Most of us would agree, the past week or so has been quite unimaginable. As a city, we were eager to welcome spring, with all its activity and promise.
And now, we are having to self-isolate and practice social distancing. Words that were likely not a part of our regular vocabulary just a few weeks ago.
Many in the mental health profession are understandably concerned about the impact these restrictions will have on the emotional well-being of people. Most of us are okay with one week of isolation, but several weeks, or possibly months could start to take its toll.
So it’s beneficial for us to be prepared and to start now, putting into place practices that will help us, not just to cope with our new reality, but, better, THRIVE.
Here are 7 things you can do now, to help you to come out of this situation, thriving and better than ever before!
This is very important. You may feel a temptation to break away from a routine or schedule when everything appears to have flipped upside down. But now, more than ever, strive to establish a routine. We thrive when we have a routine and this can also give us some reassurance and add some much needed stability in our lives.
Break up your day into reasonable sections. Or write out a timetable. Stick to mealtimes and bed times. Schedule your TV/Netflix/Entertainment times.
And regardless of how small your living space might be, try and designate separate areas for work, exercise, and relaxation. This allows for you to ‘commute’ between the different activities, which can help to add some normalcy to your day.
The importance of exercise can not be stressed enough. It is so vital for your physical and mental health. Since gyms are closed, find creative ways to keep moving at home.
You can do something as simple as marching on the spot (maybe put on some music!) or if you have stairs, go up and down a few times. Basically, try and and do something for a set amount of time in line with your abilities. There are many classes you can do via online videos as well (do a search on YouTube). Exercise will help your appetite and sleep. Another great benefit of exercise, especially in these times, is that it boosts your immune system.
3. READ OR WATCH VIDEOS/DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT OTHERS
Why not read about the lives of others? Or watch a documentary or video about an individual who has faced challenges and overcome them? Sometimes learning about others helps us put our own struggles and difficulties into context better.
4. LEARN A NEW SKILL
These days, we can find so many books, and online sources that can help us learn a new skill. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do but couldn’t find the time for before? This may be the best time to start!
And keeping your mind stimulated by learning a new skill, will help keep you busy and occupied on positive things, and perhaps less anxious and focused on the pandemic. And once the lockdown is over, you’ll be able to emerge with something positive to show for it!
5. SET A GOAL
Is there a project you’ve always wanted to complete? Books you’ve been meaning to read? Perhaps the basement needs to be decluttered and organized? Well, now is your chance! And once you complete some of these items on your to-do list, you’ll feel better and more accomplished. This will likely put you in good spirits!
6. PLAN FOR DOWNTIMES
Of course, not everyday will be ‘rainbows and sunshine’. There will be times you’ll feel understandably lost, sad, lonely, frustrated, and maybe even angry. Rest assured, these feelings are normal. You’re not alone in feeling these emotions. Do take the time to find out what makes you feel better. It could be calling a friend or taking some time to write about your feelings. Or maybe listening to music helps. Or taking a hot, fragrant bath. Whatever, it is, be patient with yourself. And be kind to yourself. You will feel better soon. Of course, do seek medical/professional help if needed.
7. BE POSITIVE
Most of all, remember that we are all, together, coping with this pandemic. You are not alone. We will get through this together and come out of it stronger.