COVID-19 has had a profound impact on everyday life, with lockdown limiting social interaction and human contact, in particular for those who are single or living alone. While isolation is a necessary measure to protect the public against COVID-19, it is also important to acknowledge the impact that it has had on mental health, with extended periods of isolation leading to anxiety and depression.
Loneliness can be a difficult emotion to sit with; however, it is important to acknowledge that feeling lonely is a completely normal emotion. It is important to recognise the uniqueness in our situation and not judge ourselves too harshly or compare our situation to others. Everyone is facing uncertainties and challenges, so, what we can do is focus on making small adjustments to our mindset and routine each day, to help us move through this difficult time. Here are a few tips to help you make the small adjustments to your day.
Stay Present In The Moment
It is easy to feel anxious about the current situation; however, focusing on the worst-case scenario is not going to make the situation any easier. If you are able to stay present in the moment and focus on enjoying the simple things that a day may, you’ll find it can make a world of difference in your mood and overall mental health. Whether it is enjoying a morning coffee, an afternoon stretch or watching a movie, practising mindfulness and being present in the moment can help you enjoy the day as it comes.
Keep A Routine As you begin to find yourself missing the micro-interactions, such as popping into a coffee shop before work or going to the gym, it can be easy to slip into bad habits and fall into a bad routine. Keeping a daily routine can help us generate a sense of achievement and help to feel a sense of purpose. Try to set yourself daily goals, which may be as simple as waking up early, calling a friend, reading a book or doing some exercise; you’ll find having something to work towards makes the days in lockdown more bearable.
Exercise Daily and Get Outside
Nature, fresh air and a bit of exercise can dramatically change your energy levels, moods and overall mindset, so make sure you get out and get some sunlight. Being cooped up inside the house all day can really affect our mental health, so by including as little as 30 minutes of exercise per day, you'll find that it not only breaks up your day but keeps you healthy. Not to mention is a great excuse to see other people and have some social interaction.
This year has demonstrated that there is a lot beyond our control, and while this can be hard to accept. Trying to let go of what you can't control and practising self-compassion will help you to free up energy and space in your mind, giving you time to focus on the positives in your life. Consider focusing your time and energy on a project or on some self-improvement, it can not only help you time your mind off things, but you’ll find that you are developing rather than feeling stagnant.
Scientists have proven that long term isolation is damaging to not only our mental health but our physical health too. One of the best ways of managing isolation is to stay in contact with family and friends. There is always time to pick up the phone and have a chat, even if it is just for 5 minutes speaking to a familiar voice can brighten up your day. To give yourself a sense of normalcy, think about setting up a regular zoom meeting with friends or watching a movie at the same time as a loved one, so you can later discuss it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out For Help
Whatever your situation may be, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Often when we are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, speaking to someone about how we are feeling can help to alleviate some of the stressors. There are a number of helpful resources, government benefits, charities and other reliefs that can help to support you during this unprecedented time, don’t be afraid to ask for help, it will help to alleviate a lot of the worry.