The Coronavirus pandemic has not only affected the physical health but also the mental health of people around the world. Stresses from periods of isolation, changes in job situations and financial concerns, loved ones becoming poorly or passing away, increased responsibilities with balancing work and childcare and more, have all contributed to taking a toll on our mental health.
As we head into the winter months, we may again be faced with spending even more time in our own homes. Use these 5 self-care tips to try and help to protect your mental health during coronavirus:
Exercise helps our brains to release feel-good endorphins to give the mind and mood a natural boost. Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity helps relieve stress and anxiety whilst also improving memory and sleep quality, all of which contribute to more positive mental health.
Staying active does not have to mean an exhaustive daily workout. Find something you enjoy such as walking, jogging, or cycling, and aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, 5 times per week. Using technology to monitor your health and fitness can help to motivate you further. The Kinetik Heart Rate Monitor provides real-time data during your workouts to help you train more efficiently, whilst the Kinetik Body Composition Analyzer helps to track improvements in key health parameters such as weight, BMI, and body fat.
If you have felt your mental health deteriorating after lengthy periods indoors at home, try to spend more time in the great outdoors.
Natural daylight and fresh air are natural tonics for the mind. Being indoors during the lockdowns has left many feeling isolated and increasingly demotivated, but as restrictions lift you can enjoy the outdoors whilst remaining safe by following social distancing guidelines.
If you are fearful of going out in public, a face mask can help provide physical protection against coronavirus whilst making you feel safer too. Staying home for mental health is important, but learning how to feel safe outside of your home is equally so.
Find a new routine
The world is suddenly talking about how it is adapting to a ‘new normal’, but what if you feel unsure and unprepared of making changes to your life?
The key to recovering from a chaotic period like lockdown is often found in restoring some structure to daily life. This is also an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and define your own ‘new normal’.
Aim to stick to regular wake up and bedtimes, and if you are still primarily working from home, you can still make other commitments to give your days more direction. Decide on times to exercise, contact loved ones, or arrange a socially distanced walk with a friend. For those mainly working from home, it is extra important to have boundaries of when you can ‘switch off’ from work and stop checking e-mails, to avoid burn-out.
A well-practiced routine will help protect your mental health by giving you renewed purpose.
Find time to relax
Staying at home does not necessarily mean you have felt relaxed. Working from home, home-schooling your children, and worrying about your health may have left you feeling strung out and exhausted. Exhaustion can have a negative effect on mental health, and it is vital that you give yourself some downtime too.
Schedule some time for self-care into your new routine, aim for a few early nights and try something to promote mindfulness such as yoga, a DIY project, or just listening to your favourite music.
Talk to others
Sharing your fears is an important way of protecting your mental health. If there is someone you trust enough to talk to, speak to them. Or you may prefer to contact a third-party for support. If so charities like Mind can offer support for mental health, as can the Samaritans or seeking advice from your GP. Remember that you do not have to suffer alone.
For support specific to mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit this fantastic NHS site. It has further helpful tips for managing COVID-19-related anxiety, as well as links to available resources if you or someone you know are struggling with a mental health issue.