Have you been feeling confused about the Covid-19 pandemic? You don’t understand what’s going on or how long you might have to stay home? You. Are. Not. Alone.
For the past month, a lot has changed in our world.
Suddenly, we have to be one meter away from our next-door neighbours. We can no longer hit up our friends for a hangout this eve! We can’t even go out for a meal, groceries or hospital without wearing a mask, gloves and also check the time to ensure we’re not breaking curfews or lockdown laws. Heck! Who knew the best way to protect our grandparents is through not visiting them?
Since the news started spreading like wildfire, I noticed a few changes in my well being. I slept abnormally long. My mouth was is overly dry. I got easily agitated and I had unending headaches.
It got worse every time I would go on Twitter and consume more news from all over the world.
Have you been experiencing the same? If yes, you’re not alone. More and more people are reporting feeling anxious due to the multiple uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
Two weeks ago I decided that I needed to take control of my mental health during this period. You can do the same too.
Your main focus during this period should be to stay sane, stay positive and stay alive.
10 ways to stay sane during social distancing
1. Follow guidelines from reputable sources
During this period, a lot of people will write conspiracy theories, share information to inflict fear and give information that is not medically approved.
This by itself is a major source of the anxiety we’re currently experiencing. Protect yourself from such sources and people by blocking them and leaving such social media groups. If you have the right information and energy, call them out.
Strictly follow guidelines from:
- Your healthcare professional
In a nutshell, from the 3 above sources, the most important guidelines to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting infected are:
- Clean your hands often for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water, or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home. Avoid being in contact with people. Remember that some people do not have the symptoms and may be able to spread the virus.
- When going out to get groceries, medicine or other essential services, cover your mouth and nose. It’s also advisable to wear glasses. While doing this, you still have to stay 1 meter away from people.
- Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow while sneezing. You can also use a tissue and dispose properly immediately.
- Use soap and water to clean surfaces that you touch frequently.
Don’t take my word for it! I’m not a healthcare professional, I got all the above information from the three approved websites listed above. Please visit them for more information.
With information from the right sources, you will feel calmer and more positive. All are communicating that yes, we have a pandemic, but together, we shall overcome.
2. Use free professional help to calm your mind
It used to be a paid app but during this time when the whole world is coming together, it’s free!
What I love most about Calm is that they have several ways to help you calm your mind.
- Calm Sleep Stories-my fav is Stephen Fry’s ‘Blue Gold’ Oh his soothing voice carries all your anxiety away.
- 10-minute mindfulness meditations.
- Soothing nature sounds. These are my go-to while working from home!
- Deep breathing exercises
- They just added a Calm series by Lebron James. Yaaay!
Better still, they’re recommended by mental health professionals.
3. Avoid the news
As mentioned in the beginning, Twitter was my biggest source of anxiety. Opening it meant being looped into all these news sources, some unverified, which left me even more confused.
Bad news sells and unfortunately, some media houses are using this period to cash in using views.
Protect your sanity by avoiding such sources.
Alternatively, you can have a time slot during the day to check from the 4 sources mentioned above just so that you don’t miss any government directives such as changes in lockdown hours.
Muting such sources is a form of self-care.
4. Get moving-dance!
You don’t have to be a natural at dancing. You might even have branded yourself as ‘the one with 2 left feet.’ Well, this the time to dance for no reason, and it doesn’t have to be coordinated!
If you live alone like me, no one is watching so I don’t mind looking like a newborn calf trying to take its first steps!
Give yourself the gift of feeling livelier and more energetic by trying out ZUMBA!
To ensure that I don’t skip my exercise, I place my sportswear next to my bed before I sleep and wear them when I leave my bed.
I’ve found the best way to stick to a dance fitness exercise routine is through getting an instructor whose teaching style I enjoy and can easily follow 🙂
5. Call your friends and family
Since we’re social distancing, do the video option.
I learnt recently that WhatsApp allows group calls of up to 4 people. Whoop whoop for the groupies! This is super helpful especially if you have friends who live in a different state or country.
It’s time to catch up on everything! Relationships, virtual house tours, family, pets, what they’re stocking up, cooking hacks, their fav memes…Go Wild!
While at it, genuinely check on them and talk about how you’re feeling. This is the one time that we should all make vulnerability cool. Clothes and shoes are out!
Vulnerability and genuine care are the in thing.
6. Chat with your neighbour from the balcony
I saw this cool video of neighbours playing X and Os on a glass door. It left me teary and hopeful.
We’re all craving for human connection during this time. If you can maintain the social distance while still being playful with neighbours, do it!
My neighbour and I usually talk from our balconies. We both live alone which can get lonely even for introverts. We meet daily at 7 pm and chit chat while checking that we both have enough groceries.
7. Talk about what you’re feeling
At first, I thought I’m coming down with an illness when I started experiencing the abnormally long sleep, dry mouth and headache. I talk to a friend who is a doctor about it, who reassured me that these feelings are normal during this period.
He encouraged me to stay in touch with my friends and family while ensuring I have regular emotional check-ins with them.
8. Play Weightless by Marconi Union
It’s the most relaxing song on earth! The official YouTube video has over 53 million views! This song was constructed to reduce anxiety-and scientists have proved that it reduces anxiety by 65%. It’s the remarkable power of sound therapy.
When I have trouble sleeping, I usually play the 10-hour version which has always been faithful in calming my mind. Try it! It’s also a super companion while writing or doing work which requires extreme levels of focus.
Here’s what Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson said, “‘Weightless’ was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous.”
9. Try some free yoga by Adriene!
If you want your body and mind to serve you for long and better, make it a priority to take care of them. Yoga is one way to take care of both.
Yoga with Adriene is highly recommended. She’s a great instructor and has numerous videos for beginners. She’s also very highly searched online.
If I’m not doing dance exercises as part of my daily routine, I’m usually trying out beginner’s yoga from her Youtube channel.
10. Remember that the main goal is to stay sane and to stay alive
This is the time to be kind to yourself. Do not beat yourself down if you occasionally worry or are stressed out about the future.
It’s perfectly okay to come out of this pandemic with few resources such a zero or an almost zero bank balance.
Show yourself some empathy, and extend it to your family, friends, neighbours and the world 😉
It’s tough for all of us. Reach out, stay positive and intentionally find ways to laugh out loud on a daily basis.