Maintaining your mental health through the pandemic
Written on the 2 June 2020 by Arrow
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our day-to-day lives in a dramatic way. One of the biggest changes to come from this period, was a transition to working from home for many people.
On top of this adjustment, parents had the additional challenge of monitoring remote schooling for their children. Social interactions were severely reduced and many of the activities that allow us to unwind, such as going to the gym, a cinema or a concert, were no longer possible.
While this return to more of a home-based life has had its benefits, it has also meant a blurring of the lines between work and rest. Coupled with isolation, heightened stress and anxiety which has built up over the days, weeks and now months may become something quite serious, such as burnout.
What is burnout?
Burnout can creep up on you as stress accumulates. You may find yourself feeling depressed and anxious, dealing with physical symptoms such as headaches, sore muscles and stomach aches, are no longer able to think creatively or on the spot, and feel tired and drained.
Why burnout is on the increase
The COVID-19 situation has brought with it significant mental health challenges, as made evident by the increase in calls to mental health support services.
You may be feeling an increased pressure to keep many balls up in the air and placing expectations on yourself (or having them placed on you) to be as productive and efficient as you'd ordinarily be. Not only can working from home make it harder to switch off at the end of the day and compartmentalise your home and work life, it also reduces your social contact which can lead to isolation.
Looking after your mental health
If you're working from home, you may have greater flexibility, plus no more dreaded morning commutes, but try to keep to a regular schedule as much as possible. Be realistic about how much work you can get through a day while still making time to have your three main meals away from the computer screen and powering off before bedtime.
Limit your exposure to the news, be aware of what you are viewing and reading and take note of the impact it may be having on your mental health, whether it be depressing news stories or those happy social media posts.
While social distancing and restrictions may inhibit you from what you'd ideally like to be doing, think outside the square for now. Healthy relationships support good mental health. Ask a friend to grab a takeaway coffee with you and have a walk and a chat. Make a regular appointment to call or visit a family member or friend to check in with each other. Get out of the house for a bike ride or sign up to that outdoor bootcamp to get your blood pumping.
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