LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING DURING COVID-19
These are some of the ways in which Covid-19 outbreak may have an impact on our mental and emotional health, at several levels.
Businesses and the self employed will be worried about the impact of loss of work on their finances
Being couped up at home for several days, weeks or even months will lead to anxiety, depression and overwhelm
Ongoingly hearing about the virus and the escalation of deaths will create health and death anxiety
Public mass alarm
Listening to continuous news items and reading posts on social media will become alarming and overwhelming, leading to anxiety and panic
Loss of control
I may feel that you are no longer in control of your life, which leads to overwhelming feelings of being out of control
Getting on each others nerves
Suddenly being forced to be in close proximity with family members and being in a small space together can lead to frustration and getting on each others nerves.
The following mental health tips may be useful to combat some of the impacts of this:
Keeping yourself connected by telephone and other virtual means can keep your mental health in check. Arrange to have a cuppa over Skype with a friend, or phone a family member for a chat and a catch up. If you don't know how to use Skype or other virtual platforms, call someone and ask them to help you get set up.
Time off from social media
Switch off your gadgets and take a break for your eyes. Continuous checking of messages and news can be overwhelming and add to your stress levels. Promise yourself some time in the day to be tech free.
Find a clear space in the day to sit and breathe. Inhale fully and exhale fully. Fill your belly with breath and imagine your outbreath brings out all the toxic stuff in your body. It may help to focus your eyes on something like a candle, a spring flower or any other object from nature. Don't worry if your mind strays. Just notice when it does and bring yourself gently back to your breathing.
Know that it's normal
In these unprecedented times, it helps to remind yourself that the stress and overwhelm you are feeling is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Our bodies have to adjust in some way when our lives are turned upside down. Sometimes they respond with symptoms such as panic and anxiety, or with low mood. It's our body's way of coping with what's happening and it's normal. If you feel yourself becoming frustrated with your household members and they start to get on your nerves, it doesn't mean that your relationship is falling apart. It's normal, and perfectly acceptable to have these feelings. Talk with them about it. Don't bottle it up.
Do the things you enjoy
What's your thing?? Art, crafts, reading, music, writing, flower arranging, origami, languages.. there is so much opportunity to do something you wouldn't normally get time to do. Anything creative helps to focus the mind and process difficult feelings. It doesn't need to cost a thing - just use whatever you have lying around the house and pick up new skills - most things can be learned using Youtube!
Most importantly, take advantage of the one form of exercise you have daily - go for a walk, run, cycle - any exercise is shown to have a positive impact on wellbeing. If you are house bound or are unable to walk, run or cycle, you can exercise sitting in a chair. Look at videos on chair yoga. Just don't stop moving.