There’s been plenty of chat lately about how to stay physically healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. But what about mental health?
Not only is this crisis and the confusion surrounding it causing anxiety, but with more and more people in lockdown and enacting social distancing, keeping ourselves mentally fit while cooped up inside is certainly going to be a challenge!
Here are some ways you can ensure you stay mentally healthy, whilst stuck at home staying physically healthy.
1. Stick to a Routine
Don’t get sucked into two weeks of sleep-ins and not showering. Get up at the same time everyday, get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast, make a to-do list and plan your day. If you’re working from home, try to separate your bedroom and office.
Spend as much time in different parts of the house as possible, so when you go back to your bed at night, it feels like you’ve had a proper day.
2. If You Can, Go Outside Every Day
It depends on your situation – where you live, whether you’re sick or not – but getting outside, into fresh air and sunshine at least once a day will make a huge difference to your mental state. Maybe it’s just having breakfast on the balcony of your apartment. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a backyard to run around in.
If you’re social distancing, it’s still ok for you to go out for solo hikes, runs and ocean swims too (but avoid the public pool).
3. Stay Connected with Family and Friends
Everyone is in the same boat, but not the same house. Make sure you stay in contact with family and friends. They’re probably feeling just as lonely and confused as you are.
As the situation is changing day-to-day, it’s worth chatting on an almost daily basis. Everyone is overstimulated with social media at the moment and lacking in actual human contact. So forget the texts – line up a time to chat on the phone or over Facetime.
4. Don’t over Do It on the Netflix
Now seems to be a great time to invest in an online streaming site. But like your parents used to tell you, too long watching TV will turn your eyes square. Some Netflix ‘n’ chill is inevitable, just don’t spend your whole day curled up in bed. Read a book instead!
5. Don’t Oversaturate Yourself with News
Everyone wants to keep up to date, and the situation is changing by the day. But it’s not changing every 17 minutes. So set scheduled times throughout the day to check the news.
Read articles directly from a news site (we suggest the ABC), rather than a random smattering of headlines from your Facebook feed. Then go back to whatever you’ve got planned for the rest of the day.
6. Learn a New Skill and Practice an Old One
Now’s the time to go gung-ho on that hobby you’ve been saying you don’t have time for. Practice setting up your tent in record time. Paint your favourite landscape. Figure out what all the do-whackys on your camera are actually for. Prime learning time!
7. Bring the Outdoors In
We’re all going to be staring out our windows longingly for the next few weeks. So why not try to bring nature into your home as much as possible?
Buy a few extra house plants (you’ll have plenty of time to figure out how to care for them), play some soothing nature sounds and daydream about your first post-Covid adventure. Hell, why not start mapping it out now?
8. Keep on Exercising
There’s heaps of exercise you can do in your home (and it’s all free!). Check out some yoga videos on Youtube. Chuck on your favourite playlist and dance around your room. Or you could even run a marathon around your lounge room. This guy did. Get creative. And get moving! Who says the adventures have to stop?
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9. Do Those Odd Jobs You’ve Been Putting Off
You know those annoying little jobs that only take half an hour and constantly niggle at the back of your mind but you still put off doing for six months anyway? Yeah, do those now. Make a big list and tick them off one day at a time. You’ll feel bloody stellar.
And while you’re at it, keep your house clean. There’s nothing that’ll bring your mood down more than living in a pigsty and not being able to leave it.
10. Help Others Where You Can
We’re all going through it. Some more than others, but there’s no one who’s not feeling the effects of this crisis. So if you’re in a position to, help out others where you can. Maybe that means checking in on vulnerable members of your neighbourhood. Maybe it’s buying online from small businesses that you’d usually be spending with. Maybe it’s donating a few cans of food to food banks that are in short supply.
Lending a helping hand is guaranteed to release those feel-good endorphins.
Feature photo by Neil Massey