The honest truth is that I sometimes find it hard to take the time to look after my mental health. Like many people, I have been guilty of neglecting it due to prioritizing work deadlines. However, since the pandemic hit, I’ve had to take a long hard look at my previous neglects and find ways to care for my mental health before feeling overwhelmed during this lockdown. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to take time away from others, which I’ve sometimes used as a distraction from caring for my mental health.

Here are a few strategies that have helped me take better care of my mental health:

Establishing a Routine: Having a daily routine can provide structure and stability, which is especially important during this pandemic. I try to include dedicated time for activities that help me relax and recharge.

Practicing Mindfulness or Meditation: Mindfulness practices have helped me stay grounded in the present moment and reduce stress. I set aside a few minutes each day for meditation or mindfulness exercises.

Staying Connected (virtually): While physical distancing is necessary, staying socially connected is also important for mental well-being. I schedule virtual hangouts with friends or family members to maintain social support.

Limiting News Consumption: Constant exposure to news and social media updates about the pandemic can be overwhelming. I set timers on how much time I spend reading news or browsing social media to prevent myself from going into a negative space.

Engaging in Physical Activity: Exercising has been very beneficial not only for my physical health but also for mental well-being. I enjoy going out for long walks and also doing yoga at home or in the garden.

Practicing Self-Compassion: I am sometimes my own harshest critic, so I am learning to be kinder to myself during this challenging time. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed or anxious, especially with the uncertainty of how long we will be in this lockdown. Treating myself with the same kindness and understanding that I would offer to my friends is proving to be helpful.

Setting Realistic Goals: Breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed by work or other responsibilities. I’m also learning to celebrate my achievements, no matter how small they may seem.

Seeking Professional Support: When we first entered this lockdown, like many others, I found it very difficult to cope alone. Therefore, I am talking to a mental health professional over the phone in the safety of my home, which is making a great difference.

Remember, taking care of our mental health is an ongoing process, and it’s okay to prioritize self-care. Experimenting with these steps to find what works best for each individual is crucial. If you need more specific advice or support, feel free to ask!

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