It’s normal to feel stressed and anxious when times are uncertain. COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, and with rapid updates it can make you feel like wanting to push the panic button multiple times a day. Here are a few ways in which you can take care of your mental health while self-isolating.
- Make time to talk to family and friends – even if it’s over video-chat
Whether you’ve spent the day in your pyjamas playing with the cat, watching Netflix or cleaning the house, it’s natural to want to chat about the mundane happenings in your life – we’re social creatures! That’s why video-chat is going to be your best friend over the coming weeks – it allows you to keep checking in with your friends and family that might not be feeling so great, while also allowing you to keep socialising – all while keeping that all-important distance of course. If you don’t have video-chat, why not look at online forums – there are some great positive online forums constantly updated about almost anything you can think of; try searching for something you’re passionate about.
- Take a break from the news
Understanding what is happening around the world is incredibly important, but it can become so easy to be sucked into a trap of constant updates, deciphering and discussing theories, and waiting nervously for breaking news. This can have a negative effect on your mental health – staring at your laptop screen with hundreds of internet tabs open, scrolling on social media for hours and waiting patiently beside the television can damage your daily routine – you might find yourself a little bit obsessed. Take a breather – turn off your social media, leave the laptop and step away from the television. If you really can’t step away from the news, try and limit yourself to only 20 minutes per day – let your brain rest and relax for a while.
- Keep to a routine
When you’re working from home or your classes have been cancelled, it’s so easy to get into a ‘never going to shower again’ routine, where pyjamas rule and Netflix is a very close second. But when you’re in self-isolation, sticking to a routine is of the upmost importance. If you have a coffee at 8am each day at the office, make sure you do the same at home. Shower, wear work-appropriate attire, take your breaks as you usually would and keep to your regular hours – try not to think of it as self-isolation, think of it as working from home. And if you need the company of your colleagues, set up work meetings via Zoom, or call, text or video-message them via FaceBook – you’re all in this together.
- Feel Productive
If you’re hitting a mental roadblock while working from home – perhaps you can’t work without your favourite desktop mouse, or you just can’t work in a home environment – take a break. Stressing yourself out won’t help your productivity but having a cup of tea in the garden might. Take some time out to go for a walk and clear your head, read a book without feeling guilty for half an hour, or make your favourite lunch. Working from home can make you feel like you’re not working hard enough, but if you make yourself comfortable in your new office surroundings your productivity will rocket.
When you’re working hard in a new environment, even if it’s a comfortable environment, time can fly when you’re tapping away on that keyboard alone. Set alarms to make time to hydrate, stand outside and get your daily dose of vitamin D, and always allocate yourself a lunch break. Working through will only end in exhaustion and deficiencies – definitely not what you’re after when you need to boost that immune system! Eat, drink water and see the sun – your body will thank you for it.