For the last three months or so, most of us have been under lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Mentally, it can be challenging to deal with being stuck at home and having limited physical interactions. Below are some activities you can partake in to keep you sane during this time period.
*This is not meant to replace instructions from your health practitioner. The methods prescribed are tried and tested by regular people and have worked for them. However, please see a health practitioner for clinical assistance.
1. Find someone you trust to talk to
This is one of the most important things to do, find someone you trust to confide in. It could be a close friend, a family member, a pastor from your church, a therapist or even a stranger on social media. Talking helps in that you are letting all the anxiety and stress out which makes you feel better. It’s a way to share the load with a person you know can help. Just make sure it’s a person you trust and feel safe sharing your personal issues with.
Exercising has a way of lifting your mood and you can feel great after a moderate to intense workout. There are simple and fun ways for you to exercise while being at home. You can put on some music and dance to your favourite tunes for at least half an hour (the longer the session, the better). You can also take a walk or a jog around your neighbourhood, just make sure you stay safe. If you have internet access, you can find free workout videos online. The goal is to be active for 30 minutes each time, at least three times a week for your workout to be effective.
3. Listen to music
Music is known to have a calming effect, especially your favourite songs. Some people go as far as to say that music is food for the soul. The rhythm, the lyrics and, or the singer’s voice can transport you from your current state of mind, to a better one. It can lift your mood, (if you pick the right music) or sooth any agitation you may be feeling. Create a playlist with different songs for different occasions and moods, then regularly plug whenever you feel the need to.
4. Read a book
Reading can work as therapy or recreation. You can read for entertainment or learning, or both. You can get lost in a good piece of fiction, allowing you to escape from your own reality into another. Your anxiety about your own life can ease in the process. If you don’t know how to start, try joining book clubs, or ask for book recommendations from book lovers on social media.
5. Prayer (this is mostly for believers)
Prayer is a form of catharsis, especially for believers. You allow yourself to let go of perceived control, and cede it to a higher power, which can help with easing anxiety or worry. Starting the day with a prayer can help you get through it. When there are moments you feel you can’t handle it, a quick prayer can help. Spending time with God and reading his word everyday keeps you strong and focused. We recommend the YouVersion Bible App. There are reading plans there that help deal with anxiety and stress.
Journaling is another great way to release emotions and clarify your thoughts. The process helps to clear your thoughts, and give voice to your emotions. The beauty about journaling is, there is no judgement, no expectations and no limitations to what is included in your writing. You can journal about anything, from your fears and stressors, what you are grateful for or your regrets and your plans for the future. You can even get creative and write letters to a late loved one, a friend, or a higher Being.
Being outside in nature is good for mental health. But because of the lockdown it’s almost impossible to move around. An alternative is gardening. You are focused on something else, and not worried about what is going on around you. Being outside and tending to plants is therapeutic and healing. You can make do with what little space you have if you don’t have a big garden, and get creative. There are lots of feasible ideas on the internet. And the bonus is growing your own food! Yummy, safe, wholesomeness.
8. Eat good food that you enjoy
Having healthy eating habits does wonders for both your physical and mental health. Hunger can exacerbate negative emotions. The definition of good food isn’t necessarily expensive food, it’s well made, nutritious food and a good meal will make you feel better. Maintaining a healthy diet is key to keeping your mental health in check.
There are many more ways to help maintain your mental health, these are just some of the most popular and simplest to do. Please note that general mental health and mental illness are not the same, neither are they approached in the same way. Mental health speaks to your emotional, psychological and behavioural well-being. Mental illness speaks to clinical disorders, whether mild or severe that need attention, and manifest in different psychological and behavioural ways, which are often problematic. If you suspect you’re developing a mental illness, you need to seek professional assistance. Click here if you need to talk to a professional.
What are some of the other ways you can maintain your mental health during this time period? Share your experiences in the comments below: