When the history books of the future write their chapter on the coronavirus crisis, what do you think they’ll say? There’ll be a lot to explain, from slow responses and claims it was a “hoax” to erroneous notions of “herd immunity” being an excuse for going about business as normal to how countries succeeded and failed to combat the disease. However, one of the biggest sections will have to be dedicated to not how leaders or scientists but everyday people dealt with the most destructive pandemic in a century and one of the biggest lifestyle changes in recent memory.
That’s all for the future, however. For the present, it is vital to maintain positive mental health and help your family do the same – and here are a few ways you can do just that.
1. Routine and Hygiene
With your normal course of life disrupted, you may find your daily routine lapsing. What’s the point in getting up at your usual time if you can’t go to work? Why bother with a shower if you’ve stayed indoors all day. Who cares about snacking and “usual” meal times when nothing’s usual anymore?
Just the opposite is true, however. You and your family must work to maintain your routine and hygiene as best as possible. This is necessary for both your mental health as well as personal cleanliness and wellbeing. Maintaining your normal sleep and daily schedule is vital for preserving your circadian rhythm. Excess snacking can lead to obesity and other issues. Showering and brushing your teeth can help cleanse you of bacteria.
2. Embrace Old Hobbies
A sense of hopelessness is no way to live, let alone in quarantine. You may have some extra time now, so why not spend it on some extra hobbies to brighten your day? Read, exercise, knit, draw – do anything that keeps you happy and productive, as these two factors feed off and reinforce one another.
3. Learn New Things
Parles-tu Francais? Non? Then there’s your chance to learn how to speak French – or any number of fun and useful life hobbies. Again, this isn’t simply a way to fill your time – happiness is often as much about “doing” as “feeling.” Conversely, inactivity and depression have long been linked. Avoiding one is a key means of staving off the other.
This is, thus, the perfect time to learn new things, from language skills to software coding to mental health itself. If you’re a psychology student, are interested in becoming a social worker or counsellor, or simply want to help support yourself and your family as best as possible in these dark and difficult times, mental health courses may provide the light you need.
4. Exercise and Fresh Air
Social distancing rules have changed over the past few months in the UK. As coronavirus ebbs and flares like a brush fire, that’s bound to remain the case here, in the EU, US, China, and across the world.
But while the science and social etiquette of social distancing be in flux, this much is certain – simply remaining static is not an option. As mentioned above, inactivity and depressiveness have a tendency to worsen one another, and they certainly don’t do any favours for your waistline, either.
While the rules about how long you can be outside for walks, where you can go, and how many people with whom you may meet are bound to change, the imperative to get fresh air will not. Taking a much-needed break by going for a walk, doing yoga, or just simply the pleasure of stretching your legs will give you a break from the monochrome monotony of the same white walls hour after hour, day after day. Going with those who you are in quarantine with can help you all recharge your collective batteries.
By taking these ideals to heart, we can promote positive mental health while weathering the coronavirus crisis, flatten the curve, end it sooner – and, in the words of the lately and dearly departed Dame Vera Lynn, “We’ll Meet Again.”