The coronavirus pandemic has been a terrible, overwhelming and unprecedented crisis across the globe for the majority of the year. We are now approaching the final months of 2020, and for many areas a second wave or surge of coronavirus cases has again taken hold. As the world waits for a vaccination that is due midway through 2021 at the earliest, there still is a long road ahead for us all. This can be an overwhelming and stressful concept for individuals, who alongside this are perhaps facing loss of income, working from home, health scares, and the general loss of normality amongst much, much more. Coping, and seeing yourself through the rest of the year may seem like a momentous task, but there are ways to help reset, recharge and replenish your well-being levels to better support yourself throughout the rest of the year and the pandemic.
Set goals and structure
Look forward to the last day of the year, by then what would you like to have achieved? Can you dedicate time to reach that goal? Take a look back on the last few months of your life, despite all of the stress were there opportunities where you could have used spare time more productively? Do you think you can do that going forward? This can be anything from undertaking a new project that you would like to complete before New Year or even something in line with self-improvement – such as making yourself healthier, mentally and physically. Also look back on your year so far, despite all of the changes, are there areas or habits you have established that has benefited you or simply made you happy? Have you spent more time with family? Have you cooked better meals? Did you enjoy a daily walk? Which of these newfound joys can you intergrade into your life going forward.
Although everything is up in the air at the moment, trying to establish as structured a routine as possible can be of benefit to many people. Your daily routine does not necessarily need to be on a strict schedule, but incorporating small everyday tasks that prove beneficial to you is a good place to start. Simple tasks such as getting up at the same time every day despite what your schedule looks like, regularly exercising and eating healthily can really help to improve your well-being levels.
Spend time outside
One thing that we can guarantee, is that time keeps ticking away and the seasons keep turning. Nature, is a constant, so take the time to go outside and enjoy it. We may not be able to do all the things that we once loved at this moment but time spent outdoors can be refreshing and rehabilitating. Taking a walk outside it’s not only a gentle form of exercise, but it can also improve parts of mental well-being – it reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue; it improves sleep quality, mood and cognitive function. Especially if you are having to work from home and spending exponential amounts of time inside the house, taking time outside to walk in a park, forest, meadow and so on may be a welcome break in your day.
Keeping track of your mental health is crucial in maintaining good wellbeing levels throughout such a situation as the pandemic. If you are struggling, try to reach out to trusted loved ones, whether friends or family, and if you feel comfortable, discuss your stresses. Exercises such as meditation can also be of huge benefit in the long term. Meditation apps such as Headspace offer a range of different courses that can help you reset and train your mind to deal better with external stressors. The app also includes sleep casts, lessons and exercise sessions. Some of the app’s features are available for free and the rest is available at a subscription price. Other meditation apps such as Calm are also popular and offer similar practices.
Exercise classes such as Yoga or Tai Chi may also benefit your mental state as they focus a lot on breathing techniques. Breathing techniques with or without exercise programs in place are another effective tool in combating stress, anxiety, and depression. Taking the time to focus inwards on your breathing can help to take better control of your mental state.
If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, depressed, stressed or anxious be sure to consult your doctor or healthcare professional on further steps. There are plenty of mental health organizations that have a plethora of resources and information on mental well-being, many of whom have specialized information for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.