These steps may help stop you going stir crazy
THE mental health impacts of a lockdown that shows no sign of ending can’t be ignored and when you combine that with the potential loss of work, the inability to see friends and family and the underlying fear of contracting the virus, it’s little wonder so many of us are feeling stressed out, anxious or depressed.
But while the situation is tough and it could get tougher, it’s not hopeless, and just as we need to maintain our physical health during this difficult period. We also need to focus on maintaining our mental health, too.
If you’re feeling stressed out in isolation, remember that you’re not alone, and there is a lot of really valuable resources you can access, including those offered by Beyond Blue.
Here are my tips on how to stay mentally healthy in isolation:
1. Get moving: One of the happy by-products of exercise is it’s a sure-fire way to release feel-good hormones in the body. Working up a sweat releases serotonin and norepinephrine, each linked to lower rates of depression because they make you feel great.
2. Explore the not so wide and open spaces: Sure, beaches and national parks be off limits, but you can still find smaller ways to engage with nature, be it spending time sitting in your back yard, taking a stroll through your neighbourhood or simply posting up by an open window. Studies have found that connecting with the environment reduces stress and anger and increases your feel-good hormones.
3. Stay connected: The benefit of a lockdown now and not 10 years ago, is we are spoiled for choice when it comes to connecting with family and friends from afar. Whether phone calls, video chat or texts, we need to stay connected to the people who matter. As soon as I finish writing this my wife and I are having a video dinner with friends.
4. Make time for you: It’s easy to fall into a routine of sleep, work, eat, repeat, but you need to work in time for yourself. Many are using this lockdown as an opportunity to practise a language or learn an instrument, but if that’s too extreme, find the little things that make you happy (meditation, cooking, an hour with a good book) and make time for them every day.
5. It’s all about perspective: While we’re all doing our part by staying inside and helpmight ing slow the spread of the virus, remember that the brightest minds right across the globe are working around the clock to solve this problem. And they will solve it. This is not the new normal, it’s an unusual blip that will pass. In the meantime, take care of yourself and check in on those around you and we’ll all get through this together.
GET OUTSIDE: Daily exercise is allowed as part of the restrictions and good for you.