With the WHO announcing the arrival of COVID-19 and the Prime Minister of India declaring a lockdown, the panic has set in. With a lack of information, rumours and misinformation, people all over the world are struggling to make good decisions. Though we are all fighting the coronavirus pandemic by following the rules, this is a challenging time for all of us.
Humans are social animals and most thrive on the daily social interactions we experience. While some introverts are more than happy to continue living their lives, people have started experiencing anxiety, panic, depression and the feeling of isolation. This is the result of the hope we all held on to, which was the curfew would end on 31st March. But seeing how the world is struggling to contain this pandemic, the Indian government took the timely decision of choosing the safety of billions over everything else.
So does that mean we are all heading towards a negative mental space? The answer, though not simple, is no. We can combat this burst of gloomy thoughts and pessimistic outlook by taking care of our mental health.
1. Stay Connected Digitally
Many of us work far away from our homes and live alone. And while that’s a great career move, this can be really testing during this lockdown. You may spend the first few days in pure heaven, working from home in your pyjamas and doing whatever you please. Slowly the sense of loneliness and isolation might creep in and we need to conquer that. The key is to keep in touch with your family, friends and even colleagues. And there are tons of ways in case you are wondering how to stay connected while in quarantine.
- Allow yourself some quality time to get on video calls with your loved ones.
- For all the video games lovers, this is your time to shine and level up.
- Board games have transitioned to the digital world and you can play games like ludo with your friends far far away.
- For those of you in relationships, connect with your partner and keep the relationship going strong with calls and video calls.
- With work calls, even though audio calls are fine, suggest a day or two in the week where everyone speak to your team on video.
2. Stick To A Routine
Staying at home can make you go from feeling lively to lazy in a day. Typically the first few days we follow a routine. But soon enough, we start skipping things and procrastinating. This can push you into a state of melancholy and hopelessness. But we can stop everything going bleak.
- This is your chance to follow your dream skincare and haircare routine. No more excuses about being short on time and tired beyond belief.
- Create a separate work area if you are working from home. Keep it strictly professional, turn off all social media apps and start working. Also, follow these efficiency tips in case you are figuring out how to improve productivity while working from home during the lockdown.
- Being at home can translate to eating anything at any time. Avoid doing that and stick to a food timetable.
- Do not give up your daily in-house chores or activities like gardening, meditation, religious tasks. Carry on with your routine just like any other day, albeit inside the house.
- If you have kids, set a routine for them as well. Schedule arts and crafts, games and puzzles, along with activities like karaoke, dancing, reading and many more.
3. Clear The Chaos
You might not be motivated to clean the house and tidy it up. Since it’s just you or your family, it becomes easy to slip into a ‘let-it-be’ mind frame. Avoid that and stay charged. Allot a specific area or room of your house and schedule clean-ups. Do a Marie Kondo and clear the chaos in your house as well as your mind.
- Sort your cupboard or almirah. We are all great at hoarding stuff we don’t need and we are pros at giving excuses. But let’s change that from today.
- If you are slowly transitioning from your work area/room to the couch or your bed, it’s time to stop. Keep your work and personal life as separate as possible.
- Eat in the kitchen, nap in the bedroom and socialise with the ones you share the house with, in the living room.
- Keep your living space as tidy and clean as you can. A cluttered space is an invitation to claustrophobia and we need to avoid that.
- Set up mental zones and stick to those for the designated activities.
4. Avoid News Obsession
Being at home makes it easy to turn on the tv and stay glued to it all day long. With a section of the media sensationalising the news for TRPs and traffic, we can lose the sense of reality. And this pushes us deeper into a panic-frenzy that’s just not good.
- Keep yourself updated at regular intervals with the news regarding coronavirus and COVID-19.
- Stick to credible and reliable sources only. Surfing news channels all day long will fill you up with garbage that might not even be true.
- WhatsApp forwards are just like Chinese whispers. Do not rely on social media for important information.
- Visit the WHO website or the government healthcare website for valid information.
- Avoid sharing any and every piece of information that comes your way. This may send others into a frenzy.
5. Dealing With Anxiety And Depression
Many of us are already dealing with mental health issues. With the lockdown in effect, our therapists and caregivers will be unable to provide us with sessions. This can be stressful for those trying to deal with anxiety and depression. But there are options available for you.
- Contact your therapist and ask for a session over a phone call.
- A number of licensed medical and psychology professionals are conducting sessions through video calls.
- You can attend a group therapy session online and get some relief.
- Remember to reach out if you need help and have a conversation with a loved one who understands the situation.
- If you have family, friends or colleagues going through this, reach out with a helping hand digitally. Call them and let them know that you are there to support them.
Keep your mood uplifted and upbeat by doing things that make you happy. Reading a great book and listening to joyous music is a great way to stay strong emotionally and mentally during this lockdown. Tweak your perspective, cross out the chaos and stick to a routine. Remember, a few days in-house will ensure a lifetime of freedom from coronavirus.