With these pandemic days sparking off an uncertain economy and a whole new normal way of living that we have had to quickly adapt to, it is only natural that our mental health can begin to suffer.
Just six short months ago, we were celebrating the new year and welcoming everything that 2020 had to offer. We were optimistic, looking forward to the future and eager to enjoy time with our families, seek out a new promotion, or travel overseas.
Fast forward to today and there is seemingly little to be optimistic about. You might not be able to see your parents because of social distancing, your job may be looking uncertain, and you can’t scratch any of your wanderlust itches any time soon.
Maintain good mental health during such a traumatic period can be challenging. It’s all too easy to let intrusive thoughts cloud your thinking and succumb to negative ways of living. Lockdowns can lead to isolation, feelings of hopelessness and worry.
You need to take a step back and be proactive in managing your anxieties, worries and concerns.
Take a look at this guide and learn a range of techniques to help you remain positive and stress-free during these pandemic days.
For most of us, anxiety is an acute affliction that is caused by something specific, whether this is an important presentation coming up at work or a test or exam that needs to be studied for. Once the anxiety-inducing moment has passed, so does the stress and the worry. Things are a little more long-lasting in the current climate with coronavirus having taken hold globally. There is no end in sight meaning that people who are predisposed to feeling anxious suffer massively. Chronic anxiety can be difficult to manage and can take over your life.
To combat this, consider investigating hypnotherapy for anxiety where a professional will utilise a range of techniques to help you feel calmer, more relaxed and address the root causes of your anxiety. Hypnotherapy can be helpful for a range of aims from quitting smoking to getting over a phobia. Anxiety is no different, and the results can have a hugely positive impact on our way of life.
If your anxiety levels are through the roof and you are worried about your mental health, talk to your doctor. By sharing your thoughts and talking through your issues with an objective figure, you can find that you feel lighter physically. Talking therapy is often prescribed rather than tablets and medication to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety can feel like a burden and releasing this is crucial to feeling better and moving forward. If you don’t fancy talking to a doctor, chat to a friend online or pick up the phone to a family member. Use your support network and allow them to help you.
If you are keen to maintain a positive outlook during the Covid-19 crisis, consider taking up yoga. With the lockdown, there have been many yoga practitioners releasing free online beginners’ videos to help complete novices have a go at yoga from the comfort of their own home. Yoga is no longer the realm of dreadlocked hippies, chanting and sitting among burning jasmine-scented incense sticks. Doctors are even choosing to prescribe courses of yoga rather than medication to help people with stress, anxiety or depression.
Yoga is a great way to focus your mind. Through a range of postures and movements, you will learn how to strengthen your core and develop more flexibility. This enhances your physical health and also your mental well-being. Alongside these postures, breathing exercises can maintain you to maintain a more even keel mentally. Breathing allows you to focus on your stresses and relinquish them. Your mind can become calmer and more positive. Coupled with mindfulness exercises, you can learn how to remain in the present rather than seeing everything pessimistically and worrying about things that might not even happen in the future. It is this wasted worry that can leave us feeling drained and anxious.
When you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you will wake up feeling tired, low and emotional. Sleep is necessary for sound mental health. Even if you are working from home at the moment, lack of sleep can result in you making silly mistakes, not being alert or missing meetings. You need to ensure that you are proactive in getting back your sleep routine.
Being at home for longer periods means that you lack the structure that your day usually has. You no longer need to set an alarm, embark on the daily commute, head to the office and return home to cook dinner. Now, you can remain at home and not even have to get suited and booted. However, to try and claw back some routine, you should treat working from home as if you are heading into your place of work. Set an alarm, have a shower, and wear some formal work attire. Open up your laptop and check your emails. Ensure that you work away from distractions like the TV, social media and the kids. You need to create a home office environment that allows you to separate your home and work environments.
When you take breaks, head outdoors to help you ward off cabin fever. Take a stroll around the block, go for a short cycle ride or take the dog to the park. This will help you soak up some natural light rays, helping to regulate your hypothalamus. This is your body clock and allows you to set a more suitable circadian rhythm, helping you to fall asleep quicker when your head hits the pillow.
In the evenings, ensure that you eat a healthy supper. Don’t opt for the heavy carb-laden food, and go for leaner meats, oily fish and green leafy vegetables instead. These healthier foods create fewer sugar spikes meaning that you will enjoy a more constant release of energy. Think about what relaxes you and spend some time partaking in these activities. You might want to read a good book, run yourself a hot bath or spend some time in the garden. Whatever it is that keeps you calm, go for it.
Ban the screen for at least a couple of hours before bed. It’s all too easy to scroll through Facebook or watch the neverending stream of rolling news. However, this does nothing but heighten fears and worries meaning that you head to bed with nothing but negative thoughts whirring through your mind. Stay calmer by playing a board game, chatting with pals over the phone or reading that latest bestseller. Then, you can head to bed, resting your weary bones, and you can wake up feeling more alert after a night of unbroken sleep.
Do Something New
Learning a new skill, whether this is a new language, a new art form or a musical instrument can take your focus away from all things negative. Maintaining good mental health means giving your mind something positive to work towards. Set yourself mini goals and chart your progress. If you fancy learning the cello, take an online one-to-one beginner’s lesson. If you want to learn a new language, download an app and get practising. If you are eager to brush up on your curry skills, whip out those dusty recipe books and get cooking up a gastronomic feast in the kitchen. By doing something new, partaking in hobbies and pastimes, you won’t have a chance to get bored or see your mind wander. It’s ok to watch the news, but it’s not wise to have it on twenty-four seven. There are other things to focus your mind on other than coronavirus.
While a lockdown can be isolating, and you may miss the hugs from friends and family members, it is not an entirely negative situation. You can still remain in touch via all things virtual. Skype and Zoom have enabled individuals from across the globe to chat on a daily basis and still see one another’s smiling faces. This can bring some much-needed joy to your waking hours. Ensure that you schedule some virtual meetings with your nearest and dearest as this can give you something to look forward to. As lockdown eases, take advantage of meeting up outside whether this is in your garden or in the park. You might miss the physical contact but you can still chat, laugh, joke, have fun and enjoy one another’s company. We are emotional and social beings so ensure that you don’t find yourself getting isolated.
Being proactive when it comes to our mental health is crucial at all times. However, when we may face redundancy, struggle with not seeing our families and we might have financial concerns, we need to be wary of anxiety, emotions and stress more than ever.
By following this guide, you can be more reflective, calmer and recognise the signs that will tell you to pay more attention to your mental well being.