The term “new normal” gets thrown around a lot to describe the times we live in, and while it’s becoming cliched, I can’t think of a better way to define this COVID era. And with a new normal comes new lifestyle changes, and new challenges to confront. A big challenge being taking care of our mental health during a pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak has made it practically unsafe to travel. Which means, our activities are restricted to the confines of our homes. That makes our homes not just our place of comfort and rest, but also our college, workplace, and place of social interaction.
While coping with this change is bearable for some, it’s understandably a mental nightmare for a good number of us. Isolation isn’t for everyone, and it can take a toll on our emotional wellbeing.
Keeping this in mind, here are 5 ways we can all stay emotionally well during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rest and relaxation
Ironically, spending most of our time at our place of rest can easily get quite hectic. A combination of completing household chores, work-related tasks, and more, can leave anyone drained at the end.
With everything that’s happening, you’ve gotta set time aside for relaxation. You could try out relaxation activities such as meditation and simple exercises.
Including relaxation into your daily routine will help lower your heart rate, reduce fatigue and frustration, and boost confidence. Even 10-20 mins of rest and relaxation can help ensure you’re emotionally healthy.
Have a healthy diet
You are what you eat. Not just physically, but even mentally. Your brain is running without any breaks or pauses, so think of nutritious food as the fuel that keeps your mind in motion. And just like a car, your brain needs the right fuel, which is of the right quality, to maneuver through life’s ups and downs.
Lucky for us, we live in a time where enough research has been done on the correlation between nutrition and mental health. A study by the NHS, among other credible sources, says that everyone should be consuming at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day. You could even explore the highly recommended Mediterranean diet, which includes vegetables as the base, along with unsaturated fats.
The benefits? Eating the right food can go a long way into increased energy levels, and can improve your general mood. As a result, it becomes easier to cope with your day’s challenges, which will further boost your self-esteem.
Reach out to people
It’s important to practice social distancing, but that could easily turn into emotional distancing. It’s no secret that times are indeed tough for everyone. Keeping this in mind, the last thing anyone should be doing is keeping their emotions to themselves.
Maya Angelou famously said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Make it a point to talk to friends/family about your emotional wellbeing. Reaching out to them will give you understand your feelings better, and will put things in perspective. Also, when you reach out to the right people, you will end up feeling assured that things will be fine and that you’ve got what it takes to soldier forward.
Fix boundaries between work hours and personal time
Always understand that you aren’t a robot who exists to merely complete a bunch of tasks. You’re a human being who deserves time to cool off and do the things you like.
With your colleagues, try your best to mark out the time slots during the day when you’ll be active. Avoid looking at emails and work-related stuff during your personal time. Doing this allows your mind to recharge and unwind. It leaves you fresher and more mentally prepared to take on the next day’s work challenges!
Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine consumption
Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine are feel-good substances. The three of them produce neurotransmitters, which can become quite addictive and lead to an energy drain. And during such trying times, it’s easy to just want to spend our days drenched in the immediate pleasure such substances bring.
Heavy alcohol consumption interferes with the chemicals responsible for your emotional wellbeing. Smoking cigarettes tends to increase anxiety and tension. And excessive coffee drinking can aggravate symptoms of panic disorders.
While of course, there is an argument for how the three can be consumed in moderation. But, it’s best to refrain from them to ensure that through this pandemic, your mental health is taken care of.