Written by: Rita Magallona
Over a billion people are now cooped up indoors because of the coronavirus. Worldwide, governments are implementing stay-at-home directives in an effort to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, like Singapore’s circuit breaker measures and Malaysia’s movement control order.
Faced with an unprecedented amount of stress, people are experiencing a rise in mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Others are starting to have cabin fever, a term that originated in the west where people would be trapped indoors during the winter months. Cabin fever manifests as boredom, irritability, loneliness, restlessness, and a sense of helplessness – do these sound familiar?
Good thing we have these mental wellness tips for boosting your mood and helping you stay sane during a pandemic.
5 Mental Health Tips to Help You Cope With a Pandemic
1. Stay physically fit
The mind and body are intricately linked, so it’s no surprise that taking care of your physical health will have a positive effect on your mental status. Stay hydrated and eat healthy, even if it’s tempting to indulge in ice cream or potato chips.
It’s important to get the essentials like eight hours of sleep and daily exercise to strengthen your resistance to the coronavirus. There are plenty of indoor exercise routines, and even a few minutes can dramatically improve your mood. Also, ensure you still get enough sunlight. Just 15 minutes on your balcony can do wonders.
2. Follow a daily routine
Whether you’re working from home or taking an involuntary break from your job, make sure you stick to your usual schedule. Wake up, have meals, work, shower, and go to bed at set times. Still working remotely? Try to dress up in the morning, or at the very least, get out of your pajamas so that you’ll feel more productive.
Since you no longer have to commute, you can schedule household chores that you’ve been putting off for a while. You can even set aside time for worrying, if you need an outlet for your feelings. Having structure ensures you have enough time for life essentials. Plus, it helps you feel more in control during these uncertain times.
3. Manage your intake of COVID-19 information
Here’s something to add to your routine. Schedule checking the news twice or thrice a day, for about 15 minutes each session. That will let you see important announcements while avoiding information overload.
It’s easy to get sucked into the coronavirus news cycle, as things are changing so fast. But for your sanity, don’t monitor social media or the news constantly. You’ll just get exposed to a lot of sensational or negative bulletins, which can produce even more stress.
Even better? Keep an eye out for positive news like medical breakthroughs, volunteer initiatives, or funny stories.
4. Strengthen your relationships
How can you stay connected with your loved ones during safe distancing measures? You may be physically apart, but you can still reach out via the internet or a phone call. Ask a friend how they’re doing using a messaging app. Schedule a daily chat with your parents and siblings, or ask Grandma to teach your kids how to bake cookies via videoconferencing.
You can even host events online! Organize a virtual happy hour with your colleagues, a virtual birthday party with your friends, a virtual book club with strangers who love your favourite author… the possibilities are endless.
Above all, make sure you care for the people who are physically sharing your home. Communicate your expectations clearly, especially when it comes to chores and schedules. Whether you’re living with a spouse, kids, or a roommate, now’s the time to extend extra patience and appreciation for their presence.
5. Do self-care your way
We cope with stress in different ways. A lot of people in lockdown have started passion projects like writing a novel or painting a masterpiece. Some people de-stress by cleaning the house from top to bottom, taking online classes, or volunteering to get groceries for their elderly neighbour.
Others binge-watch their favourite TV shows, read paperback novels, or post videos on social media. For the more reflective types, keeping a gratitude journal, a pandemic diary, and meditation also help.
Which is the best method – doing nothing or being superbly productive? It’s up to you. Decide which you prefer, and do it without feeling guilty.
As you face weeks – possibly months – of isolation and restricted movement, it’s comforting to know that you can maintain your emotional and mental health. For even more peace of mind, here are tips for keeping your home virus-free.
If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting property while the circuit breaker measures are in effect, don’t worry! Our team is still hard at work.
Learn more about Ohmyhome services during the circuit breaker period.