As humans, we have an innate need for safety, security and control. We are creatures of habit and find comfort in familiarity and routine. We were not made to live in isolation. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown that began in March, our lives have changed drastically, and the void has been filled with a steady release of fear and anxiety.
With so much uncertainty about the future, not knowing how things are going to turn out or when the lockdown will end; people are struggling with stress, fear and anxiety, typical responses to imminent and future threat. Many of us are left feeling psychologically drained and defeated. It is, thus, vital that we pay close attention to our mental health and those of others around us, such as family, friends, employees and work colleagues.
Here are some tips that could help with alleviating mental fatigue and anxiety:
Humans are social beings. Even if you can’t visit family or friends, try to stay connected on a regular basis and be active in your interactions. There are many online tools like zoom and google meet that you can use.
Acknowledge and Accept
When something is happening, or you are experiencing an emotional or psychological response; acknowledge that feeling. You could say it out loud, “I am feeling anxious…”, “I am having a hard time right now”. Be aware of your feelings of anxiety or irritability and accept the moment for what it is.
Stay Away from News and Social Media
Watching or reading the News is likely to have a negative impact on your mentality. Similarly, scrolling through social media, where people only tend to show the best part of their lives, is not going to make you feel better. Try to limit your exposure to these types of platforms and make sure you are using reliable resources.
Utilise Coping Mechanisms
This could be in the form of meditation, writing in your journal or doing something creative. It’s also helpful to stay physically active and making sure to eat and sleep well. Set time aside to create a calm space.
Put things into Perspective
It’s natural to have many questions about uncertain situations such as these. In the absence of information, our anxiety takes over and we feel overwhelmed and vulnerable. These are some questions to ask yourself in order to shift to a healthier mindset:
- What are the things within my control?
- Am I overestimating the likelihood of the worst-case scenario?
- What strategies have helped me cope with challenging situations in the past that I could use now?
- What small or positive action can I take now?
The future seems uncertain and vague right now. People are restless, frustrated and somewhat powerless. It is important to remain aware of your mental health status and those around you and to take care of your emotional wellbeing during this time. You are not alone.