It’s a crazy, crazy time we’re living through right now. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc throughout the world and it’s such a helpless feeling knowing that there’s so little you can do to help besides #stayathome. (If you are one of those key workers that are vital to the infrastructure of our community and continue to save lives while risking your own throughout this dreadful time, I salute you!)
I am a self-confessed home-body. I love being in my familiar safe place. I love sleeping in late. I love being able to cuddle my fur-babies whenever I want to. But, at the same time, I also have diagnosed mental health problems and a change in my regular routine can spark anxiety and depression to raise their ugly heads.
For many of us, our mental health has really taken a battering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so I thought I’d offer a few hints and tips that will hopefully ease your anxiety while we fight Corona Virus (from the comfort of our sofas!)
- Remember… We’re all in this Together
- Be Kind to Yourself
- Create a Routine
- A Tidy Home is a Tidy Mind
- Invest in your Environment
- Stay Active
- Concentrate on What You Love
- Stay Connected…
- … But Disconnect from Negativity & Scaremongering
- Pamper Yourself
Remember… We’re all in this Together
It’s quite humbling to know that we’re all in this together, regardless of social status, bank balance or materialistic possession. No fancy holidays, extravagant dinner dates, monthly salon visits… We’re all stressing about being cued up for hours just to get into Asda or Target to do our weekly grocery shop; We’re all sick of relying on Facetime or Zoom to communicate with our loved ones, rather than being able to physically throw our arms around them; We’re all probably sat at home in our p.j’s, hair thrown up on top of our heads, watching Netflix and indulging in too much junk food and alcohol while trying to desperately DIY remove our grown-out acrylic nail extensions. (Oh… just me?) So, if you’re like me and get down because you feel like other’s have it so much better, let’s take heed and realise we’re all in exactly the same boat right now.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay that you don’t wake up until 11am because you feel as if there’s nothing to do. It’s okay to feel guilty because you’re unable to be as productive as you usually would be. It’s okay that you’re living on sandwiches since it’s so difficult to get out and do a thorough, healthy food shop. It’s okay that your kids have spent more time watching Disney Plus or playing Xbox than doing actual school work.
We’re living in a time of crisis and sometimes you have to do the easy thing to alleviate a little pressure and keep your head above water.
Create a Routine
Routine is great for our mental health as it helps us to feel more in control. Of course, strict scheduling can be a little more taxing when it comes to living stress-free, but a loose daily plan could be beneficial. It also allows us to factor in daily healthy habits, even if it’s as simple as waking up at the same time each day, drinking a large glass of water before our morning coffee, fitting in a quick workout or a 20-minute speed clean (which brings me to my next point.)
A Tidy Home is a Tidy Mind
With our family now spending 85% of the time in the house (besides our daily walks and the fact Alex is a keyworker), we are definitely making a lot more mess. The laid back schedule of being stuck inside with minimal time constraints means we’ve become prone to mutter the words “I’ll do it later” more than I’d like to admit.
Unfortunately, my mental health rapidly declines when my environment is messy and cluttered (Which is totally ironic since I am one of the messiest people I know). A tidy home really does equal a tidy mind and I find being surrounded by clutter and mess just makes me stress.
To overcome this, I ensure my family is on board with helping around the house, where possible. I’ve outlined all of the daily, weekly and monthly chores on a piece of paper and hung it up in the kitchen to remind ourselves of what needs to be done and how often. Last out of bed also makes it. A simple task like making your bed really sets you up for the day (I’ve honestly only started doing this since lock-down. I know, I suck at adulting.) Even getting your little ones to chip in is a great way to alleviate the workload. I get TJ to make his bed, bring his dirty clothes down and make his own cereal each morning to encourage his independence.
I’m a huge fan of 20-minute speed-cleaning and I usually get in a session after my morning coffee. Set the timer on your phone for 20 minutes and load the washing machine, wash up, wipe around the surfaces and sweep or hoover the most high traffic areas of your house. Sometimes cleaning and self-care is all about the small incremental wins when you have mental health problems. And if each member of your family does a 20-minute speed clean, even better!
Invest in Your Environment
As well as keeping your home clean and tidy, investing in the environment you’re secluded to will make it so much more bearable to spend prolonged periods of time. Plus, you’ll finally get to tick off those DIY’s that you’ve been putting off for months.
