either work from home or has given you some kind of leave of absence from work. While it’s logical to think that this quarantine period is the break that you have been waiting for to get all those personal projects off the ground, the truth is that it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Underestimating just how negatively this isolation and mandatory quarantine will affect your mind in terms of concentration and productivity is a mistake. For most people, productivity, concentration and even the motivation to get anything done will be lacking. At least in the short run. Therefore, don’t be too quick to fill up that “to-do” list. Take your time and let your mind adjust to the new reality before you begin setting realistic goals. Just go easy on yourself.
Take the Time to Rest
You have probably noticed how little sleep you usually get on normal days by now. It would be a good idea to find out new ways of relaxing and getting much needed rest. However, as the quarantine and isolation period continues, you will probably find it harder and harder to sleep because you are used to going to bed tired but now you have nothing to do.
One of the best ways to ensure that you remain well-rested despite all that is to buy a new mattress for better sleep and find new ways to keep your mind engaged. Read a book or better yet, write one. Learn a new skill or find ways to enhance the ones you already have through online learning.
Come Up with A New Routine
In these times of isolation and lots of free time, routine is a valuable friend. As adults and human beings in general, we thrive on routine. It’s what we know from childhood all the way to adulthood. The routines we follow change often but they almost always exist. If you are used to a 9-5 schedule, you will find that your routine has been thrown off. Especially if you have to work at home without necessarily logging in any specific hours.
For the most part, you will find it difficult to distinguish between when it’s “work time” and when it’s “non-work time”. These times tend to overlap when you run your own schedule. Come up with a strict routine that ensures you don’t overwork yourself and vice versa. Having a solid routine will help you keep anxiety and that awful feeling of uncertainty at bay.
Find Ways to Proactively Manage Your Stress
You might not realize this but having too much free time on your hands can actually be stressful. Not only do you get really bored but you begin to have feelings of uselessness that stem from your lack of productivity. These feelings tend to slowly snowball into a lack of self-esteem and helplessness. You have to take proactive steps to manage the stress that comes with this lack of activity and productivity. One of the best ways is to prioritize your sleep and maintain a good routine between sleep and work. You should also ensure that you exercise as much as possible to keep your fitness and endorphin levels high.
Stay in the Present
Often times you will find yourself contemplating what the future might hold. You will worry about keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. You will also, unfortunately, find yourself thinking about the possible worst-case scenarios. This will only create uncertainty and anxiety. Ward off those thoughts by staying in the present. Focus on what you can control and take each day at a time. It’s that simple.
Granted, it will take a lot of discipline to maintain good mental health. Exercise and eat well as a healthy body will help you maintain a healthy mind.