Reducing the Effects of Lockdown on Our Mental Health
The world is currently in lockdown while we try to prevent the spread of coronavirus in a bid to reduce the demand on healthcare services. Some countries that first faced the virus in December/January are beginning to see the light and may slowly begin to go about life as normal, but for the foreseeable future, travel and freedom of movement will be heavily affected.
During this time, we have to spend a lot longer in our homes, which normally shouldn’t have a negative effect, but during a lockdown and the request for all essential travel to be canceled, it can start to play havoc with our mental health. At this time, it’s more important than ever to practice positive emotional health both for ourselves and others and to show kindness and patience, even at this turbulent time. If you are facing the next few months indoors with fewer opportunities to get out, then follow the advice below to provide a positive boost to your mental health and help to raise others around you.
Listen to Your Body
Our bodies and our minds are currently going through an experience they haven’t ever faced before, which can make our flight or fight response react in strange ways. We aren’t able to physically stand up to the virus, and we aren’t able to flee from it, which puts us into a state similar to ‘freezing’ or ‘playing dead,’ and this can make us feel tired, emotionally exhausted and create negative moods. If you feel that you need to rest more during this time, then make sure you do, especially if you need to work from home, which might be an entirely new concept to your routine and can be a difficult adjustment.
Take it Easy
For staff that has only worked in a team environment, they will quickly notice that when able to work without distraction, their productivity levels can shoot up, and they may race through their work faster than normal. This can have positive effects on your mood but also if upheld for a long time can quickly lead to a mental burn-out, which can be difficult to recover from. Consider how you would normally work in the office, breaking every now and then to have a catch up with colleagues or taking the time to get up and make a cup of tea or coffee and try to emulate this closely at home where possible. You can still improve your productivity, but rather than go from 0 to 100; you can begin by building it up gradually and make it easier for you to manage and uphold.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
It’s easy to reach for low-hassle, high energy foods in lockdown, but you could be causing negative long-term effects to your body that will take some effort to get out of the habit of. Rather than rely on high-carb or high-energy foods that you aren’t going to burn through, focus on trying to get smaller portions of low-fat foods and exploring healthy, low-effort recipes that can be created with a handful of nutritious ingredients. If you are worried about your motivation for preparing and cooking healthy meals after working at home for the day, consider creating larger batches of different meals at the weekend that can be defrosted through the week to provide some variety to your diet.
Reach Out to Others
We may be stuck in our homes for the foreseeable future on lockdown, but our communication isn’t, and we live in a world with more ways to stay in touch with loved ones than we’ve ever had the privilege of having before. Use your phone, smartphone, computers; wherever you can get an internet connection, you can connect to social media platforms and communication clients such as Skype and Discord. With webcams and inbuilt cameras on our phones, we can feel closer than ever before to our friends and family through live video chats.
Help Others Where You Can
Many in the world have it harder than we do in our developed countries, and there are millions of people living in poverty during this tough time without the facilities we have to reduce the impact of the lockdown. These communities have previously relied on charity and donations, such as zakat in Islamic countries, that are likely to have been heavily impacted at this time and may not be receiving the necessary help they need anymore. Where possible, if you haven’t been negatively affected by the current events, find a way to help others who haven’t been as lucky. Funding nutritious meals, providing warm clothing for winter, and offering much-needed care and support at this difficult time.
The world is currently undergoing a time that will be talked about for generations to come, and our actions at this time are important, not only for our wellbeing but for the good of everyone. We want to be able to look back at this negative time and feel good about ourselves and how we reacted. Do your bit today to live positively and enjoy each day as it comes, rather than focusing on the things that are out of our control.