Things are a bit strange at the moment (in case you haven’t notice). I am not going to go into the details of Covid-19 because I am petty sure that you are fully aware of it. But for those with mental health struggles, this can all be quite triggering. So I wanted to lay out some ways that we can manage it. Partly to give myself something to be held accountable to as I navigate this time along with all of you.
Find Your Healthy Routine
As soon as my workplace shut and we started working from home I drew up a daily routine to keep me in check. I did it to make sure I have a physical reminder to look at of the things that help me centre myself like yoga, meditation, nature. Here is what mine looks like.
Get Fresh Air
Given that cafès and restaurants are now closed, make sure you get outdoors. Every day. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, a stroll to the park with a book, a trip to the grocery stores. Speaking for myself, there is nothing worse for my mental health than being cooped up indoors for 24 hours a day, especially since I currently live alone. There is loads of research relating to how nature and fresh air improve our focus and reduce anxiety and depression, so try make sure you get out.
Which takes me onto my next point. If you (or your friends) are strictly following social distancing practices, there is no reason why you can’t take your hangouts online. There are loads of platforms for this like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts etc. Why not cook up some food together, sit down, chat, catch up, as if you were together? It may not be the same but it will certainly help alleviate some of the loneliness.
Choose Your News
It feels like everywhere we look all we see is COVID-19. On social media, TV, the radio, newspapers. It is everywhere. Headlines like “COVID-19 CLAIMS 1000 MORE LIVES” and “COULD THIS BE THE END?” are bound to put the fear of god in anyone. When this all started the news triggered me. Big time. I couldn’t sleep, I was worried about loved ones all the time.
So now I only listen to ONE, very short flash headline in the morning to keep updated and I try to avoid the news as much as possible for the rest of the day to help keep the anxiety demons at bay.
Reach Out to Others
We are being told to practice social distancing but that doesn’t mean we can’t still check in with those that love us. Pick up the phone, set up a Skype date etc. This is even more necessary for your friends that live alone and your friends or family with mental health conditions. Use this time to reach out and stay in touch. I cannot stress how the importance of this, now more than ever.
Reaching out to others will also make YOU feel less alone, giving you time out to catch up, laugh and smile with those you care about.
All of these tips also serve as a big reminder to myself. This is a post of mine that I will refer to when things get tough. Because I am useless at taking my own advice. So those that know me, make sure you are keeping me in check too, and ringing me up every so often.
We need each other now more than ever. We need routine, we need hobbies, we need empathy and we need self-care.
Remember, you and never, ever alone. And if you are reading this and you feel isolation is getting too much for you, please, get in touch with me.