#YouMatter: Mentally Coping with Life during the Pandemic
This article is adapted from The Conversation’s 7 mental health coping tips for life in the time of COVID-19
So far, we’ve written all the ways you can adapt your work to suit the new normal of things. Adjusting your commuting hours, building the perfect workspace at home, or how to communicate with your teams during #WFH days. However, now, it’s time to adjust the focus towards the person itself. Ask yourself this: compared to your work, how well have you been taking care of yourself, mentally?
This pandemic has proven to test the limits of how much control do we actually have over our lives. All the moving parts that make up our daily routines are behaving differently. In fact, the very term “New Normal” means that the definition of normalcy itself has changed. Uncertainty like these weighs down on our ability to cope with reality, stacking pressures on top of each other, concocting the perfect storm. You’re not alone in that, as well. 7 out of 10 US workers agree that this pandemic proves to be the most stressful period they’ve been in throughout their careers.
At home or at work, we’ve tried to readjust to the new rhythm of life that we’re now navigating through, and it is time to recoup. Not only to recoup what resource that was expended, but to recoup what mental clarity that we spent scrambling for safety during the early quarters of the pandemic.
Here are some coping strategies that we can do to ease the burden of our mental health during this time of the pandemic.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
Plenty of times we tell ourselves to think positively and find a silver lining of everything that’s happening around us. Plenty of times we fail. But we continue to force ourselves to smile through all of this as if it’ll single-handedly carry us through the mental turmoil that we’re all facing.
Instead of preaching to the wall, try acknowledging your feelings. Acknowledge that you’re sad, tired, anxious, upset, confused, and lost. Accept that these feelings are yours–as much as happiness is. Being vulnerable means you’re opening yourself to these emotions. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and let yourself feel everything.
2. Manage Your Feelings
After you acknowledge your feelings, it’s time to find a proper way to channel them. The easiest? Find someone you can trust to talk to about it. About everything. You can also try writing them down, or expend your emotions in a vigorous yoga session. If things are getting too out of hand, seek professional help. Understand that everyone’s going through the same thing as you are, so try to be compassionate and understanding to others.
3. Be Realistic, lower your expectations
Nobody’s a superman. Working at home can get you thinking that you can get just about everything done–snap and snap. Cleaning the house; watering the plants; homeschooling your kids; all on top of staying productive for a normal workday. This is the perfect recipe for mental burnout.
Don’t think that a perfect day consists of you taking care of everything perfectly. Instead, know your limits, and take frequent breaks. Postpone doing tasks and chores when you’re approaching your limits. Manage your priorities, and most importantly, your expectations.
4. Make the Best of the Situation
As said at the beginning of this article, this pandemic is testing the limits of the control we have over our lives. However, that doesn’t have to mean that you have to just relent and withdraw. In fact, you have total control over how you respond to the situation.
Start by identifying parts of your life that you can still control during this time. If you can enjoy basking in the sun, then make sure to get as much sun as you need when you can. There’s plenty of time to cook now, which means if you can’t, there literally has never been a better time to start.
5. Keep Your Routines
The New Normal doesn’t have to mean abandoning entirely the way you’ve lived until the pandemic begun. Working at home doesn’t mean you should just sleep until noon and work late now that there’s no commute. Maintain good old habits and routines, like waking up early, and substitute activities that are now irrelevant to something more productive. Don’t change your meal schedules, and don’t indulge in more than you usually do.
6. Keep Physical Distance from Others, But Not Socially
Despite the urge from the government to shutter yourself from the outside world, it doesn’t mean you have to cut ties and burn bridges. With the advent of seamless video-chatting platforms means you can touch base with your friends, families, and work colleagues as simple as you’d go out and visit them. There are plenty of health benefits to maintaining a good host of social support.
7. Stick to Reliable Sources for the Facts (And Skip the Dross)
The accessibility of news and the endless flow of social media posts come together to create this mess that you have to navigate through to find trustworthy information. Sensationalist media can have us doomscrolling through the day, seeking for bad news after bad news. Too much of this can bear down on your mental health. Best way to deal with it? Limit your social media consumption, and find reliable sources that you can trust with the news at all times.
Waiting for the pandemic to end is practically watching a pot to boil. Instead, do everything you can to mentally cope with your life throughout this pandemic. All these slowing down is not exactly detrimental either. We live in such a fast-paced world with a neverending current of activities and tasks that we take so little time to acknowledge our mental health. Just like running, now that we’ve slowed down, remember to pace yourself when we can finally return to society after the pandemic is over.