It’s almost two years since COVID-19 threw our lives into chaos, so it’s no wonder if the experience is wreaking havoc on your mental health. At this point, it feels like wave after wave of different stressors, from the social isolation arising from stay-at-home restrictions to the financial struggles of working during a deep recession. Plus, with the fast-moving Delta strain, the fear of getting sick is as real as it was in the beginning.
In the Philippines, more than 1.7 million cases have been recorded, with 8,000 to 12,000 new infections emerging daily in the past week. Nearly a fifth of hospitals are approaching full capacity due to the surge of COVID-19 cases. This crisis has prompted another wave of lockdowns across the country. Once again, a huge chunk of us is confined to the four walls of our home.
Navigating this strange new world isn’t easy. In a time of anxiety and isolation, here are some self-care tips that can help improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Keep A Daily Routine
When you wake up feeling listless and a little bit lost, a daily routine will keep you busy and moving forward. Although it’s good to have goals, we know that there are times when getting through the day is enough of an accomplishment.
Moreover, a clear schedule allows remote employees to draw a line between “work time” and “personal time.” It’s easy to blur the two and overwork at home, but balancing your time allows you to avoid burnout in the long run.
Now that you’re no longer commuting to work, going to the gym, eating out with friends, and constantly running around town for errands, you’ve probably moving a lot less than usual. Physical activity not only keeps you in great shape but also relieves stress, gives you more energy, and releases endorphins that will make you feel good.
Outdoor exercise isn’t allowed in Metro Manila during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). But there are other ways to incorporate exercise in your day, from lifting weights in your home gym (or garden) to trying a variety of YouTube workouts a few times a week.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is a large part of maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health. Unfortunately, the stress and lifestyle changes of the global pandemic are causing “coronasomnia” and making it harder for a lot of people to get at least seven hours of sleep nightly.
Some of the ways you can improve your sleep cycle include establishing a stricter sleep (and wake) schedule, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol later in the day, and limiting screen time in bed.
Make Time For Things That Make You Happy
When you’re feeling down, turn to the things that make you happy. You don’t need an excuse to spend time cheering yourself up, whether that involves bingeing your favorite K-drama on Viu or ordering in a feast for the whole family. Remember, just because you’re confined to the house doesn’t mean you have to stop doing activities you enjoyed pre-pandemic.
Some people meditate daily to ease stress and anxiety, while others keep a gratitude journal to guide their minds into a more positive headspace.
Limit Exposure To News And Social Media
For many people, the news and information online provide an endless stream of stressors. While staying on top of current events is essential, it’s just as important to maintain a healthy distance between you and everything happening in the world. Find time to check-in, then learn to step away from the news cycle and your social media feed. When you’re online, focus on getting reports from reputable sources.
Reach Out And Connect With Loved Ones
Physical isolation doesn’t have to mean complete isolation from friends, family, and colleagues. Pick up the phone to say hello to your parents, shoot a text to your sister, or set up a Zoom dinner for an upcoming birthday. You could even plan an online movie night with pals through websites like Scener.
Talking to a therapist may also be beneficial, especially if you’re finding your mental and emotional stress interfering with your work and personal life. The non-profit Philippine Mental Health Association offers online counseling. More channels and resources are listed on Silakbo.
Continue Following Health And Safety Protocols
The fear of getting sick is a big part of the stress during the pandemic. Rest easy in knowing that you’re doing everything to keep yourself and the people around you virus-free. After more than a year into this pandemic, it’s easy to slip into complacency; make sure you and your family are staying vigilant through it all. Social distancing is a must, and if you must step out, don’t forget to wear a face mask.
The new normal is tough on everyone. Breathe and be kind to yourself—you’ve got this!
*Featured photo via Brett Sayles on Pexels