7 Tips On How To Keep Your Mental Health In Check During Lockdown
Create healthy routines that will keep you occupied and have beneficial impact on your overall health during COVID-19 lockdown.
With a history of anxiety and panic attacks, I’ve always considered self-care important, but it is especially vital during the pandemic lockdown. I developed routines and discovered new activities specifically designed that would help maintain my mental health and give me a sense of purpose during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Download Headspace app
I tried meditation before, but I’ve never done it regularly. Now, I included meditation into my daily routine because the Headspace app makes it so easy. The first thing I do after I wake up and the last thing I do before going to bed is a 2–3 minute mediation. It is a powerful way of tuning in to your mind and body by using breathing techniques, detach mentally from negative thoughts and stop over-thinking. Focusing the mind on the breathing process helps alleviate the need to think about problems and pressures. As a result, it opens your mind to release feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, Headspace helps me find calmness and balance in my life with its meditation and mindfulness techniques for daytime use. Another benefit of this app is a personalized plan based on a little input from the user, so you can learn the essentials of meditation and build from there.
If you have trouble sleeping, Headspace also offers a variety of storytelling sleep casts, meditations for sleep, including music and nature soundscapes, so calming your mind before bed is easier than ever before. Try the free version first, and if you like it, there is always an option to get the paid version that gives you full access to the app’s features.
Transform your bathroom into your personal SPA
Dreaming of your peaceful retreat where you can relax and unwind in solitude? Now it’s the time to turn your bathroom into a Spa, a place where you take care of your body and mind in a relaxing setting.
To achieve a zen environment, I started by making space and removing clutter in my bathroom. I also upgraded my bathroom appliances and added decorative touches, such as hanging a eucalyptus bundle on my shower handle. It looks great and smells even better when you shower! You can also achieve a stylish and affordable spa-like atmosphere in the comfort of your home by stocking up on candles, bath salts, diffusers, rose petals and bath bombs. Do not be scared to add your personal touch through your creative DIY projects. I love bath bombs and beeswax candles handmade by local businesses, and I always have a few candles in the bathroom for a cozy ambiance. This is also a great way to support small businesses and local makers through this pandemic. Once your bathroom transformation is complete, you will find yourself impatiently waiting for your dedicated me-time every day.
Find your exercise routine
Exercise is your best friend when it comes to fighting anxiety. It causes the brain to release dopamine, which is the chemical that induces pleasure in the nervous system. Those who exercise are more easily able to beat depression. Besides, exercise lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease, reduces inflammation in the body by lowering the levels of unhealthy chemicals, and improving heart rate, stamina, and sleep quality. The most popular exercise programs that offer physical and mental benefits are weightlifting, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), cardio training, and yoga.
I love hot yoga, but with the studio closures, I have to practice yoga at home. At first, I struggled to have the same quality practice as in the studio, so I had to adjust. Instead of craving my yoga flow classes, I decided to focus on poses I wanted to master. After I dedicated time and space for my yoga practice, I downloaded an app that guided me through more difficult poses step by step. Even though I’m not getting the same workout as in a hot yoga studio, I keep stretching my muscles and working on my poses.
The same applies to jogging since I usually go 2–3 times a week, and I do my best to keep up with my routine. Even though I preach working out outdoors any time you have the chance, I understand that it is not an option for everyone. If you do not have the opportunity to do sports outdoors, there are many cardio and high-intensity workout apps that you can download and customize workouts to your needs.
Tune out news and #covid19 related information
Stay away from the news. By limiting the amount of the news you absorb each day, you can see a dramatic improvement in your mood almost right away. Without your TV or smartphone, your brain is free from that fear of an immediate threat, and it can relax. You will also have more time to do things that make you feel good. If you can’t turn the news off completely, it is vital to set limits and mute the notifications. Give yourself an hour a day to watch or read the news and try to limit your exposure to all the negativity by actively seeking positive news, too.
I do not enjoy watching the news, but until recently, I felt that it was essential for me to stay informed. That was until I regularly found myself crying over my morning coffee before my day even started while listening to all the negative news from around the world. Then I decided to follow the stories that would make me laugh and feel good. I watched all my favourite TV shows again. I followed animal and planet Instagram accounts to remind myself that our Earth is beautiful and life is good in general. I do not miss watching the news daily, but on the contrary, I enjoy starting my day by watching cute animals and beautiful shots of our planet on Instagram.
Get a plant
If you do not own a house plan yet, I strongly encourage you to go and get one today. The houseplants benefit our mental health, brighten our rooms, freshen the air, boost our mood and provide a mirror into how we’re doing on the inside.
“There’s something zen about potting plants or gardening in general. Forces you to be present at the moment and not being anxious about five million other things.”
— Mary Marcella
I love having plants in my home, and taking care of my plants brings me joy. I started growing avocado plants from pits as an experiment that turned out to be successful. Every day I spend a couple of minutes with my plants, watering or just admiring them while enjoying the peaceful moments of happiness.
Create a bucket list
Whether you believe it or not, creating a bucket list has great benefits for our mental health. Since many of us have daily schedules that look similar to each other, having a bucket list reminds us that what we want to accomplish in life and what we should spend our time on. As a result, our overall health will significantly increase when we spend time doing things that bring us joy.
I had incredible fun creating a list of places I want to visit, activities I want to try and DIY projects I want to complete. However, the options are endless. Try creating a bucket list of languages you want to learn, recipes you want to cook, TV shows you want to watch. Why not share your list with your other half or your friends and family?
Start with writing down your goals. Writing down your goals increases your chance of achieving them and clarifying what you want. Once you list your goals, it is easier to motivate yourself to act and start crossing them off your list.
It will bring you a great sense of accomplishment. The most amazing feeling is to cross off goals on your list! Your life satisfaction improves because you are achieving what you want in life. To help you get up the speed, you can also consider adding a list of things you have already accomplished to your bucket list. Having seen all the great things you have already done in your life will boost your self-fulfillment meter.
Create a more accomplished and fulfilled life for yourself. Your bucket list will give you have something to strive for and to look forward to. Isn't that what most of us want?
Long before COVID-19, there was loneliness. In recent years, loneliness has been considered a growing public health problem. With COVID-19 induced isolation, the pandemic has a negative impact on the physical health of individuals and their families, intensifying mental and health problems. Just as social isolation causes health problems, being socially connected can have elevated positive effects on mental health and physical health. Social connection can decrease stress and supportive social ties can have a direct impact on our happiness, reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.
Having important and supportive relationships can also have a positive impact later in life, reducing the risk of dementia is lower in those with good friends and family relationships. With all the technology available, it’s easier to connect with other people than ever. Even though it doesn’t substitute in-person contact, it gives us a chance to stay socially connected with our friends and family during the pandemic lockdown.
I keep looking for new activities and new ways of taking care of my mental and physical health every day. Experimenting with new ideas, re-inventing the old ones and keeping the sense of accomplishment in your everyday life while staying connected to your closest ones will help you get through the lockdown and maybe even benefit from it. I hope that my article helped you find some inspiration, and I'd love to hear what you are doing to get through the lockdown in the comments. Stay safe everyone!