This post is written by Em of “Love, Em“
The pandemic is draining for everyone. With health and key workers working around the clock and people stuck inside for the next few months, it’s a hard time for everyone.
Mental health is an important subject, especially when facing something so unknown. If you’re struggling to cope in this strange time, here are some little self-care tips to improve your mental health during the pandemic!
Why It’s Important To Look After Your Mental Health
Even before the pandemic, mental health can pose a big issue to people. Nearly 1 in 4 adults suffer from the most common mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. It’s predicted that the pandemic could have increased this figure.
It’s important to look after your mind for multiple reasons. Here are some reasons why you should look after your mental health, especially during the pandemic:
- Good mental health allows you to be your full, happy self
- You can focus better on your work, especially for those still in education
- Feeling upset in a world where you can’t leave your home is scary, especially when you can’t see people to help cheer you up
- Less risk of developing other illnesses such as migraines, muscle fatigue, and eye problems
- You avoid developing bad habits like poor sleep and unhealthy eating
- You’re the only one who can really look after your own mind – invest time in yourself!
Listen To Your Body
No one has experienced a pandemic before. You’re allowed to react whichever way you see fit. Some will feel tired, while others will want to make the most of being at home and embrace productivity.
Listen to your body, and do what makes you happy.
If you aren’t feeling up to something, don’t push yourself. There is no point rushing around, trying to fix up your house while homeschooling, and starting a third blog. You’ll burn yourself out, making it harder to push through the lockdowns.
If your body feels tired or bored or frustrated, embrace those feelings and do what makes you feel better!
Take Each Day As It Comes
When the first lockdown started, I would plan my whole week out and stick to it. It left me feeling overwhelmed and tired because I was filling my day with activities.
Take each day as it comes as each day will be very different from the next. You plan to have a movie day, but you may fancy a walk when you get to it. Be flexible with your plans and be willing to change them.
The UK seems to change its mind all the time with regards to the rules. One day I can see my family and the next day I can’t even go to the shops!
Don’t dedicate your time before you get there, as who knows how you may be feeling.
Practise Self-Care & Mindfulness
Self-care is important even without a pandemic. Now more than ever, you should be scheduling times to look after your mind and body.
Self-care is where you take time to improve your mental health. For example, when you’re stressed, it’s the steps you take to destress and relax again.
There are so many ways to practice self-care, and it doesn’t need to take a lot of your time. I know it can be hard to find free-time to look after yourself, but even just 15 minutes can make a big difference. If you’re struggling with ideas, here are some easy self-care activities you could try!
- Read a book you’ve been dying to read for a while
- Bake your favourite treats – Here are some great recipes to start with!
- Dance your heart out to your favourite music
- Treat yourself to a *reasonable* shopping spree
- Watch some Disney films with your favourite snacks
- Try some adult colouring or bullet journaling
- Take a nice warm bath with your favourite bath products
- Go for a walk or work out
Keep In Contact With Loved Ones
I’ve disliked the lockdown as it has meant I couldn’t see my boyfriend and family. Although my partner lives 10 minutes away, the distance has been horrible for my mental health.
One way I improved my mental health was with regular zoom calls and texts. We would surprise each other with postal gifts and a scheduled date night.
Keeping in contact with your loved ones seems like a simple step, but really makes a difference.
I know it’s tough not seeing the people you love, but seeing their faces on a screen is better than nothing. Writing letters to keep and look back on is also a sweet idea. I’d highly recommend writing letters and maybe adding a little bar of chocolate or stickers as a gift! It’s fun, and your recipient will appreciate the thought and time you spent.
Stick To A Routine
For some people, taking it one day at a time is too inconsistent. When I say create a routine, I mean to keep some things consistent.
It’s important to keep some consistency for your mental health, as it will help you integrate back into the world after lockdown. It will also give your day some structure, so you don’t feel overwhelmed while at home.
Every Sunday, I write a to-do list for the week. I don’t set days or times, but I make sure I do everything in the week. It still gives me goals to reach without being tied down with too much structure.
I also have regular meal times, which allows me to keep a good diet and meal routine. Find a routine that works well for you. It could be going to bed and waking up at consistent times or going for a run every evening!
Work Out & Look After Your Body
Exercise has a lot of benefits for your mental health. It improves your self-esteem, helps reduce stress, and can help you sleep better.
Just because the gyms are closed, doesn’t mean you can’t keep a good workout routine. I don’t like running or weights, so prefer to do yoga, which is also really good for the mind.
If you aren’t into exercise, there are other ways to look after your body too. Taking a shower, brushing your hair, and putting on lotion are all ways to look after your body. When your body feels good, so does your mind. Have you ever taken a shower, used a face mask to come out feeling like a new person?
Looking after your body can make you feel a lot better, so it’s worth giving it a go, even if you are just staying at home today.
Know When To Take A Break
As I mentioned before, it’s easy to want to try out lots of new things while you have the time.
Knowing when to take a break is vital for your mental health; otherwise, you’ll end up burning out. When you’re tired, stressed, or overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing and leave it for a bit. It’s better to stop revising after an hour than cram and not remember it all because you’re not in the mood.
The pandemic is exhausting, and I admire all of those who are pushing through. It’s okay to want to give up and rest for a bit. It’s actually really important for your mental health as you don’t want to make yourself ill from it.
Please note, if you’re really struggling, there is no shame in seeking professional help! It can honestly be life-changing!
Mental health is a strange thing, and everyone reacts differently to new scenarios. Learning what works best for you and listening to your body can help your mental health immensely. What works for one person may not work for you, so don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong.
If you’re truly struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. We haven’t experienced a pandemic before, so you may need a little extra help.
What self-care tips do you swear by? I’d love to hear what helps you get through this tough time.
About the Author
Em is a UK blogger focusing on blogging, business & sustainability on her blog “Love, Em“. With 4 years of experience in the blogging world, she is keen to share her knowledge. Emily is passionate about helping others, and since leaving college, has decided to put her passions in writing. You can find her over on social media!
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.