This week, and certainly in developing weeks, most companies, schools and even shops are being shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the direct health benefits of minimising social distances are evident in the face of a hair-raising pandemic, it is necessary to consider the mental health consequences that can come with distancing ourselves socially. The need to stay indoors, interacting less with other people and even transitioning our lifestyle drastically can all lead to raised levels of anxiety and terrible moods.The UK government report suggests that up to 20% of the workforce could be off work because of the pandemic. Many other organisations have been working expeditiously to allow their staff to work from home. It’s not just large businesses like Google and Twitter who are telling their team to work from home, I’m sure many of you are also doing so; to curb the spread of this proliferating disease. Although working from home might be a feasible practical solution, stress and anxiety will potentially arise, primarily when you do not communicate in person with your colleagues on a routine basis. Maintaining your mental health during this trying period is crucial for your general well-being and sanity; here are a few tips for coping with this during isolation and social distancing.
1. Do not get yourself drowning beneath all the negativity.
If you are finding that the continuous 24/7 coverage of coronavirus is making you feel the opposite, especially on social media sites, then you should opt-out. An endless stream of negative and impacting news will tend to cause one to feel anxious and stressful. By quitting the story altogether, you will slowly realise that those negative cognitive spirals would not be such a strain. Choose one time in a day if you feel the urge to check out the news, make sure it’s from a reputable source, and don’t get caught up in the endless social media scroll, to avoid getting unnecessary rumours that might make you feel nervous.
2. Staying at home might mean that you will be travelling around less, so you can overcome this by doing some home workouts.
The future of this outbreak might seem bleak at present; however, active gym-goers have begun to reconsider sharing pieces of equipment, locker rooms or even communal areas. With gyms being closed, home workouts do not necessarily need to be dull or monotonous. Essential exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups and squats will definitely push yourself to reach your own goals without the need to use weights. You certainly would not need a gym to be fit unless you are an Olympic weightlifter.
3. Pick up a unique hobby, and it does not necessarily need to be something intricate.
Hobbies are often deemed as activities for people who prefer quiet and untroubled lives, but people who are used to working around the clock will need this more than an average person. Fun activities will help in shifting your focus to other pleasures, making sure that you can recharge their batteries by discovering something new. You do not need to explore anything that is challenging, such as learning a musical instrument but even simple activities such as exploring a new genre to read or cooking an innovative dish will relieve your anxiety and stress levels.
4. Start off every morning by taking a cold shower.
Have you ever found yourself relishing a warm bath, only to be caught in the moment by bone-chilling water? The idea of showering in cold water might sound daunting to some; however, scientific studies have repeatedly proved the perks of cold showers to well-being and health. If you ever feel that it is hard to get out of bed early, a cold bath will definitely be an obvious solution. Chilly showers will improve blood circulation and is capable of producing mood-balancing hormone serotonin with dopamine, which helps combat stress. In fact, doing something that you are resistant to might seem counterintuitive, but it trains the resilience of your body systems to adapt to new situations. This is particularly beneficial in times like this, where drastic changes in our lifestyle are inevitable.Planet Earth is on the tip of an iceberg. As the pandemic has sent countless companies reeling, desperate governments are trying to curb the spread and look for a cure. With everything that has happened, mental health is a topic that should not be overlooked. One thing for sure is that in this time of obscurity, anxiety and mental health, must be a priority for everyone in this unprecedented journey.