It’s thought that right now, around half of the world is operating in some form of lockdown. Some of us are being asked to stay at home completely, perhaps because we’ve experienced symptoms of COVID-19, or because we are in an at-risk group, and so more likely to become ill if we do contract the virus. The rest of us are being asked to spend as much time at home as possible, only going out for essentials like medicine and food.
It’s essential. All of the science shows that effective social distancing is the best way to stop the spread of this incredibly contagious virus, and most people are adhering to regulations and advice and doing their best to stop the spread. But, while a month ago if we were told that we could spend more time at home, take a break from our usually busy lives and get some extra rest, we’d have jumped at the opportunity, now that it’s enforced, and we can’t come and go as we’d like, many of us are struggling.
You may have read articles online about how you should be spending your time wisely, learning new skills or languages and bettering yourself, but it’s a lot harder than you might think. It’s only natural to be experiencing a roller coaster of emotions in such an uncertain time, and a loss of freedom, mixed with good old cabin fever, might mean that your mental health is taking a hit.
With summer coming, we’re bound to miss going out and about freely more than ever, and many of us will be grieving canceled holidays and trips. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to take care of your mental health at this challenging time.
The last thing that you want is to be uncomfortable at home if you are going to be spending more time than usual in it. Fortunately, essential services like air conditioning repair, plumbing, and other home repair services are still available, and you can even order furniture and furnishings online if you need them.
Away from these more significant changes, think about what else you can do to get comfortable at home. Would moving some furniture around make life easier? Can you get soft furnishings out of cupboards to get cozy? Think about things that make you feel happy and settled, and make sure you have got them on hand, even if it’s something small like putting your favorite bedding on or adding extra cushions to your sofa.
You might want days when you do little more than lay around in your pajamas watching TV, and sometimes, that is fine. But, if you start doing it all of the time, it will no longer be a treat, and it can begin to affect your mental health.
Try to have a shower and get dressed most days. You certainly don’t have to put makeup on, wear your best work clothes or even wash your hair (there’s never been a better time to start washing your hair less!), but spending some time each day taking care of yourself, even if it’s only the basics, can improve your mood and help you to break the day up.
Try to Find a New Routine
Your old routine might have gone entirely out of the window, but getting into a new one can help you to feel better, and give your life structure. Find a routine that works for you, fitting in things like homeschooling and working if you need to, and try to stick to it as much as you can.
Have a Special Day
Within that routine, give yourself a weekend (even if it isn’t on Saturday and Sunday anymore). These could be the days when you stay in bed later or don’t get dressed. They might be the days when you skip exercise or buy a film on Amazon Prime. You could make a special meal, or treat yourself to a box of chocolates. It’ll help the time pass faster, and give you something to look forward to, just like weekends used to.
Do Things That Make You Smile
You might not be able to see your friends or go to the places that you love. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do things that make you smile. You could read a book, bake a cake, enjoy a bubble bath or use a homemade face mask. Even small things that make you smile for a short time can have a positive impact on your mental health.
Exercise takes care of your physical and mental health and improves your mood, but it also gives a sense of normality. Home workouts and yoga practices can be a great addition to lockdown life.
Remember, we’re all in this together.