Coping With Mental Health While In Quarantine
Life doesn't stop just because we are trapped inside.
So you've been stuck at home for almost 2 months now. Believe me when I say this is certainly a situation I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.
As someone who has personally struggled with a wide array of mental health problems, I know from firsthand experience that one of the worst things you can possibly do is to hide yourself away from the world with your head under the covers. Especially in the face of current circumstances, the temptation to do exactly that may be so completely over whelming because let's face it, there really isn't much else to do right now is there? But when it comes to mental health, depression and anxiety, there are a few steps which can be made to make our lockdown experiences just a little bit more bearable.
Vitamin D Is Key
I consider myself to be one of the lucky few who has their own private garden attached to their house. However, not everyone is this fortunate. Even so, especially with the weather warming up, a daily dose of sunshine can help to clear some of the cobwebs away. Our bodies do need a bit of sunshine and you can take that from someone who has recently discovered that she has a vitamin D deficiency. The reason; I'm pale and pasty and spend a lot of my time indoors. I did wonder why I was commonly over tired and unmotivated to do much throughout the day. A quick trip to the doctors revealed that my lack of vitamin D may have been highly contributing to those factors.
Now although I'm required to soak in the sun once a day for my physical health, I can safely say my mental health has increasingly improved due to this as well. As my vitamin D levels rise, I find the compulsion to crawl straight back into bed in the morning slowly slipping away. Now with the government adjusting the lockdown rules ever so slightly, it is important that we are able to take advantage of the chance to go outside as much as we like, while still maintaining correct social distancing measures. Especially if you don't have a garden or a balcony you can sit in, these new rules do allow everyone to get the daily dose of fresh air that they need.
Before the lockdown began, I found myself often guilty of the, 'I'll do it tomorrow' mindset. Putting off task after task until I had eventually left it till the very last minute. Breaking this cycle is hard, especially in today's climate where we have nothing but time to sit around and put off that thing that you really wanted to do today. My advice; don't do that. Yes we have a lot of days at our disposal at the moment but before you know it, you won't anymore. Time right now does seem to be going fast. I mean, I still can't believe we've actually been in this situation for 8 weeks...it's crazy. As hard as things may seem now, we are going to come out of it and it will be much harder on you if you look back and realise that you've just wasted several months of your life. Maybe you're afraid you'll run out of things to do and then what. But I'm sure there will always be plenty. As a household, between me, my mum and dad; we knit, cross stitch, create and edit videos, walk the dog, bake bread and cookies, write and draw. My dad has taken up dungeons and dragons, I've taken up journaling as well as improving my design and Photoshop skills. Alongside all of that there is still the house work to be done, which is certainly important when considering that you're spending most of your time in your house and you don't want to be surrounded by mess 24/7. And I won't even get started on how much work my dad has done in the garden.
Take up that thing you've always wanted to try, unless of course it's something like clay pigeon shooting which we unfortunately can't do right now. But if you've always wanted to start a blog/vlog but never seem to have the time, well now's your chance. What I'm basically trying to say is that there is plenty to keep you busy and motivated, while also taking your mind off the unfortunate situation in the world. Dwelling on things can be our mind's own worst enemy, so arranging our time to be more productive can be the best way to get out of our head's for a while.
Make Time For Friends And Family
If you have a large support system in terms of your friends and family, even with the government's new rules about meeting someone outside your house, it can still be difficult. Making plans to meet every single person you know, all individually and all on separate occasions seems a little bit excessive, and some of us still don't want to necessarily take the risk. However we live in a technological age now. We are surrounded by an array of tablets, smart phones and computers, most of which enable us to access a wide range of apps and programs catered to our communication needs. Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom and many more, all designed with ways for you to talk to your loved ones. Especially at this time, all of these apps have really come into their own within our society. As human beings, one of our basic human needs believe it or not, is interaction with other humans. If you're living alone, more than anything it is so important for you to reach out to those closest to you. Drop them a message, make time for a video chat or phone call, or just send a funny GIF every once in a while, just to let them know that you're still here and you're still thinking of them. It's so simple and even the shortest message from someone you care about can brighten up your whole day.
Mental health is so tricky because it affects everyone in different ways, but small steps like these can be crucial to help us through this quarantine. These are troubling times we live in at the moment and whatever your stance on the matter may be, the truth is that we are still undoubtedly all in this together and we will come through it soon enough.