Although a long period of isolation and restricted movement will be necessary to safeguard public health during the coronavirus situation, it has been acknowledged that it could well have a detrimental impact on people’s mental health.
So, what can you do if your mental health is suffering during self-isolation?
We video-called our go-to expert on this, health psychologist Joanna Konstantopoulou, to get her top 5 tips on how to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown.
Top 5 tips for looking after your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown
1. Maintain a sense of routine
For many, isolation will mean a loss of control over their normal routine. This might lead to fear, increasing the risk we perceive and exacerbating our anxieties. Therefore, it's essential that we identify what we can control, including work, hobbies, exercise (like home workouts and online fitness classes) and learning.
Moreover, building up a routine when it comes to exercise and fitness is critical to making it work beyond the short term. Always remember and log the positive and rewarding experience of a workout so it becomes something you genuinely want to do. Not something you just have to go through with.
Here, building or maintaining a fitness routine becomes doubly helpful. You could find that motivation becomes less of an issue.
2. Make a daily timetable and do your best to stick to it
You can use this time to learn something new or you could take an online course. Engaging in something new - like an art project - can also spark motivation and prevent boredom from setting in.
3. Stay connected with friends and family as much as you can
Now, more than ever, we need to make sure we're checking in with the people around us.
We are a social species, so it's perfectly acceptable if you're feeling angry and/or upset about not being able to engage with your family and friends in the same way as before. Connecting with people has been shown to have positive effects on our well-being, so pick up the phone and chat about how you're feeling.
4. Manage your news intake
There is no avoiding the news about coronavirus at the moment, whether you're watching the TV, scrolling through social media or searching online.
If you're finding that this constant stream of information is heightening your anxiety and impacting your mental health, seek updates at specific times and depend on traditional media with direct lines to medical decision-makers rather than social media.
5. Practise self-care
When it comes to dealing with stress, fear and anxiety, the more strategies you have in your toolkit, the better. If you usually attend yoga classes to help reduce your stress levels, do your best to practise this at home. You really don’t need a lot of fitness equipment to do this or indeed, other helpful mind body activities.
Similarly, you can practise deep-breathing and follow a guided meditation session at home as well. And don't forget, mindfulness is available to us at every moment, so take some time each day to pause and breathe.
It's a difficult time right now, so be more aware on actioning tasks and methods which will make you feel better and more secure in yourself, both body and mind.
And don't forget to pick up the phone and check-in with someone who may be struggling as well. We're in this together ❤️