Some countries like Germany, Italy and Spain have already started lifting lockdown measures and allowing citizens to go outside as cases of COVID-19 continue to decline. But millions of people in other heavily affected regions remain under strict stay-at-home measures as risk of infections remains high.
Lockdowns mainly aim to protect people from the novel coronavirus. However, it also has negative effects on people.
The spread of COVID-19 alone causes stress but the mass isolation adds to the mental health challenges facing many people in affected areas. There have been reports of increased anxiety linked to lack of social interaction, outdoor time and economic issues.
But some people have found several ways to stay positive amid the global health crisis. This article explores effective strategies to help people stay calm and reduce stress alone or with family while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
Creative activities like reading, cooking and gardening have been shown to be helpful in giving people a peaceful environment. These distractions could help turn your focus away from daily challenges and negative anxious thoughts.
Read stories that could take your mind to another world. Plant fruits and vegetables and let the anticipation to see the seeds grow distract you during the lockdown.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, physical activity has been proven effective to help people improve mental health. Diane Zukova, from Latvia, said that as people are restricted from leaving their houses there are online workout sessions, like Instagram Live sessions, that could help people stay active while connecting with friends.
“Whenever I run out of ideas for workouts, as it might get a bit demotivating in these conditions, I turn to live workouts conducted by fitness clubs or celebrities even,” she told the BBC.
Mindfulness can help people build a more positive mindset. It can be done through meditation, self-affirmations, breathing techniques and writing in a diary.
Simply looking at the small, pleasant moments each day could also improve mental health. Kim Knight, from New Zealand, said people should try focusing on the present and reduce time thinking about the past or future to reduce stress.
“One of the most important things for dispelling fear is to come back to the present moment,” she said. “We must learn to control our thoughts, and in particular stop the habit of worry (mentally rehearsing what we don’t want to happen) and ‘worst-case-scenario-thinking’ which just leads to fear, stress [and] despair.”
Have A Break
Thinking about productivity could also contribute to stress. Thinking about the things you should do and failing to meet expectations could lead to frustration.
Aline Velho, a flight attendant from the United Kingdom, said she stays stress-free by not setting a schedule for herself and by ignoring external opinions about productivity.
If you think you have been putting extra pressure on yourself, try to take a break. Find other things that could help you relax or calm your mind and body, such as watching Netflix.