Millions of us internationally are facing lockdown or facing severe impediments to our normal lifestyles. While this presents an opportunity to practise some self-care, we must also be aware of the risks that being isolated for long periods can present, especially given the current situation.
Anxiety and depression around what is happening in the world can creep up on is if we don’t manage our surroundings. It’s useful to be aware of up to date medical advice, so avoiding news altogether may be unrealistic, but a constant stream of news and a negative environment can harm our well-being.
Here are some tips for reducing stress and anxiety during this time and ensuring our isolation and work from home environments are positive for our mental health.
1. Minimise News Consumption
Try to limit yourself to checking the news once or twice a day maximum, to keep up to date with the most important news and advice. We want to avoid being sucked into a spiral of consuming headlines 24/7. This risks being overexposed to misinformation or conspiracies, which won’t positively serve our mental health.
Comments and conversations on social media may not be accurate or from reliable sources. Even when the facts and data are correct, the way data is represented can be misleading and incite fear unnecessarily.
Use trustworthy news channels or platforms and make sure only a small portion of your day is taken up by getting the latest updates. Much like we are taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus. We can also be responsible online by limiting the spread of any misinformed or unhelpful news that may cause anxiety in ourselves and others.
2. Seek Thoughtful Media
We all will inevitably be spending more of our leisure time in our homes for the foreseeable future. Constant news from social media and daily headline news can make us think it’s all doom and gloom, which can create anxiety and fear.
So once we minimise consumption of the headline news updates, how can we fill our time?
Seek well-informed journalism, such as long-form features or documentaries, on the current situation, and other topics that interest you to keep your mind occupied.
Such forms of documentary are widely available thanks to the many online streaming platforms available today. So plenty of material to avoid boredom on evenings and weekends.
Rather than clickbait news stories that are just focused on short term attention-grabbing, thoughtful journalism that has undertaken research may give you a more objective and insightful view of the world and the reality of different challenges. This way, we may feel less anxious around speculation and unknowns in the news.
3. Stay Connected
As we know, social media can influence us negatively when overconsumed. However, it can be a powerful and positive force when used to stay connected with family and loved ones.
Humans are social creatures, so its no wonder the impact of isolation on our mental health is staggering. We can’t spend much time physically present with others currently. Still, we can make the most of technology to keep in touch regularly with our friends and family who we may be miles away from.
Be creative and host drinks with friends via video call with friends or have a virtual movie night with family, apps like Zoom and Houseparty are free and work well for that.
If we feel anxious or lonely at this time, be sure to reach out to someone, I am sure they will appreciate it on the other end.
4. Positive Stories
Positive news stories can get underrepresented in mainstream media, especially when unprecedented events are taking place.
Reading both bad news and good news spark our neurotransmitters and in turn, our hormones and mood.
While we shouldn’t be numb to the reality of the virus. If we make a habit out of balancing positive news stories with staying updated with the situation, the impact on our well-being can be managed. Some news outlets are trying to separate from the norm and now dedicate an entire section of their news to positive stories.
5. Help Others
All of our lives have been impacted by the virus, some more than others. If you are in a position to be able to help others, this could be beneficial all around as studies show that when people help others in need, it not only benefits the recipient but also improves the giver’s well-being.
So next time you have to go out to buy groceries or the like, why not consider asking if neighbours need any help. With many of us in Hong Kong with family abroad unable to buy protective equipment, why not send a care package of supplies if possible.
6. Structure Your Day
Our regular routines have been thrown into disarray and though this may have given us a brief time to take a pause and reflect, which is a good thing, it’s still essential to make sure we get back into a level of routine. Having a routine is key to reducing mental fatigue and boredom.
If we keep structure to our day, such as a regular wake up time, planned work and exercise schedule, we will reduce the temptation to stay in our pyjamas all day and lose time to Netflix and alike!
8. Talk To A Professional
If there are times when anxiety is getting you down during this period, technology now makes it possible to speak to a therapist or counsellor without the need to leave your home. There are numerous forms of therapy you can access online, such as direct video calls with a therapist, live chat, messaging and journaling. Many online therapy providers may have special offers available during this period.
At Pyrmont, we put our client’s well-being at the center of our conversations. While yes, we optimise your money so you can live the life you want. We believe none of that matters If your mental well-being isn’t intact or your time is not being used positively.
If your current financial situation is adding to any anxiety or concern currently, get in touch today. We can give you peace of mind that you will remain on track through an uncertain future.