Since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us around the world have been in isolation or quarantine for several weeks now. Some of us will undoubtedly be feeling the impact more than others, with each of us being affected differently, depending on our individual circumstances. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you with the managing of anxiety and the impacts of social distancing.
#1 Reframe your mindset
The idea here is all about perspective and how you view a situation. Rather than think “I am stuck at home”, try to look at the situation differently. “I now have the time for myself to do those things I’ve longed to do” will help you to immediately feel more positive about the current circumstances. You may not be able to get out and about like you’re used to, but you may now have the time to finish that project, do those DIY jobs, read more books, or enroll in an online course.
#2 The importance of sleep
If you’re someone who usually lives a hectic lifestyle that doesn’t give you as much rest time as you’d like, now is the opportunity to get some much-needed rest and take some downtime. Sleep is not only essential for our physical health, productivity and concentration, but it is also equally great for our mental state and overall well being. Lack of sleep, especially over a long period, can become a trigger for anxiety and other issues, so please make sure you’re getting enough rest and use this time to recharge your batteries.
#3 Structure your day
If you’re someone who likes routine, you may be experiencing some anxiety surrounding the disruption to your everyday routine. One idea to help you with this is to stay as close to your normal routine as possible, which will help to somewhat resemble the pre-lockdown days. A lethargic lifestyle can have a negative impact on your mental health, so try to stick to your usual time of waking up and going to bed, getting dressed in the morning and keeping active.
#4 Choosing a time to worry
If you’re new the concept of creating a ‘worry time’, then you might be wondering what this means exactly! The idea is, instead of resisting your worries and obsessions, you are encouraged to address them but only in the dedicated ‘worry time’ you’ve scheduled for yourself. You can start by setting aside a short amount of time per day (say, 10 minutes) dedicated solely to the things that are worrying you or are on your mind. At the end of your worry time, let those worries do using calming breaths.
If you’d like more information about this technique and how it could help to reduce and manage your anxiety, please feel free to reach out to me.
#5 Minimise news and social media
Although it is important to stay in touch with the world and keep informed of what is going on, it is also equally important to not obsess or worry over headlines and conspiracies. If you are struggling with the adaptation of a new isolated routine or are experiencing some anxiety, this could be worsened by the things you see or hear about in the media. A tip for controlling this is to schedule in set times to check your social media or read up on news.
#6 Try meditation
Meditation can be fantastic for our mental health and overall well being. If you’re new to meditation, you can easily access a vast range of guided meditations using apps such as Calm, or by joining many of the meditation sessions currently being offered virtually via Zoom and similar platforms. You can also take a look at my blog post about some simple principles of mindfulness, which is not meditation as such but will help to bring you into a peaceful state of mind.
#7 Minimise chaos in your home
A chaotic environment can lead to a chaotic mind, so reduce the risk of this by creating a calm and relaxing home environment as much as possible. I’ve already mentioned creating routine, but to supplement this you can start by organising and tidying your living spaces, de-cluttering, and creating boundaries such as only eating at the dining table rather than in bed.
#8 Remember that you are not alone
However difficult it may be for you, please remind yourself that you are not alone in this, even if it may feel like you are. It is so important to reach out to someone if you begin to feel your worries or anxiety getting too much.
There are lots of online interactive social activities available, such as online choirs, karaoke, exercise classes, pilates, yoga. To help with your search, I’ve listed a few below:
There is lots of mental health support available at the moment so remember that even though you might be alone physically, you’re most definitely not on your own in this and will be welcomed if you need to reach out.