Challenging is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenging, and in majority of cases; mentally taxing. The range of restrictions and local to national lockdowns has had a harsher impact than I believe we ever could have imagined. Whilst it has been estimated that more than two thirds of adults in the UK (69%) report feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life, we can all agree that the pandemic has affected us all in one way or another, and in this current climate we need to focus on our wellbeing mentally, physically and emotionally. Within this article, I’m going to delve deeper into some of the tips and tricks on how to cope with the mental strains that come with the ever-changing lockdown measurements and tell you how I’ve coped personally; because let me tell you, it’s been a rollercoaster!
Firstly, the main thing I learnt and quickly got out of the habit of was oversetting tasks for the ongoing days. I don’t know about you, but to me, the days are feeling substantially longer and as if they’re on a repetitive loop. The worst thing you can do is set yourself too many goals to achieve, whilst adapting to a new way of life. In general, we need to realise that even waking up and making the bed is a goal achieved. Celebrate it. This pandemic has meant that our usual routines have been shaken up, and if sitting for hours and only getting up to get a cup of tea is what you have achieved today, then there is no harm in doing that at all. We need to listen to our bodies, listen to our minds. Doing nothing is still something; because we’re looking after ourselves and listening to what our bodies need. Never think that because you’re sitting down, you’re not achieving something, because you’re achieving more than you can think during a pandemic.
Tip number two is to take time for yourself. Being in lockdown means we have to bring work, school, and everything else we could venture out for, into our homes. A common thought is that because we’re sitting from the comfort of our sofas, we have to achieve more or be more productive than usual. I can tell you now; that’s not true. Keep taking regular snack breaks, and breaks to go for a stroll with your dog, and most importantly take time away from your computer and phone screen. Now we’re in full swing of e-learning and zoom meetings, we’re straining our eyes more than usual, and this should be a key reminder that not only should we take mental breaks, but visual ones. Turn that screen off and rest. As a student myself, not only has my screen time increased, but also my spare time. A huge tip I can give to you fellow students, is don’t feel like because you have spare time, you have to fill it with time studying. Spare time is allowed and highly essential. You’re not being unproductive by having time out; it’s just as necessary as the studying part.
Whilst The UCL COVID-19 social study monitored 90,000 UK adults who had reviewed their mental health symptoms throughout lockdown, levels of anxiety and depression fell in early June as lockdown measures began to lift. Whilst it’s a positive drop; this doesn’t change the emotions we’ve all endured during this pandemic, and it won’t change the experience we’ve all had. We need to focus on our mental states, and take this experience into our stride. We’ve all lived and endured a global pandemic, that got sprung on us all in the blink of an eye. We’re strong enough to take our everyday routine and alter them to the new ways of home life. We should be glowing with positivity that we have the ability to work through this pandemic, and in years, months or even days to come, we’ll all look back at this self-isolated journey and realise how strong we all are to adapt to it. Struggling was a key part of this process; we’ve all realised our strengths and become mentally stronger for it. Let’s take the positive out of this pandemic, live one day at a time with no strains, and accept our bad days. Bad days are a way of life and we shouldn’t let our bad days think it’s a bad life. Keep your head up, because the end goal is near.