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Taking care of your mental wellbeing has always been important, but perhaps never more so than right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into chaos and uncertainty. Many people have lost loved ones and livelihoods. Weddings, vacations, proms and graduations have been cancelled. Most of the world’s population have been forced into lockdown at one point or another, and millions of people are still unable to leave their homes.
If you’ve struggled with your mental health during the pandemic – and let’s be honest, who hasn’t – then I want you to know that you’re not alone. I’ve put together this guide to caring for your mental wellbeing during COVID-19. It contains advice and practical tips to help you cope with the stress and anxiety that inevitably come with living through a global pandemic.
If you don’t have set working hours at the moment, it can be tempting to lie in bed for most of the morning. However, I strongly advise against this. Waking up at the same time every morning is proven to improve the quality of your sleep. A good night’s rest is an essential part of maintaining physical and mental wellbeing, so don’t neglect it. Besides, a routine will help you to keep a sense of normality. You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, just choose a time you can comfortably stick to. It’ll start your day off right and help you be more productive if you’re working from home.
The same applies for working remotely. Aim to start and finish work at roughly the same time each day. Plan your breaks in advance so that your ten-minute tea break doesn’t accidentally become a three-hour Netflix marathon. Similarly, it’s a good idea to schedule a walk or some exercise at the same time every day.
Sticking to a routine goes a long way in helping us feel calm, secure and in control. It creates a sense of certainty in an uncertain world, not to mention boosting productivity for those working from home.
Speaking of working from home, you’ll find it much easier to get things done from a dedicated workspace. Check out my simple guide to setting up the perfect home office. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money and the benefits are huge.
The benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. When you exercise, feel-good hormones are released in your brain which help to improve your mood, sharpen your concentration and combat stress. In fact, clinical studies have found that regular aerobic exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants. With millions of zero equipment workouts on YouTube, it’s never been easier to workout at home.
I know it’s very tempting to reach for the snacks right now but overindulging leaves you feeling sluggish and lethargic. Focus on eating nourishing whole foods that provide you with energy and make you feel good. You could always try an intermittent fasting eating pattern to give you that extra boost.
Staying informed is important but becoming glued to the news can have a negative impact on your mental state. Limit your news consumption and resist the urge to ‘doom scroll’ on social media. For example, you could watch the main bulletin each morning and then switch off for the rest of the day.
Walking is a very underrated form of exercise. It’s free, low impact and virtually anyone can do it. A walk in nature can even help boost your brain chemistry and strengthen your immune system. Plus, it gets you out of the house.
Journaling can help you process your emotions and make sense of jumbled thoughts. If you can’t commit to writing pages and pages every day, consider keeping a mental health journal. You can use bullet points to help you keep track of your progress and identify stressors. I really like this one from Amazon.
Community and a sense of belonging are one of our most basic human needs – Maslow says so. Unfortunately, many of us are having to maintain a safe distance from our loved ones right now, which negatively impacts our mental wellbeing. However, thanks to the power of technology, it’s never been easier to stay connected. I know a video call isn’t the same as a hug, but it can still help. Regular messages and video chats can reinforce that sense of community that so many of us are missing right now. If you have the option, go for a socially distanced walk with a friend or relative.
It’s important to keep yourself entertained and relaxed for mental wellbeing, and there are plenty of potential new hobbies that can help with this. Adult coloring books have become hugely popular of late, as have jigsaws, paint-by-number kits and mental puzzles.
Volunteering can help give you a sense of purpose and boost your self-esteem. At a time when you might feel powerless, helping your community can be very satisfying. Find out about local organisations in your area. For example, many towns need drivers to deliver medication and groceries to vulnerable citizens.
You don’t have to be productive 24/7 during the pandemic, but the right project can inject passion and purpose back into your life. Maybe it’s time to launch the blog you’ve always dreamed of or finally begin working on your Great American novel.
When you’re staying in all day, every day, it’s very tempting to keep on wearing last week’s dirty pyjamas and forgo washing your hair but hygiene is crucial to maintaining mental wellbeing. It’s hard to feel good when you smell bad and your hair’s all greasy. Be sure to take good care of your skin too and follow these top tips on avoiding mask acne.
Is there any point in getting all dressed up when there’s nowhere to go? I say yes. Okay, so you don’t have to get dolled up in an Oscar-worthy outfit but do at least make some attempt to look smart and stylish, even if you’re not leaving the house much. It helps you to maintain your self esteem and there’s evidence to suggest that our clothes do impact our mood. You know what they say: dress smart to think smart.
Again, your outward appearance can have a big impact on your mental wellbeing. If salons are closed where you are, take a look at this list of the best at-home beauty treatments so that you can feel like a million bucks once more.
Affirmations are positive statements you repeat to yourself daily in order to overcome negative thoughts. Admittedly, this may sound like a bunch of new age mumbo jumbo, but affirmations are a powerful empowerment tool used by some of the most successful people in the world. After all, there’s no success without confidence, right?
Affirmations have proved to be effective in treating low self esteem, anxiety and depression. They can help to create a strong sense of self worth which, in turn, makes you much more likely to take good care of your wellbeing. Change comes from within and if you’re struggling with your mental health, affirmations can be the first step in creating a positive cycle of change and recovery. It’s essentially like brainwashing yourself – but in a good way.
You can write out your own affirmations and repeat them daily as part of your routine. You can say them aloud or simply repeat them in your head. I like to practice first thing in the morning or right before bed. Here are some examples:
Alternatively, there are millions of affirmation videos on YouTube to listen to if you’re struggling to think of your own.
ASMR – or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – is a pleasant tingling sensation in your scalp, neck and upper spine. There are literally millions of YouTube videos which attempt to trigger this sensation by whispering, scrunching paper and scratching and tapping the microphone. Some ASMRtists also repeat affirmations and offer words of comfort, such as “you are safe, you are loved.”
Not everyone gets a full-on tingling sensation. For some, it’s just very soothing and relaxing; something akin to a brain massage. It can help you switch off, destress and fall asleep. It’s not for everyone but the craze has really blown up during the pandemic, so I recommend giving it a go.
What are your top tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during COVID-19? Let me know in the comments below. And why not check out my list of the best destinations for post-pandemic travel or the best luxury masks for safety and style?
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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