Around the world, the current global pandemic has changed our lives. Although we might be getting used to this new normal way of living, we are all still affected in 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation, social distancing, and ill-health can all be tough on our mental health, and many of us might be feeling anxious, scared, and lonely.
It’s important to have some ways to manage any negative mental health effects the pandemic might be having on you, to help keep feeling positive when things get tough.
Here are some ways you can try to keep your head afloat during the pandemic, to give you a boost of positivity.
Allow Yourself to Feel Anxious
When you are feeling scared or anxious about the situation, it’s important to acknowledge and allow yourself to feel your feelings. If we immediately push away negative feelings and disallow ourselves to feel them, they tend to get stuck, and we can find ourselves worrying more.
Try to give yourself some time each day to allow yourself to feel any of the worries that pass through your mind - writing them down can help to get them out of your brain, and gives distance between you and your worries. Allowing yourself to acknowledge anything that’s causing you anxiety can give you a feeling of relief, and help you get on top of any intrusive thoughts.
Connect with Loved Ones
Staying in touch with your friends and family is so important to keep yourself from feeling isolated and lonely. We’re lucky that in 2021 there are so many methods to keep in touch with people who we are unable to see in person, from video calls to emails. Reaching out to loved ones when you feel stressed or worried can help you to feel calmer and a little safer, and can help you maintain a more positive outlook when things feel bad.
Have Structure in Your Day
Keeping a routine during times of lockdown and isolation can help with feeling productive and on top of your day to day tasks. Try to set an intention when you wake up each day and have at least one thing to cross off your to-do list. Even if you are struggling, try to do at least one small thing, and be kind to yourself to get it done. If you’re working from home, remember to take breaks and keep to a timetable if need be, to aid your productivity. Keeping busy and getting things done will help to keep a positive mindset.
Get the Basics Right
If you’re really struggling, focusing on the basic needs we all need to function is a good way to start. Try to take the steps needed to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and to stay active. This will help keep your physical health intact, which will aid in regulating stress and boosting your immune system. Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs will aid in keeping you feeling calm, and stop exacerbating your anxious thoughts.
Do Things You Enjoy
While, depending on your lockdown situation, it might be hard to do all of your favorite activities, it’s important to remember the things that bring you joy, and try and indulge in them when you can. This will help to take your mind off the difficult situation and bring a little normalcy to these uncertain times. If you find yourself at a loss, try taking up a new skill or hobby to fill your free time.
Limit Your News Consumption
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the pandemic, taking in too much information and news can make you feel more anxious and worried. Try to limit your time spent catching up on the news and especially on social media - and make sure the information you are taking in is from a reliable source. Keeping well informed while not taking in too much negative news will help you keep a level head and view things realistically - which can help you from getting too overwhelmed with anxiety.
It can be easy to slip into bad eating habits when we feel stressed and overwhelmed, especially if you are relying on delivery services or are isolating. While treating yourself can be important every now and again, it’s important to keep a balanced and healthy diet. Healthy food gives our brains the nutrients needed to maintain a positive mindset, and can hugely help if you’re struggling with your mental health. If you’re stuck inside, you can use this time to learn new recipes, and eat healthy meals that you make yourself. This will give you so much more energy, helping you stay productive and boosting your mood.
If you’re able to, getting out at least once a day for exercise, even if it’s a walk, can boost your mood. Getting out in nature can reduce your stress, even if you just get out for 10 minutes. Going for a run, or a walk, and staying socially distant can help increase your happiness levels.
Practice Yoga and Meditation
If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, practicing meditation or a yoga class can help to bring your stress levels down and feel more calm. Staying grounded in the present is essential during this time of uncertainty, and an easy way to do this is to practice deep breathing when things feel bad. Deep breaths will calm you down and increase your feelings of relaxation.
Practicing gratitude each day will help you feel more optimistic. Practicing gratitude may be hard to start out, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, but even trying to focus on small things can help you feel more positive. Try to keep a journal each night, of things you are grateful for, and look back when things feel hard.
While times may feel hard wherever you are in the world, remember that all of this is temporary and the world will not be like this forever.
Trying to keep on top of our mental health in a pandemic is no easy feat, but taking these small steps to boost your positivity can help us come out of this feeling more resilient and optimistic.
By Amy Cavill
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