Coronavirus (COVID-19) has currently changed the daily routines of many people around the world and in the UK. In order to prevent the transmission of the virus, people are being asked to remain in their homes as much as possible, work remotely if they can, and avoid contact with other people. It is understandable that such an abrupt change in one’s life can cause feelings of boredom, loneliness, worry, or anxiety. However, it is important to remember that taking care of mental health is as important as taking care of physical health. There are numerous things you can do to protect your mental wellbeing. Go through this article to find a few tips on how to take care of your mental health during social distancing.
1. Stay Socially Engaged
Staying socially engaged is essential in the sense that there are always ways to connect with other people and keep in touch online. Since it is not advised to meet or hang out with people, you can always give them a call or text them. Find ways to maintain your relationships with people even though you cannot see them in person. Social interactions with the ones you love and trust are always good for your mental wellbeing, even if they’re virtual.
2. Distract Yourself
Another thing you should keep in mind while social distancing is the fact that practicing your hobbies and doing things you truly enjoy indoors, can be extremely beneficial. There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself busy, happy, and distracted. Depending on what works for you, you may choose to read, write, paint or draw, play board games, do crossword puzzles, watch movies or TV shows, listen to music, and so on and so forth. Some people prefer baking or cooking, so that is also a good option. For as long as it is something that you love doing!
3. Find Time to Relax
There are plenty of hours within a day, and there is always time to relax. No matter what your daily plans and routines are, make sure you give yourself some time to relax. It is true that different people might have different relaxation techniques, however, it is also true that in the age of the internet, you can choose from a wide variety of relaxing activities. As a result of the current situation, there are many virtual travel options available on the internet, as well as live streams of music concerts and different events. Alternatively, you can use the relaxation time to take a shower, catch up with friends through phone or social media, embrace your hobbies, or simply rest. It is completely up to you!
4. Create a Routine
Since your normal routine will likely not be possible while social distancing, it is better you create a new one and stick to it. Plan the things you want to do during the day, create a schedule that is convenient for you, and make sure you get enough sleep every night. Some like to include home exercises to their daily routines and set a specific time for studying or watching movies. Having everything scheduled and planning ahead might make you feel more productive during the day, and this may affect your mental wellbeing for the better.
5. Get Fresh Air and Enjoy the Nature
Step outside in the garden, if you have one, or simply open the windows and let the fresh air in. You may even sit next to windows or in the balcony and get a bit of natural sunlight and fresh air. Do not close the windows and shut yourself completely. Make sure to open the windows every once in a while. You may also try growing a plant and taking care of it! Connect with nature somehow.
6. Help Other People
Keep in mind that the current situation is difficult for everyone, that is why sharing things and talking to your family and friends can prove to be helpful. Not only for yourself but also for them. It is always nice to know that you are understood and right now, we can all, somehow, understand one another and the confusion, boredom, or loneliness we might be going through. Helping other people can make you feel better, and it is quite often a win-win situation.
7. Stick to Factual Information
At the time of the COVID-19 pandemic you can find many unreliable information online which might not necessarily be true. Media intake might affect your mental wellbeing, especially if you are not careful with what you read. Not everything is true, therefore, it is crucial that you check official websites and reliable sources for information. Spend more time reading what is essential and doing what makes you happy! Sometimes, it is better to take a break from watching the news and being completely informed. Do not glue yourself to the TV or phone screen waiting for the news, do something else instead.
8. Set Goals for Yourself
Setting goals for yourself can make you work harder towards them. This does necessarily mean that you should set large goals, you could make it your goal to watch a movie everyday, or read a specific number of pages daily, or exercise. It could be anything you want to do, you should simply set a goal to do it, and you’ll be more driven to get it done.
Start with small daily goals and change them depending on your preferences. People tend to feel lost if they do not set themselves goals and aspirations, and if you find yourself having more free time than usual, set yourself reasonable tasks each day and you will feel better everytime you complete them.
9. Look After Your Physical Health
In case you were already taking any medication before the rules of social distancing, you should continue taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, if your doctor suggests it. You may ask a local pharmacy to deliver it to you, or make arrangements with someone else who can bring it to you if you cannot go out on your own. In case you had appointments with a counsellor or therapist, you can ask to move them online or by phone. Also, do not underestimate the help of exercise. There are many tutorials online on how you can exercise at home and keep yourself healthy.
Make sure you eat well, stay hydrated during the day, and eat enough fruit and vegetables. Keep in mind the coronavirus safety measures, which include washing your hands regularly for at least 20 minutes with soap and water, staying at least 2 metres away from other people, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow every time you cough or sneeze, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. These are some of the basic essentials which will help you prevent the virus from spreading.
10. Ask for Help
If you see that you might need help, do not hesitate to ask for it. Many countries have their own mental health helplines which you can contact in case you are concerned about yourself or someone you love. You can find a list of UK mental health helplines on the NHS website. In case you need urgent care, you can contact NHS 111, and if you are seriously ill or your life is at risk, dial 999.