Practical Self-Care Through COVID-19
With many countries declaring emergency status, and the classification of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, our anxieties are high. We at CheckPoint have been thinking about how we can best help the community to get through this difficult time, and what additional support you might need.
There are lots of things going on right now that could trigger your vulnerabilities or impact your mental health. Over a series of articles, we’re going to focus on some of the key issues you might face:
- How to practise self-care whilst in isolation or quarantine
- Tips on how to Work From Home in a healthy and sustainable way
- Managing your anxiety during a global pandemic
- How to tell if you are developing depression and what to do
Self-Care in Quarantine
Being told you can’t leave the house or have any contact with other people for 14 days is a situation most of us will never have faced before. We’ve considered some of the unique challenges as well as some general tips.
Firstly, familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms that things might be going awry for you. Some folks call this “cabin fever”, but it’s not really a condition, more so a typical response many people have to being stuck in one place for a long time. These include things like:
- Paranoia or suspiciousness about those around you
- Feeling very sad or depressed
- Difficulty concentrating, poor motivation
- Excessive sleeping
- Feeling hopeless
Make sure you put things into place early to keep on top of things – prevention is better than cure, especially if you are housebound.
Sleep at normal times. Try not to nap, and keep yourself occupied during the day with activities that are stimulating and rewarding. TV is great as a treat in the evening but don’t spend all day bingeing shows on Netflix!
Eat at normal times. Because you are around your kitchen cupboards, and might be at a loss for things to do, it is normal to feel peckish or to snack when you’re bored. Try not to, or if you do, keep it healthy. This will help your body to stay in a “normal pattern”.
Stimulate your brain. Think – crosswords, puzzles, board games if possible, and of course, video games. There are lots of awesome puzzle games you can download from the Nintendo e-store without leaving the house, like Professor Layton, or long and involving games to pass the time like Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Exercise. Not getting out means that opportunities are limited but it is absolutely not impossible. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you happy, as well as promoting blood flow around the body, nourishing the brain, and providing a number of additional benefits to your mental health. Try a 7-minute exercise app or follow an aerobics class on YouTube.
Reach out to others. Text messages, social media or even on Steam! Social stimulation is vital to our overall wellbeing, and in the digital age we have so many opportunities to keep up contact.
Play together online. You’re here because you love video games, so why not use them to maintain your social health during quarantine? We love prosocial games like Overwatch, Tabletop Simulator and Stardew Valley.
Play games at home. If you’re stuck at home, you’re probably spending a lot of time with your family right now. Why not bond over a new gaming experience together? We’re acutely aware that Animal Crossing comes out next week – making a village together could be the perfect metaphor!
Practise gratitude and humility. It might suck being stuck indoors, but it’s happening for a good reason. You’re protecting both yourself and others from getting sick, preventing the spread of a deadly disease and helping your community stay on its feet. We’re lucky to live in a society that can facilitate this, as many nations are not so privileged.
Accept limitations and appreciate small achievements. It’s normal to feel totally helpless during something like this. Try to let go of your worries about things you cannot change. Find balance by doing small things to contribute, or take control over smaller, realistic aspects of your life. This might be by paying a bill early, by tidying the house, or helping a neighbour in need.
Take a mental break. With the news cycle forever turning and social media blowing up on our devices, sometimes we can get sucked into the constant barrage of information. Right now, much of this content is pretty scary, and we feel obliged to keep watching in case something new happens. Remind yourself that it’s okay – and maybe even vital – to switch off for a period of time. Close Twitter and shut off the TV, read a book or play a game where you can get a much needed period of respite from the worry.
If You Need Extra Help
This is an unfamiliar time and many of us are being put in situations we’ve never experienced before. It’s okay if this has an effect, or comes as a shock. It’s okay to want (or need) extra help. The most important thing to know is that even when we are on lockdown, help is still available.
Services will vary from country to country, so here are helpful terms to Google with your city name:
- “Remote mental health”
- “Skype therapist”
- “Mental health hotline”
- “E-therapy” / “online therapy” / “digital therapy”
Most areas will classify their non-face-to-face-contact services as some variation of the above. If in doubt, head to our global mental health support page.