I’ll be giving a few rooms around the house a much-needed lick of paint, as well as ordering some new rugs and bedding for extra comfort. If I feel up to it, that is. Don’t stress if you don’t 🙂
Exercise is great for your mental health but with gyms everywhere closed due to Covid-19, there are very little options.
I’m a big fan of home-workouts and there are thousands of videos targeted to varying abilities over on Youtube. A few favourites of mine include Rachel Aust, The Body Coach and Pamela Reif.
There are also some brilliant apps available on Iphone and Android, particularly Seven which I have used since I was at uni way back when I was 22. I love a real-life experience, so those where virtual personal trainers guide me through workouts are my favourite. I find them so motivating.
Finally, don’t forget your daily walk, run or cycle if your government allows it.
Concentrate on What You Love
One positive thing about being on lockdown due to Covid-19 is that it’s allowed us to concentrate on the things we really love in a bid to bust our boredom. When all this started, I was so adamant that I wouldn’t want to do anything fun to relax and would spend my whole time stressing. Eventually, I loosened up and learned to let go of what I couldn’t control…
In college, I did a diploma in music performance and I’ve adored playing piano since I was around 6, although I learned from ear and never mastered reading music. Since lockdown, I have been learning how to play and read music properly with the help of an app called Simply Piano. Even T.J has become a keen pianist and has picked up reading music like a duck to water thanks to the app. We spend between 1-2 hours every day practising and it’s great at passing the time while learning something new and having fun.
Alex and I’s most favourite evening past time is… Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix (get your mind out the gutter, guys)! Finding a great series with plenty of episodes that you can get obsessed with and watch back to back is the best.
Blogging has also been a great outlet as it’s allowed me to express myself creatively while being productive. You can blog about literally anything!
There are so many things you can do to have fun or learn just by picking up a book or downloading an app. Try learning a new language with Duolingo, make or watch hilarious video content on TikTok or find your next fave series over on Netflix. The possibilities are endless.
One thing I’ve come to realise amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, is how much I took for granted the ease of walking or driving a matter of a mile or so to visit those I really care about, whenever I wanted to.
The next best thing to being able to throw my arms around my favourite people is the existence of apps like Zoom and House Party. These are all multi-way video apps that allow us to see, and speak to, our family and friends in real-time. House Party even lets you play games with one another!
… But Disconnect from Negativity & Scaremongering
When Covid-19 really started to escalate, it was such a huge anxiety-provoker for me that I would watch every single daily briefing. I found myself researching constantly, arguing with people on Facebook over what was real and what was total BS, and clicking on every Coronavirus-related article that popped up on my newsfeed. I found it so hard not to take notice, yet also so easy to get pulled in by fake news and scaremongering articles, created purely for the clickbait. At the same time, I wanted to stay educated as it was something that worried me so much, especially having a son who is medically considered high risk.
I soon realised that it was really bad for my mental health to invest myself so deeply in finding out what was real and what was fake. Now I only pay attention to official sources such as the UK.gov or USA.gov websites.
I keep making jokes about “glowing up in quarantine” but pampering myself has been the thing I have been most invested in. A lot of beauty treatments require downtime which you probably wouldn’t get while living normal life out and about, so quarantine is the perfect time to try.
2 weeks ago I retouched my shadow root and highlights as well as cut my own hair (I’m a junior hairstylist but there are so many tutorials on Youtube). A week ago I performed a 25% TCA chemical peel at home, learned how to perm my lashes, laminate my eyebrows, use a Fibroblasting pen and dermaroller.
The truth is, if you’re an insecure person, looking into every mirror in your house and picking yourself apart becomes second nature. Treating yourself to a good old pamper makes you look and feel so much better about yourself.
If you’re not familiar with more invasive or chemical-based treatments, considering staying makeup-free, invest in your skincare, go a whole week without washing your hair, let it grow and skip the heated tools.
Otherwise, a hot bath (or shower) with candles, penetrating condition on your hair and face mask once a week is an amazing remedy for relaxation and way to reduce stress.
Did any of these tips help? I’d love to know how your mental health advice during the Covid-19 pandemic! Feel free to comment below.