Believe it or not, a global pandemic can be almost as harmful to the mind as it is to the body – even Will and Kate are using their royal influence to help spread the word. This isn’t just because fear of the virus can send stress levels through the roof, but because sitting cooped up in a house with your own company is the ideal breeding ground for anxiety. If you find yourself feeling low, restless or worried, we have put together a checklist that will help put your mind at ease.
It’s no secret that physical exertion lifts the spirits. When we work out, we release endorphins which boost our mood throughout the day. Running is a great way to stay fit during your government-authorised hour of exericise, or alternatively you can try out some online videos for home workouts such as P.E. with Joe, in which YouTube sensation Joe Wicks provides HIIT sessions for the nation. Remember, the earlier you get your body moving, the better you will feel, and the more motivation you will have.
Stay healthy and hydrated
When your routine has been upended, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to keep yourself feeling energised. Drinking water is just as important: dehydration will have a huge impact on your mood and can make you feel sluggish and irritable – not to mention the health risks. Set yourself a challenge to drink at least two litres a day. It’s also worth noting that diuretics such as tea and coffee will not keep you hydrated, and caffeine can heighten anxiety, so try to consume these in moderation. Alcohol, too, is a depressant, so by all means indulge, but be wary of your units.
Self-isolation doesn’t have to be lonely. Thanks to the internet, it is now possible to connect with friends and family across the world. Whatsapp, Facetime, Zoom, Houseparty, Skype and Google Hangouts are all great options for group chats. If you don’t feel you have anyone you can reach out to, The Samaritans also offer a special volunteer-run service to help those in need. Remember, there is always someone to help.
Set yourself goals
There’s nothing more demoralising in life than having nothing to work towards. So set yourself daily and weekly goals so that you have something to be proud of. They don’t have to be big: it could be something as small as putting on a load of laundry or trying out a new recipe. The key is that it’s achievable. When you finish a task, tick it off and give yourself a reward. Remember, everyone’s targets are different, so measure progress at your own pace and don’t compare yourself to others on social media.
Stick to your schedule
Without a schedule, the days begins to blur into one. Find a way to delineate your week and weekend so that you can have some down time. If you are working from home, set yourself clear working hours and then step away from your desk. If you aren’t working at the moment, separate your day into different activities, from hobbies to daily chores to that all-important relaxation time.
One of the key ingredients for a healthy mind is rest. The more tired we are, the more our anxiety can take over. If you are having trouble getting your nine hours, Check out the BBC’s advice on how to sleep better. Keeping the same bedtime is always a good idea, and we also recommend meditation as a way to clear your head before you hit the sack.