Breathe in, breathe out.
You will overcome this.
You are not alone.
Help is there.
During such confusing and difficult times, maneuvering through each day can be stressful for our mental health. Aside from constantly worrying about the possibility of getting infected with COVID-19, we also face moments of distress on how to stay sane under lockdown, how to keep productive in a work-from-home set up, and how to deal with bad news in isolation.
It’s a lot to take in while being in a situation where you feel trapped and alone at home. For most of us, the change of scenario is emotionally draining, and it leaves us feeling unmotivated at the end of the day. With such overwhelming emotions, it is important that we constantly check on our mental health.
Our houses used to be our safe havens, but with having to work from home while some study from home, the lines between comfort and productivity are blurred. However, it does not mean we cannot allow ourselves to feel taken care of or pampered.
Simple tasks that make you feel good, such as doing skincare or playing a mobile game on your phone, can make a difference with how you feel. Think of things that make you feel better—a comedy movie, a good book, a nap after a shower, or even listening to your favorite podcast or playlist. The idea is that you don’t deny yourself of the little things that make you happy, and with the internet and online world at our hands, it won’t be too difficult to achieve that. Remember: Self-care doesn’t need to be fancy just as long as it makes you feel positive and energized after a long and tiring day.
Be kind to yourself
Okay, say it along with me: We are in a pandemic and it is okay to not be as productive as you once were! I understand that majority of us are thankful to still have our jobs, but don’t forget that the world is in crisis and we are allowed to feel overwhelmed. But if our clients and managers can’t seem to understand that, always remember to first be kind to yourself.
You will feel pressured to do more, but this is where you have to be in charge of allowing yourself breaks when things get too stressful. Take the time to tell yourself, “What I am doing is enough.” Also, celebrate small achievements. Got to finish a 7 AM meeting? Treat yourself to a snack. Sent client that file they needed? 10-minute break to scroll online. Only you know your limitations, so don’t stress out and put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Allow yourself small breaks
Sometimes we all need a quick break—be it from work, from other people, or even the online world. When things start to weigh down on you, the most we can do is to learn to step away.
With work, there is not really much break time in a 9-5pm (or longer) shift, but you can try to give yourself 10-minute breaks after finishing a task. It will allow your mind and body to breathe first before going onto a something else. The same thing goes with social media, while we feel that our lives are centered around our phones, too much unregulated news, especially the bad and negative ones, can be triggering. If you’re not ready for a full social media cleanse, putting your phone down even just for twenty minutes can help you mentally breathe.
Exercise if you can
Wonder why people love going to gym so much? It’s because exercising and getting to move around helps your body produce happy hormones or endorphins. Your set-up may be limited, but I assure you it is not impossible.
With the internet readily accessible, there are plenty of exercise routines available found online. Some routines won’t even require any equipment. There are also yoga sessions and tutorials on YouTube. Make it fun by also making a playlist of your favorite songs! Once you get started on working out and letting your body get used to staying active, it can definitely affect your mental health in a positive way.
Plan weekly catch-up sessions
Being away from family, friends, and special loved ones can easily make you feel alone—especially if you are used to seeing them every other day. But always remember, that despite the distance, these people are most likely feeling the same way as you do, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
With family, you can always plan a weekly or even a daily schedule to talk and catch up on one another. The same can be even done with friends. You can set zoom calls or watch parties online, or even talk through online chat rooms. Whenever you feel down or alone, your friends and family are a quick text or call away. It may me a bit tiring, but the small task of sending daily updates or reconnecting with others can help us feel more connected and less alone during these difficult times.
Get professional help
As for days that feel completely overwhelming, and emotions such as grief, anxiety and even depression begin to surface, you may want to consider getting professional help. To find that needed support for your well-being, you can call or text local organizations and help hot-lines, or even contact a therapist or psychiatrist.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fully taking care of your mental health, you can always begin with small steps that leave you feeling good.