Ongoing waves of the pandemic, threats of new variants and extended lockdown measures has many people feeling cooped up and anxious from dealing with the coronavirus for over a year. Despite ongoing rollouts of vaccines, it has been hard to stay motivated and optimistic during such unprecedented times.
Some have been isolated alone, others with their partner, families or roommates; all living situations have their own list challenges. People are starting to experience prolonged pandemic fatigue and are searching for new ways to reconnect with society despite the obvious restrictions.
There may not be a specific end in sight, but there are some ways to help manage the stress and anxiety that comes with COVID-19.
It seems like an easy task but when you’ve been in a routine of living in your sweat pants for weeks on end, getting changed and walking around your neighbourhood can provide benefits to both your physical and mental health.
Whether you need a break from starring at a screen or a break from the one’s you live with, walking allows you to breathe in some fresh air, get some vitamin D and clear your mind. It also gives you a chance to listen to music, catch up on podcasts or appreciate the sounds of nature.
Working out promotes endorphins, and endorphins not only elevate your mood but reduces stress as well. Everyone is different, some lift weights, some run, and others practice yoga. Whatever it is, even 15 minutes of physical activity will allow you to take some time away from Netflix or the news and focus on improving yourself.
There are many platforms that provide free access to dance classes, high intensity workouts, cycling sessions and more. Take the time to get some exercise and reduce the tension that your body has built up over the last year.
Moments of reflection and gratitude can be very helpful during such a turbulent and uncertain time. Writing in a journal daily can help clear your mind and help put your thoughts into perspective. You can write down your frustrations, or take a positive approach and write what your grateful for; putting pen to paper gives you a chance to understand your emotions in a tangible way.
Breathing exercises can also help settle the mind and promote moments of peace and clarity. There are many mindfulness apps such as Headspace which can help build breathing and meditation techniques that will not only help your through lockdown, but throughout the rest of your life.
Adding some plants and flowers in your home can make a world of difference when you’ve been lacking the lustre of the outside world. Creating a colourful environment at home can help subconsciously boost your mood.
You can also redecorate your home so it feels like you’re in a new environment, there are many stores still delivering to homes and available for curb side pickup. Adding new rugs or wall art can help you incorporate some more colour to your space and brighten your days.
There has been a surge in numbers when it comes to pet adoption over the last year; with a lack of human connection, the company of animals has been the saving grace for many people.
For many that live alone, buying or rescuing an animal has helped provide not only physical affection, but has helped provide a stable routine to follow because you’re held accountable for a life aside from your own.
This is a great time to embrace your inner chef. There is an abundance of resources online that can help you find new recipes to explore and customize. Cooking not only is a great life skill to build, it gives you something to focus on with a delicious outcome for you to be proud of.
The news right now can be overwhelming and its more important than ever to take some time to focus on what is best for your mental health. You don’t have to follow all of these tips but leaning into just one of them can help battle pandemic fatigue.
We may not know how long we’ll be in this lockdown for but we can make the best of the time we have by finding new activities that make us feel good.
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By Surina Nath