COVID-19 lockdown: How to take care of your mental health

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting all our lives and all the news can be dreadful. Don’t put pressure on yourself to come out of this with a new skill, 10kgs lighter, or even with a new business up & running. This is a time of uncertainty which can be triggering for many. If you need to just sit back and get lost in ‘trash’ TV, have an afternoon nap or disconnect from the world during the COVID-19 lockdown, then do that. We live in an ‘always on’ society and it can get overwhelming, especially in the midst of a pandemic, so I find that putting my phone aside often helps.

This time requires us all to stay informed with the latest updates on COVID-19 (read: NOT fake news to those WhatsApp moms sending chain messages everyday 😂) but we can’t be fixated on it 24/7. Consuming news all day can negatively affect your mental health, and lead to panic and anxiety. We need to remain calm and keep as much normality in our lives as we can.

What you have to say:

I posted on my Instagram story asking my followers what they were doing to take care of their mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown and here’s what they had to say: 

mental health tips during COVID-19 lockdown quarantine
taking care of your mental health in lockdown or quarantine
mental health in quarantine

Thanks to everyone for the insightful contributions 🙂

For those who thrive on staying productive and social during this time, here are some things to keep you going in a positive mental space:

Self-care is key: Pamper yourself with an at-home pedi, wash your hair and put on a face mask. Click here and give this DIY lip scrub a try to keep those lips soft. It makes you feel so good! 

Stay connected: Although we’re all social distancing and can’t physically spend time with all our loved ones, it’s important to still stay connected. Don’t centre all your conversations around COVID-19. Check in on how your loved ones are doing, both physically and mentally. Keep conversations light-hearted with jokes- not to sound cliche’ but alas, laughter really is the best medicine. Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile (not that ex who broke your heart). If you’re going to the grocery store then smile and thank the essential service workers for what they’re doing. They may be filled with even more fear, coming into contact with so many people but needing to continue working so they can take care of their families.  A simple act of kindness may brighten their day more than you’d think. 

Keep moving: Move that booty! You don’t need fancy gym equipment to exercise at home. There are tons of social media workout videos and fitness apps that you can follow to help you exercise. This is the one part I’ve been struggling to incorporate because I’m still working like usual. I’m tired during the week and then just want to relax on weekends. Although I’m working from home, the workload and hours are still the same, if not worse at times (I work in healthcare marketing & communications so you can guess that COVID-19 is impacting what I do). I’m challenging myself to exercise at least every second day and get out of this rut, after having not worked out for months! Maybe this hiking vlog on my YouTube channel will help motivate us all 😉

Upskill yourself: Take an online course or watch YouTube tutorials on something you’ve always wanted to learn. 

Read that book you’ve been putting off reading for months.

Use the extra time to do something special for your loved ones: Acts of kindness don’t always require a lot of money or leaving your house. The simple things often mean the most. This could be cleaning, doing your moms hair or nails, putting that piece of furniture together that’s been sitting in the corner for weeks, cooking (my boyfriend loves it when I cook for him). It could also mean taking time to give your undivided attention to your kids.

For couples in lockdown together: 

Don’t lose touch with your individuality: Spend time on your own every now and then. Do things that you enjoy as an individual and stay in touch with people outside of your relationship. Thanks for the tip Hlumelo Williams.

Use the time to get closer and get to know your partner better: Learning ever stops. Whether it’s a chat over lunch, cleaning together or a fun game, there’s so much you can do together to strengthen your bond 😉

#Couplesinquarantine

If you’re working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown: 

Set boundaries and try to separate your work space from your living space where you relax. If you usually knocked off at a certain time before the COVID-19 outbreak, then try to maintain that. Get up, shower every morning and have a healthy breakfast before your work day starts. You can still work in pajamas though, because who has energy to get dolled up for a Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams meeting? My personal favourite is workout clothes, I mean how comfy?!? Just keep it ‘profesh’ at the top 😉

What I’m doing during this time:

Now, I don’t give this advice as someone who is ticking all the boxes. I’m writing this as someone who is trying to incorporate these things into my life. Writing is therapeutic for me and I think putting this out there will motivate me to move more and put action to the words I’ve been spoken for ages.

I’m an ambivert, which means I’ve got a mix of introvert and extrovert qualities. While staying connected is important to me, I also feel drained when I’m ‘always on’. My work is very stimulating so constantly talking to people or consuming digital content can be draining too. It’s important that I take hours at a time to myself, where I don’t respond to texts or go on social media. That’s what keeps me sane. I live with my boyfriend so we’re enjoying the extra time together. I’m also upskilling myself, started a new hobby which I plan to turn into a business, making an effort to cook more and maybe I’ll finally pick up that ol’ book and finish it. 

How are you staying in a positive mental state during the COVID-19 lockdown? Comment below and let’s chat, it might help someone out there 🙂

Stay safe and stay healthy xx

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