The official lockdown may have just began but we have been on self imposed house arrest for a while now. With nowhere to go and no one to meet, you are already anxious and add to that the unabated spread of Coronavirus, it’s the perfect combination to lose your sleep over. However, psychologists feel how you look at it can make a lot of difference. They strongly suggest that you should use the time for some self care and doing things you always wanted to do but could not due to lack of time. Here are some easy and effective ways to cut down on stress and anxiety.
Maintain a Routine
Even if there’s a lock down, it’s no excuse to give up on routine. Delhi-based psychologist Harsheen K. Arora, says “Our mind is attuned to a routine. On a regular day you would eat breakfast, go to work, relax in the evening. Your mind and body is used to it for a long time. When you no longer have that, its natural for mind to get anxious.” The way out is to plan your day, give time slots for different activities, this way your mind will have something to look forward to.
When you become part of a positive activity, your brain releases feel good hormones. Mumbai-based mental health expert Prakriti Poddar, suggests getting enrolled into one of the voluntary movements happening around the country. “For instance, we got many people to sign up for the United Collective Wellbeing Volunteers group. In the current trying times, we saw almost 200 people joining over two days. We train them and bring them on to an internet platform, where they can reach out to people who need help or just need to talk,” says Poddar. The fact that you are bringing about a positive change will keep you motivated.
Avoid Overload of Information
Do not read up every WhatsApp forward that you receive. There’s a lot misinformation out there which can lead to unnecessary panic. Only choose authentic sources like World Health Organisation or India’s COVID-19 website to check on facts and figures.
Get some physical activity now more so than ever because you are indoors and your body needs to move. “When we get physical activity happy hormones such as serotonin are released in the body which help us manage stress,” says Arora. It’s essential to eat on time also to avoid bingeing on junk food. Enjoy your meals, be more mindful of what you eat.
Make use of technology to call friends and family, everyone has time for each other now. If you are living with friends or family spend time with them or have video session with people who you haven’t been able to spend time with. “This will help lighten up your mood and help you feel relaxed,” says Arora. While talking to your family avoid discussions about current affairs, try and distract yourself from the current situation.
Pick Up a Hobby
Spend time doing an activity or hobby, a skill you wanted to learn. Learn how to cook, play an instrument or enroll for an online course. Read the books you wanted to read. “Use 21 days for yourself instead of looking at it as a lock down. Do everything that you have wanted to do,” advises Arora.
Kick a Bad Habit
Now is the time to quit smoking because you aren’t going to hang out with friends or colleagues who smoke. Or kick out addiction to social media, work on yourself, look within and see what to work on. Put efforts in that direction.