Coronavirus: Six ways to protect your mental health and wellbeing
Written by Nathan Bees
Last updated: 11/06/2020
There’s one thing for certain during these unprecedentedly challenging times: Everyone is sick of the C-word.
Everywhere you turn, there it is. On TV, on the radio and online; it feels like there’s no escape from COVID-19.
Obviously it’s of considerable public interest globally and it’s good to be informed so we all know how the situation affects us, but coronavirus doesn’t have to totally dominate every second of our lives. In fact, it’s really important that it doesn’t.
You may have noticed that it’s had a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing during lockdown. The pandemic situation is improving every day, but we’re all spending a lot more time on our own so it’s important to put some distance between yourself and the incessant, cross-platform coverage of the virus whenever you can. It’s easier said than done, we know, but distractions can give you some much-needed respite and escapism.
That precious time away from COVID-19 analysis allows your mind to relax and recalibrate, which is what it needs. It will mean you are better equipped to function (as normally as possible), and indeed process everything that’s going on in the strange world around us right now.
How can you look after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic?
Here at Yachting Pages we have come up with six helpful ways you can look after your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.
1) Adopt a positive mindset
Obviously being consigned to your house and only being permitted to leave for essential work, exercise or food shopping made most of us feel trapped during lockdown. While the lockdowns are slowly but surely being eased across Europe, we’re all still spending a lot of time at home (or on board) with nothing much to do. This will naturally make you feel down sometimes.
This is not conducive to positive mental health, so it’s a good idea to approach the situation we find ourselves in from a different perspective.
Try and think of this period of time in your life as an opportunity to give yourself some TLC. You’ve got few commitments or engagements, so embrace your current chilled lifestyle and get to know yourself better. Don’t worry about things that are beyond your control, just concentrate on doing the things you enjoy, whatever they might be.
Watch Netflix to your heart’s content, listen to your music as often – and as loudly – as you like, play video games, fall down many a YouTube wormhole… whatever floats your boat (pardon the pun!).
The more fun you have, the better – both in the short term and the long term. Once we come out of the pandemic fully and everything goes back to the old normal, you’ll reflect on the previous weeks and months as an opportunity for some ‘you’ time. Don’t look back on it and regret not making the most of the opportunity.
2) Create a routine
The natural tendency both in lockdown and before everything goes back to normal is to have no boundaries or routine. Why? Why not. There’s nothing pressing to get up for, right?
That might be true on the face of it, but the importance of a routine can’t be underestimated: It provides purpose and structure to your day, which is exactly what we crave as human beings.
Setting your alarm for a sensible time in the morning, having a wash and getting properly dressed are just a few of the small but meaningful things you can implement to immediately start your day the right way. This in itself will make you feel better, but why stop there?
You can plan your three meals for the day in minute detail, undertake FaceTime quizzes with your friends, enjoy socially distanced meet-ups with family… the possibilities are endless.
All of these things will help give your day some much needed structure, and in turn help time to pass a lot quicker than it would do otherwise.
3) Stay connected to family and friends
It’s hugely important to stay in regular contact with your family, friends and colleagues – the people you would be seeing every day if we weren’t in lockdown. Not only is it good for your mental health, but it’s good for theirs too.
You never know when someone close to you may need some company or support, so check in with everybody regularly to make sure they’re okay. You could just change the course of their day for the better.
Laugh, reminisce, cry, shout, sing and dance with each other. It’ll put a smile on everyone’s face and it gives you something to talk about when you next see them in person. And what a day that will be.
Exercising is a brilliant thing to do in your plentiful free time. Not only is it a good way to pass time, but it has a host of other benefits too.
Firstly, it will keep you fit and healthy and that is always important – regardless of whether there’s a global pandemic. It gets your heart beating and the blood pumping, which is good for the body and the soul. It makes you feel alive.
There’s also a chemical reaction that comes as a result of being active. When you exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins that, upon interacting with the receptors in your brain, reduce your perception of pain and trigger positive feelings in the body. Who doesn’t want to experience that right now?
Whether you like to run, walk, undertake a workout or play a sport, get your sportswear on and get exercising. With so many benefits, you’d be mad not to.
5) Indulge yourself
Don’t feel guilty about treating yourself. Eat and drink the things you like and don’t worry about being judged, everyone is likely doing the same thing.
It goes without saying that we don’t advise that your whole diet should become a combination of takeaways and chocolate, but there is nothing wrong with indulging from time to time.
Eat your favourite foods and enjoy your favourite drinks without worry of judgement or any feelings of guilt. Do you know what? Chuck in some ice cream for good measure. And maybe a slice of cake. It’s important you have treats to look forward to, no matter that they may be.
6) Plan, plan, plan!
It’s difficult to know exactly when things will go back to our old normal, but that doesn’t stop you from fantasising about all the things you’re itching to do again.
Think about what you’ll get up to the first time you’re officially given the freedom to do whatever you like again. It’s going to be such a good feeling.
Daydream about your next holiday destination, imagine that first drink in a bar/pub, picture sitting in a restaurant. All of these things will become reality again at some point soon, so whet your whistle by thinking about how much you’ll enjoy it.
Nobody is going to take freedom for granted again!
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Never hesitate to pop up to us on social media if you have any questions or queries, or if there’s a topic you’d like to see us cover in the days and weeks ahead.