Throughout the course of daily life, we all face challenges that we strive to overcome. New realities imposed upon us by COVID-19, however, mean that our mental health has had to endure a considerable, abnormal amount of strain. In light of these changes, more and more of us are feeling overwhelmed and struggling to adapt. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the effects of the Covid19 pandemic have left many more people with mental health-related issues, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
In this context, taking care of our mental and emotional health becomes vital to maintaining our overall health and quality of life.
Fortunately, there are many activities that we can practice and include in our daily routines to help protect and care for our mental health.
- Create and maintain a daily routine
A routine helps manage our stress levels as it provides us with direction and organisation of our daily actions. It takes the thinking out of our day so to speak.
Include a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and time for relaxing activities in your routine. Life feels easier to navigate when we are on top of our daily routines, and the sense of manageability allows us to cope with unanticipated changes.
- Monitor your news intake
Anxious thoughts are often inspired by what we watch, read, or listen to and how much time we spend checking our newsfeeds. If you can't avoid it altogether, set specific times during the day to tune into news, and filter any sensitive information that may trigger stress.
Spend time with loved ones face-to-face or via online channels regularly. Having social support promotes a sense of belonging, safety, and security.
- Ask for help
Sometimes letting go of the need to do everything yourself benefits brain health. Explore ways of getting practical help when needed. Perhaps book a home clean via Sweepsouth, or order in supper from Uber Eats or Mr Delivery instead of cooking. Hire a virtual assistant to help you with admin, or simply ask a friend or family member for support.
- Help others
If you find yourself in a healthy mental space, be mindful of others going through tough times. When able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, e.g. assist a single parent with babysitting or grocery shopping.
Our mental health is a priority. Incorporate the above suggestions and practice self-care to improve yours. If you are struggling to cope as a result of a mental health issue, contact the South African Depression & Anxiety Group at 0800 12 13 14. SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group and is completely toll-free.