All around the world people are being told to stay home because of the coronavirus. Many are in lockdown or total isolation. This includes my family. My wife is immunocompromised, and she and our family have been advised to stay home and totally isolate.
It can be a tough transition to make. And for many people it will challenge their mental health.
There are things you can do to reduce the effect isolation from the coronavirus will have on your mental health.
Let’s take a look at a few tips to get you through.
Maintain Social Contacts
The term “social distancing” is one that needs to change. Physical distancing is a much better term. Maintaining social connections is really important for good mental health.
Thankfully we live in an age where you can do that without going outside your house.
Here are some ideas
- Have a virtual coffee with friends
- Video call family
- Have a watch party of your favourite tv show or movie and be online discussing it
- Call a friend and have a good chat
- Join an online group where you can talk to people.
Accept the Changes & Keep Perspective
Life has changed. But it is only temporary. This will pass.
The rhythm of life will be different. Embrace it and make it work for you.
Remember Your Contribution
By isolating you are helping reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community. You are protecting people. Playing your part.
This is something to be proud of. You may not be in a high-risk category for those who contract the virus, but you are helping to save lives. That is no small thing.
Create a Daily Routine
Routines are good for mental health anyway. During times of high stress and when you are isolated this is even more important.
Have periods of work or study set out.
If you have school age children set aside time to help them with their schoolwork.
Schedules are not as restricting as you might think. If you have one it will give rhythm to your day and help you cope.
And keep to your regular “work” week. If you have weekends off, then keep doing that. Otherwise the days will all blend into each other.
Prioritise Time for You
As a parent, student and employee it is often very easy in normal life to not look after yourself.
Looking after you, both physically and mentally, is even more important in this quickly changing environment.
When working out your routine make sure there is time for you. To read, meditate, do YOGA. Figure out when suits you best and schedule in some Me Time.
- Get Outdoors
I know this sounds like a strange thing to say when we are supposed to be physically distancing from each other. Going outdoors doesn’t mean you need to go near anyone. Get in the car and head for the nearest big park or national park. Take a walk. Even just walk around your neighbourhood. Fresh air is good for you.
Look after your physical health.
Try and eat well and get some exercise.
There are many ideas out there for getting exercise at home. You can even get free dance lessons from Debbie Allen (of FAME). Many in the fitness field have YouTube channels where you can find free classes.
Keep your regular sleep schedule. Don’t stay up all night. You still have to deal with kids, study and work the next day.
Check your social media use
If you find yourself spending too much time on social media, or if social media is causing you anxiety or stress, maybe have a time out for a few days each week.
Ask yourself regularly if social media is doing more harm than good. It can be a good idea to unfollow accounts or hashtags that may cause you anxiety.
Check the source of any information
This goes along with social media use. A lot of what is on social media about the corona virus is NOT FACT. Follow sources like the World Health Organisation or Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Your local health department is another good source.
For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms. Contact your mental health team and see if they have practices in place that mean you can go visit them. If you can’t physically go into an appointment, many professionals are offering video appointments
For others, this could be a tough time mentally. Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.
I hope these tips help you get through these tough times. Reach out if you want to connect. You can find 2 B Continued on Instagram and Facebook.
And enjoy the cat pics.
Stay safe and look after your mental health as much as your physical health.