Looking after your mental health (During Covid-19)

This period of uncertainty can be extremely detrimental on ones mental health, as many peoples social or working lives are torn apart for god knows how long. During this difficult time it is easy to slip into bad habits so I wanted to discuss some of the coping mechanisms I’ve been using, and maybe others that I should be using too.

Fresh air / exercise – This is my personal favourite. If you are able to exercise in a safe and distancing way outside then I highly recommend it. I like that people are keeping fit at home but use your time outside of isolation wisely regarding exercise! A simple walk or run around a park by yourself is extremely peaceful and gives you some quiet time to cool off whilst appreciating the nature.

Reconnect with old hobbies or formulate new ones – This is another thing I spend a bit of time on now as it can sometimes feel like the clock is moving too slowly. Games are an excellent way to consume time and you can even connect with your friends over them. I’ve been playing Runescape to connect with my old hobbies but also more recently trying out Football Manager 2020 that has been free! This is the most time consuming game I’ve ever come across so I really recommend it if you’re into football!

Speak to people – This may seem like common sense but with the constant reminder of self-isolation, I personally know how easy it is to ‘over-isolate’ if you wish. If you’re like me and like to keep busy, it can be a bit depressing when you’re not interacting and stuck in a front of a screen. Your flat mates or family are close by, so there is no need to be making unnecessary outings either. Talk to them about how you are feeling and maybe even share coping mechanisms to manage this pandemic better.

Learn new things – Such as learning to cook a new meal or cross stitch. Absolutely anything! When will you ever get so much free time again in your life? It doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, if you can learn to spend your time wisely. Let this be the opportunity that you come out of your comfort zone and try new things. Maybe you will even become more confident and comfortable in your own company too.

Try not to dwell on the issue and instead make the best out of it. It is not ideal but it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have fun. You just have to be smart and safe. For example, I have been keeping my distance and enjoying the parks to myself. It is nice to find a balance between this and other aspects in this post that are inside such as gaming or stitching.

Finally, I would like to hear your coping strategies! Please do share in the comments.

24 thoughts on “Looking after your mental health (During Covid-19)”

  1. Well said. Am a proponent of learning new things during such traumatic times. I started learning chess last week. And am fairing on well.

    I am currently ranked elo 1000 on lichess. Which my trainer says is good progress for a beginner. I have also enrolled my 6 years old daughter and she loves it.

    Next am planning to learn how to play the piano followed by a guitar. By the time this coronavirus stalemate ends, I should have acquire atleast one new skill every other month. What remains will be perfecting the skills.

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    1. That is excellent. Well done on these skills! They all seem very fun and very practical. However, I can also appreciate that not everyone is able to come out of this horrific time with new skills and as a ‘new person’. For some people just getting by is an achievement, that we must also celebrate.

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  2. This current situation must be effecting everyone in some kind of way but there will always be others that struggle a little more in times like these. There are some great points here and I think the main one is staying connected with other people. It’s so easy to video call someone, see their face and reactions. This will normalise the situation a little more for people. Definitely helps.

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    1. Ye, it is important to keep to a routine I feel and also do things or adaptations of things that you love. Not everyone is capable of trying new things in a testing time like this and they should not be discouraged for feeling this way. Everyone needs support and works differently.

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  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog post. I have taken some of the suggestions and applied to my daily tasks. I have learned so much in the process of this crisis. There are A LOT of helplines there if you see yourself or anyone else struggling during the pandemic.Please reach out!

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  4. I think a lot of this stuff is exaggerated. I mean, come on. This isn’t isolation on The Shining Movie 😆 There’s plenty to keep us busy, they didn’t have in the 1970s. I mean, you got the internet – for one thing. Anyway, though, I will admit situations can exist that can cause cabin fever – even with that, though.

    Well, anyway, time is a big resource – and being locked at home gives you way more of it. In fact, it’s perfect for doing whatever project that is time consuming – that otherwise you have no time for!

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    1. Yes, I can imagine if this was happening even a decade or two or more ago, the story would be a lot different. Many people seem to go to the internet to pass their time so it would be interesting to see how people would react without it now, especially as we are so reliable for it nowadays.

      People who perhaps need an excuse to sit down and complete a time-consuming project could well benefit, that is if they do not feel pressured or so as it is kind of like being forced to complete it, as there is nothing better to do.

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  5. I am fortunate in the sense that I still receive my regular pay despite the fact that I am not currently working (other than doing some tasks at home here and there). I feel bad for so many who have had their lives disrupted by the pandemic, and I hope it will be over soon.

