With the lockdown getting extended yet again, many of us are struggling to stay grounded and our mental health is taking a beating. Most of us would not have experienced anything like this before. The stress can be really high. We understand. That’s why we have listed a few things you can do to take care of your mental health.
- Try and maintain some sort of routine – even if you don’t actually do much during the day, make sure that you eat, sleep, and wake up at the same time every day. Routines are essential to maintain some semblance of normalcy. So if those midday naps are making you stay up all night, only to leave you groggy the next day, then maybe cut them down a bit.
- Practice mindfulness – okay wait, don’t roll your eyes just yet. Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean meditation. If you can meditate that’s great, but there are other ways to practice mindfulness too; like a gratitude journal. Make a list of things every day (or even once a week if you can’t make one daily) where you reflect on all the good things that have happened. I know that these are trying times, but if you are sitting in front of a screen reading this article, there is already a lot that you can be grateful for.
- Find a distraction
- This can be an old hobby – something you always enjoyed doing. While it can be relaxing, doing something you were already good at helps you get a sense of control in life, which is valuable when everything around you is unpredictable.
- You can also try something new – like drawing, gardening, or learning a new language. Gardening can be simple if you grow microgreens; just take a few spoonfuls of seeds you have in your kitchen, like mustard or fenugreek, sandwich them between two pieces of damp cotton or tissue paper, and keep them in sunlight. It feels quite good to see something you planted sprouting.
- Talk to your close ones and friends. They might just help you take the stress away because they too require some level of comfort. A nice conversation would just make your day a little bit better.
- Exercise – I know, I wrote an entire piece about why you need not worry about fitness, but hear me out. Keep those dopamine and serotonin levels up. The goal here is just to get you moving around because you aren’t moving around as much as you would otherwise. You don’t have to develop a strenuous workout routine. Just 5 to 10 minutes of yoga or that P.T. drill from school. Maybe dance. You don’t have to be good at it or even know how to dance; just play your favourite song and flap around (God knows I do!).
- Reduce screen time – I completely understand if there is a streaming platform you can’t live without, but you need to live outside of it too. Also yes, away from your phones as well. Staying online continuously can make you lose your sense of time and that can be disorienting in a time where it is already hard to keep track of what day it is. Also, stay away from constantly scrolling through the news because it’s going to be about the virus. Getting yourself overwhelmed with the news trends will only add to the stress. So, take some time out from reading the news 24/7, and you might just find yourself in peace.
- Get the help you need – There is only so much one can say about mental health that is relevant to everyone. Each of us is dealing with our own specific set of problems and each of us has different needs during this lockdown. If you already have a therapist, make it a point to talk to them, and if you don’t find one who can help you. You can also use helpline numbers that are available online to talk to someone who has been trained to help with such situations.
Remember, this too shall pass!