During the Covid-19 pandemic we have found ourselves turning into paranoid hygiene warriors, isolated from our tribes and reliant on social media to keep us afloat.
“We are all in this together,” I keep reminding myself as I reattach my mask over my face. All the same, I cannot help wondering how we are all coping. So many of us are affected by the loss of jobs, business closures and cancellation of festivals; some are risking their lives, others have had to become teachers at home, or innovators or volunteers. Most, myself included, are simply struggling.
Naturally, our mental health is being negatively affected. Perhaps for the first time in our lives we are trying to manage multiple feelings, in the face of a physical pandemic that has caused unprecedented levels of anxiety, stress, isolation and loss across the globe. It is unsurprising that many of us are finding it difficult to cope.
In the light of this, I have two messages for you. One: you are not alone. How you feel is not just affecting you, because we really are all in this together. Two: you are better equipped to fight these negative feelings than you realise.
Here are five ‘hacks’ to support you in dealing with your mental health as we await our own versions of normalcy to return.
- Become mindful, or make a list, of the things you are in control of, then do the same for the things you are not in control of. You cannot control the pandemic, but you can control the things you tell yourself.
- Get into a healthy routine. Wake up at a reasonable time, get enough sleep, exercise for 10 minutes a day, go for a walk, eat responsibly.
- Plan something you can look forward to, such as a trip, a holiday or even a garden BBQ. Hopes for the future will give you something to feel excited about.
Talk about it or connect with others. Talking is therapeutic, and it can help to ease the burden of feeling as if you are struggling alone.
- Teach yourself and your children something new, even if it’s just learning how to steam rice. Creating an enhanced version of yourself or completing a small task is likely to give you a sense of accomplishment, and that can only lead to positive feelings.
As we anticipate the end of lockdown, keep reminding yourself that although
you have lived through a time of deep fear and loss, you have equally been
a part of the solution in that time. It is only right that you recognise and
applaud your own bravery, compassion and self-love.