Although lots of us are trying to find silver linings while living under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no denying that this is an extremely stressful time. And not only are many of us worried about our finances, our health, and the safety of our loved ones (especially those who are classified as essential workers right now), we’re physically separated from each other. Yes, this is for our own good, and by avoiding social gatherings and close contact with other people, we are helping to ease the strain on our healthcare system.
However, staying indoors with very minimal human contact can make a serious impact on your mental health. Those feelings of isolation and loneliness can begin to feel like a physical burden, and if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression right now, you are far from alone. Millions of people around the world want nothing more than to hug their family members and friends, to sit around the dinner table with the people they love and vent about everything that has been going on, to take their mind off their worries by going to a yoga class with friends or going out for a drink with their coworkers.
Even when you know that practicing social distancing is for the greater good, it can take a psychological toll on you. It looks like these lockdown measures will be in place in many parts of the world for the foreseeable future (but no one knows exactly how long these restrictions will continue, so stay informed by keeping up with announcements from your state and local government). In the meantime, what can you do to keep your chin up? There is no “one size fits all” cure or quick fixes to the kind of stress we’re feeling right now, but there are a few things that you can do to improve your mental health under lockdown.
Try Getting Some Exercise
Depending on how much space you have available where you live, and whether or not you are allowed to go outside for purposes other than running essential errands, it may be difficult to stick with an exercise routine. But even if you only have a spare corner available in a studio apartment, you can try doing some basic yoga flows or bodyweight exercises. It’s definitely worth a shot—exercise provides some major mental health benefits because it releases endorphins, which are chemicals that actually boost your mood. And if you can (safely) go for a run or a walk outside and get some fresh air, that’s even better!
Talk to Your Loved Ones
Getting a little sick of Zoom meetings by now? You’re probably not the only one! But even if you’re not a huge fan of video chatting, talking on the phone with your loved ones can help you feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
Or, you could get creative and go for a low-tech approach. Maybe you and one of your friends could become “pen pals” and send each other letters during quarantine. Finding a letter in your mailbox from someone you love can definitely brighten up a bad day, and when all of this is over, you can look back at your letters together one day and remind yourselves of how you got through this tumultuous time.
Consider Remote Therapy
Even if you’ve never considered seeing a therapist before, now might be a good time to think about it. Many therapists are scheduling clients for remote sessions right now, so you can talk with a professional from the comfort of your own home.
However, with millions of people losing their jobs and therefore, their health insurance, the thought of paying for therapy right now might seem impossible. If you currently do not have health insurance, but you wish that you could talk to a therapist, consider applying for reduced-fee therapy sessions through the Open Path Collective. The therapists registered with this organization offer sessions at a very low cost for patients in need.
Escape For a While
Right now, we can’t physically travel. We can’t even walk to a coffeeshop down the street or a friend’s house around the corner. And yet most of us would like nothing more than to somehow escape from this for a while. So if you feel like you need to get away from everything, it’s time to grab a good book or turn on a movie that you’ve been meaning to watch but just haven’t gotten around to. Sometimes, it can be comforting to reread or rewatch old favorites. It may only be a temporary escape, but it might be just what you need right now.
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!