The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, but many of us have returned to a semblance of normalcy with an attempt to live in this endemic.
While it is good news that offices, schools, and entertainment facilities are starting to welcome people back after months of tightened measures and precautions, anxiety levels remain high. Months of isolation have taken a toll on our mental health.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the stress that comes along with uncertainties? Or feeling constantly unmotivated and emotionally drained? Here are 6 ways to take care of our mental health in these trying times.
Stay active – Engage in physical activities
Spending more time at home doesn’t mean we have to turn into couch potato. Exercising is a natural mood-lifter as it releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone, and gets the adrenaline going! Recall, we always feel good after a difficult workout, right? The best part about being active is that anyone can do it. Any type of exercise works, as long as it is something enjoyable and doable for you. Skipping, going outdoors for a walk, swimming or even dancing. Sweat it all out!
Keep a Gratitude Journal
As we go through challenging times, it can be difficult to count our blessings. Start a gratitude journal by recording positive things that happened throughout your day, whether it is a small win or major achievement, there is something great about everyday. When done daily, this exercise trains your mind to think positively.
Be mindful of media consumption
During times like this, it is human nature for us to be on the lookout for the latest Covid-19 updates. Tuning in to the news isn’t the best thing for your mental health as you might go into an endless rabbit hole of worrying about the future. If you find that you’re worrying a lot about the news, it’s healthy and appropriate to put boundaries around your time. Instead of tuning into the news, pick up a book or listen to a podcast.
Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness. It allows you to be present in the moment, quiet your mind, or at least paying attention to your thoughts and letting them go without reacting to them. Meditation can help reduce stress, ease symptoms of depression and anxiety, and regulate negative thinking. Taking 5 to 10 minutes out of your busy day to practice meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. Try using apps like Calm, which offers guided meditations at your fingertips.
Getting enough good-quality sleep keeps your immune system running at its best to fight off free radicals and infections. Sleep is one of the top ways we can help keep stress in check, as sleep deprivation can make us more sensitive to the effects of stress, feeling irritable, exhausted, short-tempered, and frustrated by everyday annoyances. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major sleep havoc for some as stress level increases causing interrupted sleep. If you are dealing with sleep disorders, consider the following:
- Set up a relaxing routine before sleeping (i.e. put on a mask and turn on classical music in the background)
- Turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and sugar intake after 12pm
Stay connected with your loved ones
Social connection is closely tied to our mental and psychological health and as humans, we naturally want to stay close to our loved ones. Thankfully, in times like this, we are able to tap onto the power of technologies such as Facebook (or Meta), Instagram, WhatsApp and video calls to stay connected with our loved ones. You can even stream a movie with your loved ones online together! Do keep a lookout on our upcoming post on binge-worthy Netflix movie/drama list. Sometimes, just having a conversation with your loved ones is enough to brighten your day.
Set aside time for date nights
Life could get hectic and it could be challenging to set time aside for date nights, but taking time to unwind and relax away from children gives you the energy required to continue being a parent effectively without burnout. Having connection and intimacy are important aspects to mental well-being. It doesn’t always have to be a fancy date, you can get creative with it. Some ideas include cooking a meal together, checking out an exhibition that you have been meaning to go to, a picnic date or even a day trip somewhere. The point is being able to spend some alone time with your partner, recharge and come back rejuvenated. Establishing a weekly date night routine keeps the relationship exciting and you always have something to look forward to!