Managing your mental health and well-being amid COVID-19 lockdown.
With the lockdown in full swing, you may find yourself alone or with family members that you normally wouldn’t be with. If being in self-isolation is making you feel anxious – you are not alone Due to the #21daysLockdownSA, life is slower, giving us time to reflect and self-introspect. But, for some people, this might be lonely or even induce anxiety. The information overload about COVID-19 may also result in anxiety; whether it’s through your WhatsApp groups or stats updates on Twitter. If you’re dealing with mental health issues, this period can make you worry even more. Dr Dominique Stott, chief medical officer at Liberty, gives tips on how to handle the change and anxiety while at home.
Maintain a routine We are creatures of habit, and routines give us comfort and create a sense of security. Balance this with some variety, and ensure that you take mental breaks if you’re working from home. Routines create a sense of structure and control over your environment, which is important to balance the loss of control over many aspects of your life during the lockdown. Continue to manage your finances responsibly Financial challenges are a reality for a lot of people, with many sectors and companies severely challenged by the lockdown. If you own a small business, investigate how you can participate in the relief options available. If you have been affected by job losses or salary cuts, speak to your financial services providers and make arrangements to maintain your credit rating, and ensure that your policies remain active. Prioritise your financial obligations It’s critical to maintain your medical scheme contributions, life insurance and income protection as well as disability premiums. If you’re experiencing some challenges, speak to your financial adviser and understand how you can better structure your portfolio. They might have flexibility on suspending some payments until you recover. Eat well, get some sun and exercise Nourishing food, 30 minutes of sunlight a day and keeping hydrated are essential to maintaining your physical and mental well-being. Exercise at home where possible, even if it’s through routine tasks such as housework and gardening. Stay informed Being informed ensures that you’re aware of news updates. Choose the channels for this information carefully, and defer to organisations such as WHO, NICD and universities that properly research the information they publish. Set up regular updates via social or news feeds, and balance this with other activities. While some of the news may be good, we will likely experience more bad news before the curve flattens. So, maintaining contact with the outside world only through social media and news sites can be dangerous. It removes the context of reality checks, and often distorts your sense of reality, resulting in even more anxiety.
Laughter! And finally, laughter may still be one of the best medicines available. Find ways to indulge, even if it’s just by catching up on your favourite comedy.
By Sisonke Labase