Three months into the spread of the global pandemic COVID-19, most of the cities stricken by the virus had initiated a community lockdown. With restaurants, cafes, and malls closing and jobs adjusting into a work-from-home setting, many of us had been advised to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading further and flatten the curve. While being able to be home and protect yourself from the pandemic is a privilege, many continue to get anxious and panic over the increasing rate of infection.
Maintaining your mental health in the time of a pandemic is definitely a challenge. With the overwhelming amount of information you can gather on the internet in real-time, it can be triggering for many to hear about the alarming numbers and new discoveries about this coronavirus. This is why it is extremely important to create a routine or come up with a list of things to do to enhance your mental health while in self-quarantine. Self-care during a pandemic is a luxury for most of us, but if you can, taking these steps will help maintain a calmer mindset and a state of self-awareness that will encourage other people to do the same.
Self-care is at the heart of Royal Essence and we are here to support you during this difficult time. With that said, we’ve come up with a list of things to follow to help you cope with the pandemic, maintain your mental health, and practice self-care in the time of self-quarantine.
Practice Breathing Exercises
For many people with anxiety, the coronavirus outbreak is their worst nightmare. With an excruciating 14-day incubation period and symptoms similar to panic attacks, people have been reporting getting health anxiety for the past few weeks. To cope with panic, learning breathing exercises is a must. There are a few breathing techniques out there so you can find what works best for you. One of the most known techniques is the 4-7-8 method where you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Another is the alternate nostril method where you breathe through one nostril by closing the other, and exhale through the other one, and repeat alternately.
There are also some gifs you can find online that will guide your breathing pattern. This one is our favourite.
Stay in Touch with Your Loved Ones
Being in self-quarantine doesn’t mean you need to completely cut off your social life. You might be staying alone in your apartment or missing your friends and family, and this is the best time to catch up through video calls to keep you company. It is also the best time to check up on each other and help however you can during this challenging time. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how group pajama party calls can be just as fun as going out on a pumped Friday night!
Pick Up a New Hobby or Start a Passion Project
You have at least two weeks of spare time—do something! Perhaps in the haze of the everyday hustle, you didn’t have time to do something you’ve always wanted to try. This is the best time to get up and start a fun new hobby. Whether it’s baking or figuring out how to playDungeons & Dragons, hobbies are a great distraction from all the bad news and perfect for getting to know yourself more. If you’ve been wanting to start a passion project for so long, you’ve got plenty of time to research, create an intricate plan, and even fully launch your project online.
Catch Up on Your To-Read and To-Watch List
image: Lydia F/Instagram
Another way to spend your two weeks is to catch up on your long Netflix list and watch the new season of your favourite shows. This is the time to finally binge-watch and not feel guilty about it! Unless you’re determined to be more proactive, watching films and series is a great way to take a break from all the news on social media. You can also alternate shows in between your reading list so you can finally reach your reading goals for the month. Reading is perfect for easing anxiety while you take hot baths or just snuggled up with your favourite blanket on your bed.
Have a Productive Work-From-Home Setup
Transitioning from a typical office environment to a remote setup is not as easy as you think. You might not notice it, but the dynamics and the overall ambience of your workplace have already preconditioned you into knowing when you need to be on work mode. With your bed and other distractions at home, you will notice yourself not being as productive as you’d like. Make sure you set up an office space, whether it’s placing a desk at the corner of your room or transforming your dining table into a full office desk, simulate your workplace to get into the zone and become more productive.
Stay Healthy and Exercise
Staying healthy is the most crucial thing you need to do during self-quarantine. This is the only way for you to reduce your chances of getting sick. Boost your immune system with some vitamin C vitamins or a daily glass of lemon water in the morning. Eat healthy as much as possible and exercise at home! Many people think not being able to go to the gym means the end of their fitness streak, but there are so many resources online to guide you with a home workout. Exercising will also help you release some endorphins to help you cope with fear and anxiety for the next few weeks.
Take Breaks from Social Media and the News
image: Laura Makabresku/Flickr
It is important to keep yourself updated with the news online and now is certainly not the time to turn a blind eye on current events. However, the news and social media can trigger panic and anxiety attacks. Sometimes, watching the news can do more harm than good so maintain a balance when it comes to taking in information. Take breaks from social media to avoid reading tweets or posts that incite fear. The truth is, some sources take the opportunity to base headlines on fear-mongering. So take a breather and get your eyes off of your Facebook feed once in a while. Instead, rely on reliable sources such as the World Health Organization .
Create a Warm and Relaxing Environment
With all the fear and panic, your home is the only physical safe space you can have right now. Making sure it is warm, relaxing, and the perfect place for you to feel protected is an important step in taking care of yourself during this pandemic. From lighting a candle with a comforting scent to having fresh, clean sheets, there are several ways to relax at home.You’re going to be staying in for two weeks and your environment will definitely affect your mood and your mindset.
Help Out in Any Way You Can
Not all anxiety issues stem from the fear of getting sick, sometimes it’s the crippling feeling of not being able to do something and help other people who are more affected by the virus. You don’t have to be outside to help out. In fact, staying in and practicing social distancing will help even more as you’re preventing the spread of the virus. Instead, help out by doing remote volunteer work or donating money to organizations who help homeless people, medical frontliners, and other groups that are more vulnerable during this time.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragedy that is currently changing our lives. The last thing we want is to romanticize this pandemic; these self-care measures are listed down not to see the virus as ways to cleanse and unwind. Being quarantined can be a stressful situation to many, especially those suffering from mental illnesses. This is why we believe it is important to find ways to cope and improve your mental state in the time of fear and panic.