At the beginning of the week, I talked about how the COVID-19 panic was bringing me down. And let’s be honest, it was pretty morbid. I was feeling fairly hopeless. However, since then I’ve had time to think and talk to my support worker (and my new medication has kicked in some more) so I’m feeling somewhat more optimistic.
My support worker and I discussed some things that I could do to help manage my mental health whilst social distancing. This is especially important if I have to self-isolate again or if the UK does go into lockdown. She told me to create a mind-map or a mood board full of things I can do whilst staying at home. Below, I have shared some ideas and I encourage you to create and write down your own.
1. Get dressed every day
Don’t just sit in your pyjamas all day every day, as tempting as it is. Get up, get dressed and get ready for your day as you usually do. Even just simply throwing on a tracksuit and brushing your teeth can bring some normality back into everyday life.
2. Work on personal projects
I’m currently finishing my university course online, so I have plenty to be getting on with. But if you’re not working from home or don't have much to do, then try to fill your days up by working on personal projects that are fulfilling. For me, that’s working on my novel and my tarot spreads, as well as my blog. I’ve also decided to start uploading readings of my writing to YouTube now that I have more free time.
3. Have a drunken night in
Now, I’m not going to encourage drinking alcohol to better your wellbeing, but if you’re missing the pub then have a drink or two on the weekend and spend a night blasting your favourite tunes. You can sing along, dance, play games or video call your friends and family.
4. Give your home a deep clean
Finally give your home a proper spring-clean. Dust those sides that say “clean me” through the dust, vacuum those hard-to-reach corners of your room and have a sort out of anything you’ve been hoarding. Decide what you want to keep and what you want to give away.
5. Turn to artists
Remember the importance of creatives when this has all blown over. Watch a new series, have a film night and read more books. I actually have a bookstagram where I post recommendations and reviews.
6. Go for walks
In the UK, we’re being advised to distance ourselves socially unless you’re self-isolating if you’re at risk or feeling unwell. This means that we can still go out for the odd walk, even if it is just to the supermarket. Get out every day, even if it’s just for five minutes, whilst you still can.
7. Don’t do everything at once
It can be tempting to do all the fun stuff in one go –- don’t.
Space things out, keep your mind working however you can for a certain amount of hours a day (which is a lot easier if you’re working from home). Don’t allow yourself to become bored quickly, which you will if you try to fit everything into the first few days.
Remember that you’re not alone in this – literally everyone is in the same boat right now. We are facing troubling times, but social distancing and self-isolation is important to cut down the spread of the coronavirus. Look after both your physical and mental health.