Lockdown wears away at everyone’s mental health. Maybe at the start of quarantine, you were active and determined to put on pants each day, but it’s quite possible you’re now spending all day in bed. The COVID world gets to you, and it can be a tall order to try and stay calm, centered, and at peace with yourself. So here are a few kind reminders and suggestions for how to upkeep your mental health in our new reality.
1. Set ground rules for internet use.
Use your time on the internet wisely, or you’ll find your mental health languishing as the days slip away from you. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day and be intentional about setting aside time for entertainment. There’s no need to feel guilty about catching a break with Netflix, but do it within a set amount of time so that you’ll have time for other things in your life.
Also, be mindful of how you consume the news. Be especially wary of doom scrolling, the phenomenon of obsessively clicking on worrying headlines and intaking negative information. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stay up to date on the state of the world, but that you should do so in a way that doesn’t harm your own mental health.
2. Keep in (remote) touch.
Just because it’s not safe to meet in person doesn’t mean your social life has to suffer. There’s a wide world of different options to stay in touch out there. Simply texting can be an easy way to check in with each other, but make sure you get some face-to-face time in as well. Set dates and times to gather together with your friends and just hang out. You can make it special by planning virtual movie or game nights, cooking sessions, charades — you name it. Get creative!
Humans are social animals, and we require frequent socializing in order to thrive. Spend time with your loved ones and you’ll enjoy mental health benefits like improved moods, stress relief, and the self-confidence that comes with feeling loved.
3. Stay active.
It can be tempting to while away whole days in front of the computer, but the long-term health effects just aren’t worth it. To take care of your mental health, you also need to be concerned about your physical health. Take frequent breaks from your devices, stay hydrated, and engage in at least half an hour of exercise each day. It can be as simple as doing a low impact indoor workout, or taking a socially distanced walk around the neighborhood. You could also try picking up a new exercise routine like yoga or pilates. Your body will thank you for it, and so will your mind.
4. Try new things.
Often, the most well-adjusted people are also life-long learners. They love picking up new hobbies, practicing new skills, and learning about new topics. Lockdown can be grueling, and one way to make it a little easier on your mental health is to try new things. That way, you’ll really have a reason to get out of bed and appreciate the day with all its possibilities.
Give yourself a challenge to focus on so that you can feel excited and energized. So go for that new baking recipe you’ve always to try out, or dig into arts and crafts. Make friends with your inner child again so that the adult you can take a well-deserved rest.