Get your head in the right space for the lockdown

Mar 24, 2020

Psychological well-being consists of numerous facets including positive relationships with others, personal mastery, autonomy, having a feeling of purpose and meaning in life, as well as personal growth and development. Psychological well-being is attained by achieving a state of balance affected by both challenging and rewarding life events

Due to COVID-19, and now the lockdown restrictions, we are all more isolated from others and this is a time for each of us to focus on mental well-being and self-motivation.

A long period of isolation is a necessary measure for public health but it has been acknowledged that it could also have a detrimental impact on people’s mental health.

Below are the recognised emotional phases of isolation:

  • Shock – is it really that serious?
  • A feeling of holiday – Relaxed, organising your workstation without a timeline.
  • Doubt – This may include quietness, boredom, too much time on your hands, self-doubt in productivity, low self-esteem, helplessness, worries about future or family health, finances, lack of social communication, loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

You may feel as though your independence and freedom of choice have been blocked. We take for granted the small little things throughout the day that help to lift us up, such as popping out to buy your favorite coffee, chatting to a friend at the office or going to church.

It is important to know that YOU are in control of your emotional health. Do small simple things to lift yourself up during this time

Maintain routine

Get up before 08h00, make your bed, shower and get dressed. If working from home, attend to your work e-mails as normal, continue with projects and be prepared for virtual meetings with colleagues or clients. Create a sense of normality and productivity.

Break up your day

Find tasks to break up your day and, where possible, change your environment for different activities.

Keep a healthy diet

Stick to your three regular meals a day and avoid snacking during the day.

Take care of your body

As runners, it’s difficult for us to come to terms with the fact that we can’t get out for a run but now’s your chance to take advantage of the extra sleep. It’s important to create a routine to exercise at home. Look to YouTube or fitness websites for home workout routines, online exercises classes or meditation.

Engage with nature

Although you can’t spend time with others, make the most of any private outdoor space you have such as a garden or balcony. Open windows for fresh air, feed the birds or tend to houseplants.

Stay connected

Technology has made the world very small. Stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues via video calls, FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, WhatsApp and social media. Try and keep conversations light. Seeing and hearing a person is first prize for wellness. Join online groups such as book clubs or study groups.

Limit media intake

Stay informed about the situation from reliable sources, but limit news and social media intake. Don’t get drawn into a negative spiral.

Take one day at a time

Try not to project too far into the future. Remember this is a temporary measure and you are not alone.

Don’t just sit in front of a screen

Once the workday is over, vary your activities and engage in activities that offer you some mental stimulation such as knitting, baking, reading a book or DIY projects. Always wanted to write a book? Now’s your chance to start.

Focus on the positives – Stay mentally active.

Be mindful of yourself and be the successful director of your life.

Mandi Bouwer

Mandi is a registered counselling psychologist based in the Western Cape with over 25 years of experience.

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