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    1. It puts everything into perspective really, doesn’t it? We always seem to ‘bang on’ about being grateful and that we don’t know what we have until its gone. Well, this is that, really extraordinary experience. This should make us more grateful as I feel that many people will just forget when its all over.

      Are you getting full pay then? I guess that is very fortunate for you in this difficult time.

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  6. These are all good ways to cope in any stressful situation, I think, but especially at a time right now where we’re mostly homebound! My personal coping skills include deep breathing/meditation, using a planner to keep myself knowing what I want to do, no matter if it’s an at home activity or not, and I really find writing (which is a hobby, habit and career of mine) helps let go of all the pain. A great idea I got from a therapist in the past is to personify your emotions as characters, and get to know them on a deep level through writing their stories, and how they interact with one another. You get to be the one in control of them- and that’s an important feeling!

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    1. Thank you. I feel that is good to be prepared hence the universality of these coping strategies: this allows us to look after our mental health at all times to stop it from getting worse.

      You have some excellent strategies. Writing is great for getting your emotions out healthily, and it is great that you are utilising your strengths as a way of looking after your mental health. By the way, have you tried yoga as I see you have tried meditation and deep breathing.

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  7. A lot of people are having to stay at home because of Covid and some who are not well mentally may not take it in a good way. A staff member on xenforo’s website mentioned the suicide rate may be at an all time high because of this infectious disease. That saddens me but I still see that it could also do some young people good. Though it’s good to get involved in sports as usually when people have nothing to do it can cause more trouble then it’s worth.

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  8. Like you, I have been coping largely by gaming a lot! Though to be honest, that is a big part of what occupies my time regularly. But it’s been helping a lot to maintain some sense of normalcy, and it’s helped get my mind off of things a bit.

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  9. When the virus first came out it wasn’t very near my location so I brushed it off as media hype since the US’s President was in the middle of impeachment. But then it hit me that this could be something real and I went through the stages of grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’ve been coping by going outside as much as possible and that has really helped. I sing and singing has been known to calm a person as well as listening to music.

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    1. Singing is an excellent one as it can show many emotions that you may suppress or ignore. Do you sing your favourite songs or are you writing lyrics? I always used to like writing spoken word pieces which I feel would be a great thing to recommend right now.

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  10. Especially during the global pandemic, mental health is just as important as our physical well being. You have mentioned some amazing coping strategies – thank you for sharing this with me. As a key worker, I find that working full time, keeps me busy and my time occupied so I don’t overthink the current situation. This is one of my biggest coping mechanisms, as well as regular facetime calls to my friends and family.

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    1. Yes, keeping busy is a good way of handling yourself, but it is important to find other coping mechanisms too in my opinion, to avoid bottling thoughts and feelings up. It is great that you can call your friends and family, that is incredibly important. Have you tried any of my coping strategies also?

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  11. Here are a few things that I did.

    1. I excercised twice a day. Twenty minutes workout in my consultation room.

    2. Started taking more if green tea. It helps me keep focussed and work. It helps in weightloss also.

    3. Read books. I am a foreign policy enthusiast and a self made expert in Indian history. I also widened my knowledge in world geography. A hearty excercise indeed.

    4. Talked to relatives and friends. Its always good to know that the people you care for are in good health and perfect shape.

    5. Went over our wedding plans with my girlfriend.

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    1. I like all of your techniques, they are really useful and I thank you for sharing them. Talking to people is incredibly important just for keeping sane but also sharing and gaining new coping strategies. It is also good to have events to look forward to, that can keep you motivated through difficult times. I hope the wedding planning is going well.

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  12. As someone who works in the mental health field, I am almost constantly asking my clients about their coping skills and what they are doing to maintain their mental health during the pandemic. I love your suggestions and think they are on par with what a lot of people. One thing that I have personally been working on is getting back into roleplaying and being involved on forums. Even being a bit more involved on the internet in general. It’s relaxing and helps to have more of a sense of connection.

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    1. That is great, thank you for sharing your interest in roleplaying. Is it a hobby that you have had for a while? How did you get into it and what made you want to get back into it? I hope you can find enjoyment in it again and that it helps with your mental health.

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  13. Well, the games always help me to get rid of my stress and have a free mind and during this COVID-19 pandemic I have been spending lots of time playing video games at my home which not only help me to stay away from watching TV and listen to the depressing news but also help me to stay connected with my friends who love to play games too.

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