COPING IN A PANDEMIC

From burnout to breakdowns, this pandemic has done a number on our mental health. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to practice self-care habits to help us get through our day-to-day routine and beyond. Here are some tips we hope will help. 

Make lists

Making a list of the tasks you need to complete for the day will help keep your mind organised. With most of us working from home at the moment, the amount of work can be overwhelming especially if we have to balance it with home responsibilities.

Try jotting down the things you need to do for the day — make a to-do list! Break it down to smaller tasks so it seems more achievable and you feel better about yourself when you manage to complete your tasks. For example, if you have to write a report and you’re chasing a deadline, try listing it as: “write 100 words this morning.” Breaking down your tasks also keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to do in the grand scheme of things.

Journal

When you start to feel overwhelmed, try journalling. Write down your thoughts. Sometimes, it’s easier to process things when you see it in writing, instead of having all your thoughts in your head. If you don’t feel particularly comfortable talking about what’s on your mind, journalling might be more effective for you. 

If you don’t know where to start, try using prompts like:

In some cases, the physical act of putting pen to paper can also be therapeutic. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it right. Just go with the flow! Remember, you are doing this for your eyes only. 

Acknowledge your failures & forgive yourself

We are only human. We are bound to make mistakes from time to time. Although it doesn’t feel great to be yelled at by your boss, or feel like you failed because your child keeps throwing tantrums, allow yourself to feel those emotions. Allow yourself to grieve and acknowledge those emotions. Only by allowing yourself to feel those emotions will you be able to make peace with them and eventually forgive yourself. 

Nobody is perfect. These are especially tough times we are living in. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can. 

Meditate

When you start to feel overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing and take several deep breaths. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Detach yourself from your thoughts and what troubles you. Just focus on your breathing and re-centre yourself. Let your thoughts pass by as you try to quiet your mind, allowing yourself to gain perspective and renewed focus. 

Our minds are constantly at work, and it can only take so much. Our minds need a break too. So when you feel like you’ve hit a dead end and you can’t think anymore, take a few minutes to meditate. You can then return to work with a sharper, clearer mind.

Social media detox

The digital age has made access to information pretty much borderless, but constant updates can make us feel like we’re being bombarded; it’s like a double-edged sword. While it’s important to keep abreast with latest developments, a constant stream of information can make us anxious especially given the current state of affairs.

While it may be difficult to quit social media completely, try setting aside a few hours a day where you stay off social media or better yet, keep your phone and electronic devices away. Allow yourself to be present in the moment. Read a book, engage in a conversation or play with your pet.

In a time when we are so heavily reliant on our gadgets, it could do us some good to log off and let ourselves “recharge” away from our devices. Being attached to a screen for prolonged periods can be draining, making us agitated and impatient. Try to make it a habit of having a few unplugged moments in your days.

Reach out

Working from home and being far from loved ones can be isolating. It’s important to maintain social contact with the people you care about and trust.

As humans, we are social beings and we require some form of connection. Schedule some time to talk to loved ones and close friends, if you feel like you are in need of some TLC. This way, you can give yourself a short break and check up on the people in your life. Exchanging that energy can be beneficial to ensure you and your loved ones are in a better place, emotionally and mentally. 

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone copes differently as we all process our daily lives in our own ways. Beyond finding ways to cope that work for us, it’s also important to be mindful. Practice empathy and try to be more understanding of other people’s situations. All of us are just trying to survive this period of time. The least we can do is be kind to ourselves, and each other. 

 

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