Hello lovely people! To say that the world is having a moment is an understatement of epic proportions. I have been on the fence about what to blog and it came to me that I should use my skills as a Counsellor to help those who need it. So if you’re feeling anxious or just need a toolkit to refer to and help others, this is for you. Here’s how to look after your mental health during the pandemic.
How to Look after your Mental Health During the Pandemic
Ask for Help
If you’re in that anxious loop please ask for help. Interrupting the loop of negativity is necessary and it can help to talk to family and friends. Or if you can afford it, online or telephone counselling. If you’re currently employed, see if you have access to EAP benefits. Asking for help does not signal weakness, it’s just the disease talking and they lie. Also, if you know what would help you, tell your loved ones. That way, if you need help they will know what you need and not what they think you need.
I know, you know and we all know that movement can help with your mental health. I’m not saying go full out Thor mode, you can if you want to. He, Chris Hemsworth that is, has a whole fitness app with workouts, meals and a wealth of information. I’ve been using it for some time and it’s pretty good. If that’s not your jam and you want fun stuff, check out Instagram, YouTube or Facebook for free classes. There’s even dance classes that you can check out here and here. My co-workers and I have started a boogy break. We each send a song as certain times during the day and do a dance wherever we are. It’s fun and helps to calm anxiety levels.
As trite as it sounds, taking a few deep breaths can help slow your heart rate down. We tend to shallow breathe a lot because we’re in constant fight or flight mode. This doesn’t bode well if you’re feeling anxious. Take a few minutes each day to belly breathe. Take a deep breath so that your belly rises and slowly exhale. Do this a couple times throughout the day until it becomes natural. It’ll also be a good way to self soothe if you’re feeling particularly anxious.
Create A Routine
If you’re self-isolating or, in full on lock down, please create a routine and stick to it. We human beings need order and consistency to have a sense of security. If you’ve moved to working from home create a suitable routine for your day. Get up and get dressed as you would if you were going out into the office. Pyjama days are great but shouldn’t become the norm.
Next on my list of how to look after your mental health during the pandemic is, to plan. Plan for when the pandemic is over. It could be as small and as grand as you want it to be. Maybe it’s simply going outside for a walk with the dog (if you have one) and not worrying. Or, maybe it’s doing something that will make you feel secure should this happen again. You could start an emergency fund.
Minimise News Consumption
Listening to news constantly can raise anyone’s anxiety levels. I’m not saying to ignore it completely, just minimise your consumption of it. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Pick a time of the day when you are in a better mental head space to receive news. If you’re with family, maybe ask that they only give you the highlights or, wait until you ask to be told. Figure out what works for you.
There are other tips like; meditation, yoga and finding things that make you laugh. These are the tips I wanted to focus on right now. If there are other ways that help you deal with anxiety please share in the comments below. Let’s help each other out in this unsettling time.
Thanks for reading my tips on how to look after your mental health during the pandemic. Until next time, be well and stay well! x