The current COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted the world into a time of great uncertainty. As a result, many people are feeling helpless, stressed and anxious, which can have a negative impact on their mental health and overall wellbeing.
During times of crisis, it’s vital to keep our spirits high and to care of our mental health. Below, we offer five simple tips on how you can protect your mental health during the coronavirus situation.
1. Minimize Reading or Listening to News
Staying informed about developments is important, but for many of us, watching or reading the news can create more anxiety and worry than necessary. During times of crisis, rumors and speculation spread quickly with many news outlets painting pictures of worst-case scenarios, which only exacerbates people’s fears.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following:
Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from trusted sources and mainly so that you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts; not rumours and misinformation.
No one knows exactly how the next few months will develop, therefore, it’s important not to “buy into” speculation. If you are using social media, such as Facebook, keep an open mind about the information that appears in your feed. Additionally, look at what information you, yourself, are sharing. To avoid being overloaded with negative news and misinformation, perhaps limit the amount of time you spend on social media. To combat negative stories, find stories that highlight positive and hopeful news as well as positive images.
2. Set and Keep Routines
Some employees may find it difficult to focus working from home with all the distractions. FindCourses.com offers handy tips on how to stay focused and emphasizes the importance of setting up routines.
Since we are creatures of habit, routines, structure and consistency helps us focus on the important things that we need to do, helps us maintain productivity and motivation and helps us reduce mental energy and stress.
For example, set an alarm to get up at the same time every day during the week, eat a healthy breakfast, workout at home, and be sure to take at least a 30-minute break for lunch every day. Routines help us adapt to change, help us create healthy habits and help reduce stress.
Sleep is also vital. Try going to bed at roughly the same time every night and wind down by reading a book for 30 minutes before sleeping. Sleep deprivation can significantly affect our psychological state, immune system and mental health. For tips on why sleep is important, read our post, The Need for Sleep.
3. Get Creative
While most of us are practicing social distancing and spending more time inside than we are used to or would like to, use this “downtime” to start a creative project.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time? Maybe you’ve wanted to learn to play an instrument, start a blog, paint, bake your own bread, try a new recipe, or learn a new language. Use your time wisely and do something creative.
4. Stay Fit and Healthy
Physical activity helps us build up our immune system and produces endorphins - our brain's feel-good neurotransmitter – which helps reduce the body's stress hormones.
As HelpGuide shares: Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
Many gyms are currently offering live exercise classes online to their members. Whether or not you are a member of a gym, make sure you work-out regularly at home or go for a long walk.
5. Stay Connected
Numerous studies have concluded that one of the greatest predictors of our happiness is our social connections, including our colleagues at work.
As we write in the blog, The Importance of Distant Socialising During a Time of Social Distancing, while most of us are currently practicing social distancing, being that humans beings are inherently social creatures, maintaining a sense of social connection, is imperative to our wellbeing.
Connect with your friends and colleagues regularly. Send e-mails and messages of positivity and motivation to your colleagues like the employees of Derby Cycle in Germany are doing. In addition to daily and weekly online team meetings, try organizing mid-afternoon or morning coffee breaks with colleagues online, Friday after-work drinks online, or team activities such as quizzes or other games online.
For more tips on the importance of communication, download our whitepaper,
An Employer’s Guide to Effective Communication.