How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)
Maitreyi has always been a very social and outgoing person. Naturally, the lockdown hasn’t been easy on her. To begin with, she has been isolated from her family and friends ever since the lockdown was first mandated. This has taken a huge toll on her mental health.
Moreover, she has also been struggling to find a work-life balance causing her to feel tired and stressed out all the time. The inability to stick to a daily routine has caused erratic sleeping schedules and unhealthy eating habits. Isn’t this the case for many of us during this pandemic?
How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Pandemic
Mental well-being is as important as taking care of your physical health. Making simple changes to your daily and weekly schedule can help enhance your mental health during this challenging and stressful time. These seven essential mental health tips will help you protect your mental health during the pandemic:
- Follow a Balanced Diet
Following a healthy and balanced diet doesn’t just ensure your physical well-being, but also mental health. Healthy foods contain complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly, thus stabilizing your moods.
Similarly, eating healthy also affects neurotransmitter production positively. Put simply, it promotes an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus and prevents mood fluctuation.
Furthermore, healthy eating habits also include taking your meals at consistent times. Taking meals at fixed times in a day maintains physical and mental equilibrium. Moreover, it also helps you avoid stress-snacking and stick to a healthy diet.
- Stay Active
Regular exercise is one of the most effective mental health tips to protect your health during the coronavirus pandemic. Apart from physical health benefits, regular exercise is known to reduce anxiety and depression across all age groups. In addition, a regular exercise routine also boosts endorphin release that stabilizes and improves mood.
Set aside at least 20-30 minutes a day to stretch and work out. Set up a make-do training area at your home where you can perform yoga, stretching, or high-intensity interval training. Working out for even 3-4 hours a week will help you ensure physical and mental well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Reach Out
The feeling of isolation and lack of human interaction caused by the lockdown can adversely affect our mental health. It can lead to increased levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and impede sleep. Thus, reaching out to your family and friends is one of the most effective mental health tips that will help you during the lockdown.
Connect with loved ones regularly through email, texts, phone, or messaging and video chat apps. Talking about your experiences and feelings to your friends and family is essential during times of crisis.
- Take Time Out for Yourself
Taking a break from your work and digital presence and doing something for yourself is essential for maintaining mental well-being. Taking these breaks every once in a while helps you reboot and clear your headspace.
You can use these breaks to focus on your hobbies and interests, read a book, paint, or just sit with yourself. These breaks will help you relieve your stress and rejuvenate your mind.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep and mental health are very closely connected. Sleep deprivation or an erratic sleep schedule has serious long-term health consequences including diabetes and severe heart conditions. Furthermore, sleep disturbances can also exacerbate the symptoms of many mental conditions including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Thus, having a fixed sleep schedule is one of the most effective mental health tips to protect your mental health during the pandemic. It helps you steer clear of many mental health conditions as well as physical health complications. In addition, a consistent and set sleep routine also keeps your moods stabilized.
- Maintain Work-Life Balance
A proper work-life balance draws solid lines between your work and other aspects of life. It can be extremely challenging to maintain a work-life balance during the lockdown. Since your home has also become your workplace, the work-life balance that keeps you motivated can get disrupted.
Blurred lines between work and other aspects of life can leave you burnt out, overworked, and stressed. Thus, managing your work-from-home environment is crucial to strike the perfect work-life balance.
Having a dedicated workspace at home can help Maitreyi and other individuals like her in striking the perfect work-life balance. Furthermore, it is advisable to take regular breaks between work to avoid burnout and stress. Establishing a routine can also go a long way in drawing solid lines between your work and other facets of life.
- Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness allows you to enhance the basic human ability to be fully present. To elaborate, observing what is occurring both inside and outside of ourselves is known as Mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness allows you to focus more clearly on your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the external environment in the present. With a better focus on everything inside and around you, mindfulness also enhances your mental well-being.
There are various guided exercises for mindfulness training that can be learned over the web and practiced routinely. These guided exercises can prove to be very effective during times of crisis. Mindfulness training also helps in identifying early signs of anxiety and stress.
Maitreyi and many like her are going through an extremely challenging time because of the ongoing pandemic. Being restricted in her home has taken a huge toll on her mental health because of the isolation. Furthermore, the work-from-home leaves her feeling stressed and tired all the time.
She’s also very anxious and distressed about the safety of her family and friends. These seven mental health tips will help Maitreyi and other readers facing the same problems protect their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.