The closure of schools and cancellation of exams combined with social distancing can throw your whole word upside down. At times like theses it’s even more important than usual to look after your mental health and wellbeing.
With the global situation changing daily it's difficult to know how long it will go on for. It's important to keep busy instead of dwelling on things you can't change. Keeping your mind and body active is a great way to take your mind off the current situation. Here's 9 ways to help you establish a routine and keep busy.
Keep A Consistent Routine
As you don’t have to wake up early for school/work every day it’s easy to fall into bad sleeping patterns and lounge around the house all day. While this is fun at first, the lack of structure can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Try to create a daily routine. This could be waking up at the same time you do for school, eating breakfast, and getting changed out of your pjs to start the day.
While exams have been cancelled you may still have coursework and revision to do. Try to create set working and set relaxing zones in your house. Getting out of bed and sitting at a desk will do wonders for your productivity. Having set spaces will help you to relax and switch off after a day of working.
Keep In Touch
Just because you're physically distancing it doesn't mean you have to socially distance from your friends. The current situation will mean that a lot of your regular social activities are cancelled. Loneliness can impact your mental health so it’s important to keep in touch with your friends and family.
Make plans to keep in touch with people you’d normally see in person - a phone call or a video chat can work wonders for lifting your mood. Apps like Skype and Houseparty make keeping in contact with all of your friends extremely easy, if you can't go out to dinner with your friends you could all eat dinner together online.
There are lots of other ways to keep in touch with friends and family members, from regular phone calls, to playing online games, to streaming films together. You could even send your friends cards and letters with apps like Touch Note app which turns your photos into postcards that you can send directly to your friends, you could also use MoonPig or Funky Pigeon.
Check out our five favourite ways to stay socially connected while physically distancing.
Learn Something New
Now’s the perfect time to learn a new skill and challenge yourself. Websites such as SkillsShare and Brit+Co, and universities such as Harvard and Yale offer FREE classes in thousands of areas – from brushing up on GCSE French to learning Tik Tok dances to learning the science of well-being to baking cakes to learning another language, the possibilities are endless.
There’s probably lots of things you’ve been meaning check off your to-do-list but haven’t had the time. From basic chores to books to read to TV shows to watch to albums to stream to games to play to podcasts to listen to, now’s the time to do it. Now could be a good time to take a trip down memory lane and organize all of the photos on your phone/physical photos, have a digital decluttering session or have spring clean of your room.
If you can try to get outside (and practice social distancing). There is a direct link between mental health and getting outside, it helps improve your mood, reduces feelings of stress and relaxes and reenergizes you. While parks are still open take a break from being at home and go for a walk, run or cycle. If you can't get outside make sure to open the windows in your house every day to let in the fresh air.
Exercising regularly reduces anxiety and stress and can help you think more clearly. In light of the coronaviruses companies are putting free workouts online that you can do alone or with your family members. There are thousands of activities and moves you can do to workout at home without needing any equipment. Some YouTube channels stream live workouts so you can work out with people from around the country in the same situation as you. You could even set up group exercise classes with your friends on Skype.
With museums and galleries closed you can still explore them from the comfort of your sofa. From the Palace of Versailles to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to the National Gallery to the British Museum and more. You can also find more tours of museums and galleries from around the world on Google Arts & Culture.
There are lots of live concerts taking place such as Together At Home, a series of virtual music events launched by the World Health Organization, Global Citizen and feature artists such as John Legend, Hozier, Niall Horan, Charlie Puth, and Chris Martin, performing live from their homes to people all around the world.
While it's good to keep up with the latest global developements, watching the news nonstop can build feelings of panic and despair. It's easy to go down a rabbit hole and focus on the negatives, but there are lots of positive things happening in the world that aren't getting as much coverage as they should now. Set yourself time limits for checking the news about the coronavirus, and make sure you spend time reading your favourite magazines, watching your favourite youtubers, and visiting positive websites to take your mind off things. There are millions of websites you could be reading instead of coronavirus updates, for example, lots of zoos and aquariums have set up live streams so people can watch the different animals to distract themselves!
If you’re feeling anxious and worried about the coronavirus, or feel isolated, know that it's completely normal, and there are lots of resources available to you. Try talking to your friends and family members, they're all going through the same thing as you, so they understand how you feel. If you need someone to talk to Samaritans and NightLine offer free confidential listening services over the phone and on instant messenger.