Finding Balance During COVID-19
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year. If someone had described to you back in 2019 what this year would be like, chances are you wouldn’t have believed them.
And who could blame you? This year has been like something out of a dystopian novel. Everyday life has so many different stressors itself, but COVID-19 has just amplified them further. It’s caused more financial, medical and social pressure on us all and frankly, it’s enough to send you crazy.
So how do you get through this? How do you go about your day and find some resemblance of normal life amidst this pandemic?
Accept what you can’t control
If you go into this plan thinking that you alone will be able to clear the world of COVID-19 and save the economy tomorrow, then I’m sorry but maybe you’re looking for help in the wrong place. That’s just far too much responsibility to put on your shoulders. It’s unrealistic and all that’s going to do is put your anxiety levels through the roof!
Probably the most important thing you can do to cope with this situation is to first accept that the world is a little different from what you’re used to right now, and there’s very little you can do about it. And you know what, that’s okay. Right now, you just need to focus on taking some small steps to find balance again.
Keep it regular
A daily routine goes a long way in terms of keeping you sane and happy. Although we can’t promise you’ll be stress-free in the current climate, keeping a regular routine has been shown to boost your mood, maintain motivation and productivity, promote healthy sleeping and good eating habits. Even if you aren’t going into the office anymore, you’re working from home or you’re not even working, try and develop a schedule and follow it each day. Start each day at the same time, finish at the same time and have a few activities throughout to break things up. This might be something like doing some exercise in the morning, calling a friend at lunch or playing with the family pet at the end of the day. The most important thing is that your day has some form of structure and there is consistency across your days.
Get a move on
You’d be surprised what a little exercise can do for not only your physical health but also your mental health. If you can get your blood pumping for at least 30 minutes a day it can have huge benefits for your mood. If you can get outside to exercise that’s a bonus! When you exercise your brain releases a chemical called serotonin. This chemical plays a very important role in balancing your mood, appetite and sleep and is often the main component of antidepressant medications. So by exercising you are naturally boosting your mood and promoting a healthy appetite and good sleep. This doesn’t mean you have to go hire gym equipment and lift weights every day. If that is what you like to do for exercise, then go for it! Otherwise, a simple walk, a dance around the house, some yoga or a swim can provide many of the same mood-boosting benefits and give you some natural stress relief.
Every now and then, put your blinkers on
It helps to stay informed, but sometimes you really can have too much information. COVID-19 has been widely covered by the media and every day there appears to be dozens of new stories relating to the pandemic. Many of these stories (particularly those that pop up on social media) don’t even come from credible sources. The problem is that fear sells. The media taps into your anxieties to pique your interest and get you to read their articles or watch their videos. Reading countless negative stories and watching fear inducing news videos is bound to have a negative impact on your mental health and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. If you notice that you are feeling this way, it’s probably time to pull back and limit your media intake. This might mean taking a break from social media, watching your favourite TV show instead of the news, or even changing the subject the next time your friend brings up “the latest COVID-19 story”. If you do decide you want a little more information, it’s best to seek this out yourself from trusted sources like world and government health boards and reputable news producers.
Do what you love
We may not be able to go out as much as we’re used to, but this doesn’t mean everything fun is off the table. Rather than sit at home and just wait for things to get better, try and make the best of the time you have. Do things that you enjoy. We all have our hobbies and things that bring us joy. For you it might mean gardening, cooking, reading or playing an instrument. Or you might be more inclined to tossing a ball with your pooch, watching that new TV series you’ve been waiting to come out or even making model airplanes! It doesn’t matter what it is, if it makes you happy it’s important you make some time for it. And if you don’t have a hobby or can’t think of what to do, maybe you can take this time to try something you’ve always wanted to do. Who knows, you might just fall in love with it.
Stay connected and talk it out
Lastly, but most importantly, to maintain some balance at a time like this you need to be connected. Our relationships (romantic, family and friendships) are never more important than when things are difficult. Spending time with loved ones and friends has been shown to boost mood and decrease stress. I’m sure we’ve all felt the impact of this after a great day out with friends or even just a good vent to your partner. Although seeing each other in person is limited, we are blessed in this time to have the technology to voice and video call one another. There are even some great online board game programs, so you don’t have to miss out on your family game night! Whatever your style, it’s important that you and those around you know you’re not alone.
If you’d like to learn more about maintaining balance and good mental health during COVID-19, speak to one of our professionals today!