The past year has been stressful for everyone. The coronavirus pandemic has shaken people’s lives up in countless ways. People have lost loved ones, had their jobs and business taken away from them, and in some cases are unable to see their friends and family. Even a cursory glance at the news headlines can send anxiety coursing through your body, and even with the presence of multiple vaccines, the outlook for the future is uncertain.
In these circumstances, it’s easy for stress and anxiety to take over. All the things that benefit our mental health – socializing, being outdoors, stability – have suffered, and it’s essential you do what you can to look after yourself. If stress and anxiety get out of hand, they could lead to physical health issues or more serious mental health concerns like depression and suicidal thoughts.
Even if you’re in lockdown or shielding under government guidance, there are plenty of things you can do to look after your mental wellbeing. The following four tips will help you boost your happiness and reduce stress levels even in the darkest of times.
One of the worst things for your mental health during lockdown will be spending too much time online. Social media and news sites are full of negative opinions, misinformation, and scary outlooks for the future. You’d be forgiven for wanting to keep up with current affairs at the moment, but try to limit your consumption of online media to no more than once a day. Schedule a few hours of tech-free time each day, during which you can give your mind a break and engage in more wholesome, relaxing activities.
Nature has a proven benefit for our mental health, and although your excursions outdoors might be limited, you are still entitled to go out and get some exercise. Whether it’s a walk along the river, a long bike ride, or a run around the local park, try to get yourself moving each day and immerse yourself in nature for at least thirty minutes.
Even if you can’t meet up with your large group of friends or distant relatives, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. With online communication platforms like Zoom, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with your loved ones. Humans are inherently social creatures, so we need to be around others to feel happy. So next time it all seems too much, organize a Zoom get-together with your girlfriends, get your dresses on, have a few drinks, and let your hair down. Or if you’re not feeling in the party mood, just give your parents a quick call to check in.
Very few people make their mental health a priority in life, but you should look after your mind in the same way you’d look after your body. Make time for yourself every day to do something that you love and that makes you happy. This might be taking a bath, watching your favorite film, or curling up on the sofa with a good book and a hot chocolate.
The global situation will eventually come to an end, but in the meantime, we must all look after ourselves and each other. By following these tips, you will be taking control of your mental health.