7 steps to Looking after your mental health in Lockdown.
Even though we may not be in an official lockdown, I will still call this article a guide to looking after your mental health in lockdown. Why? Because we’ve been home for a while now. Lockdown or not, we have been restricted in going out and our social lives have been at a stand still for a very long time now. Yes, of course, if you want to keep yourself safe, that is the best thing to do- alongside from vaccinating yourself, your loved ones and practicing precautions. But for women this shift into “protecting” oneself and their families, has come at an unimaginable mental cost. The cost of depression, loneliness (despite being constantly surrounded by family), anxiety and not to forget physical exertion.
Studies have proved that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected women more than men, both as frontline workers and at home. Another reason for women to be proud. Another superpower under our belt! Self care is essential to maintain your mental health during the lockdown.
A home maker may have extra chores at home now, with husbands and children home from work and school. The extra precautions where we have to keep reminding them to stay distant, wash hands and so on add more pressure and work. Career women working from home, may be used to house help from husbands or elders but staying at home from work invariably increases their pressure too. As if the increased load of domestic burden and housework was not enough, for many employers ‘WORK FROM HOME’ often translates to ‘WORK ALL THE TIME’ or ‘AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME’!
We understand you and we know it’s tough. We acknowledge the great deal of effort and endurance that women have demonstrated in looking after their children, spouses, elders, work and home during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was not easy. It is not easy. But, just as promised, we’re here for you every step of the way through out your life. This quick read guide to manage stress, will give you the tips and tricks to keep your sanity and be ahead of things during the stay-home life.
This quick guide provides information and practical skills to help people cope with the changes that have dawned upon with this new lifestyle and easily deal with the impact of lockdown on mental health.
7 Easy ways to looking after your mental health in Lockdown
The first step to managing stress during lockdown, is to identify if you’re being stressed. If you don’t do that early, you will soon let the stress empower you and take over your actions and your mind. Signs of being stressed could include headaches, loss or increase in appetite, always being hungover by a thought in your mind, mood swings. One moment you could be playing with your children and the next could be screaming at them for not washing the fruit before touching it.
If you find yourself behaving this way, calm down. Remember calming down will make it easy for all of you. Take a few moments away to breathe and stop thinking of what you were thinking.
- Slow your breathing.
- Slowly press your feet into the floor.
- Empty your lungs completely.
- Then let them refill as slowly as possible.
- Then try to pay attention and engage fully in any activity around you.
Your mental well being is in your hands.
Try an “out of the box” thinking where you try to tell yourself, “This is not a big problem. Problems have solutions which come in time”. Or say something like “I must enjoy what I have now, my family, my home. Let’s focus on this now and deal with issues as they come. Think of the person you would want to be– loving caring, kind and in control and work towards being that- in small steps.
Take some time off the screen and with loved ones you can actually cuddle or hug. If you’re sharing the same home, you don’t need to stay physically distant unless there is the doubt of Covid-19 infection. The excessive screen time- videogames, watching “binging” on TV shows, or even social media releases Dopamine. A substance that makes us temporarily feel good but has drug-like addictive qualities. Studies have shown that eventually, in excess, this can lead to depression, loneliness and even sleeplessness. I’ve tested myself. Many times, we find it difficult to put down the phone, even when with our loved ones.
The best way to deal with this, and believe me it works- stuff away your phone somewhere for a while where it’s difficult to access. (Make sure you’re not expecting any important calls!). Maybe put it in a locker or over your wardrobe. Even if it’s for a little bit. Just do it. You won’t believe the quality of life you’ll recover!
A great way to looking after your mental health in lockdown is to actually look after your children. Yes, I know you’re almost about to stop reading the rest and move away, but wait, hear me out first!
One of the major reasons for a negative effect on mental wellbeing in the lockdown, is children getting neglected. As mothers, we cannot innately allow this. However the lack of time, increased pressure and financial stress make this unavoidable. That’s when moms or daughters (looking after an elderly) or wives (looking after an equally busy husband), start feeling low and stressed. The best way to deal with this is to involve children in “your” activity. Femcity Well kids, a dedicated Paediatric department for Children at Femcity creates some amazing ideas to have moms involve their kids in their work. No one gets neglected! Follow us on @femcityhospital (Facebook Instagram and Twitter) for a wealth of ideas. I’ll mention a few here.
- Give them age-appropriate chores-even housework.
- Laugh and joke with them as you work your household chores-maybe even sing.
- The older ones would prefer talking or chatting about life.
- When working, try to get them involved. Give the younger ones a play keyboard or let them scribble on a notepad.
- The older ones can actually do some calculations or proofread your emails.
- Remember to give them enough credit!
Don’t cancel out Social life. The lack of familiar faces, voices and even smells can tear down the mind’s peace. Ensure you keep some time for getting in touch with the people you love. Dress up, do a makeover. No matter how overworked you are, squeeze in the time for this.
Have a routine. Eat healthy and look after personal hygiene well. Stick to your old routine if you can, but if you find that difficult, don’t stress. Toss the old routine aside and start a new one. One that includes all the above points.
Watch only trusted news feeds and DO NOT catastrophize at all. Use Social media to share positive and helpful stories and information. (Have you started following @femcityhospital yet?) You don’t know how much you may help people looking after themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic.