Are you feeling the pandemic blues? If you are, you’re certainly not alone. By June 2020, 42% of US adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. That’s a 31% rise in comparison to the previous year (before the pandemic).
The ongoing pandemic has left very few people untouched. For those who haven’t contracted the covid-19 virus, the side-effects of a fast lifestyle change have also been trying. And while we all try to embrace change, feeling at least some mental health effects is inevitable.
The great news is that there are several things that you can do to ensure that the pandemic blues don’t creep up on you.
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Fight the stress by getting enough rest
We already know that a lack of restful sleep affects our cognitive abilities. It also negatively impacts our moods by disrupting our circadian rhythms. While every person is different, the average good night’s rest is approximately 7-9 hours for adults, consistently. Over and above getting good quality sleep, it’s vital to have a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Quick things you can do to get better sleep
- Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier
- Follow a consistent sleep schedule
- Exercise outdoors and soak in natural light
Eat and exercise your way to a happier outlook
Following a balanced diet and exercising daily is one of the best ways to boost your mood and keep your body and mind balanced. Certain foods contain nutrients that are endorphin boosting and will aid in the long term well being of your body. A happy body is a happy mind.
Get moving, even if that simply means getting up from your seat every 20 minutes to take a walk around and touch your toes a few times.
Go with the flow and drink H20
Drinking plenty of water is a tip you’ve probably heard a million times over, and for good reason. Dehydration saps your brain’s energy, increases stress in your body, slows down serotonin production, and all of that directly impacts your mental well being.
Limit screen time
More than ever, we are relying on our screens to help us connect with others for both work and social meetings. It turns out interacting with people is a mood booster too. But when you’re spending the majority of your time interacting via a screen, your body and mind takes on the strain.
Quick things you can do to limit screen time
Cut your Netflix hours short and supplement it with time spent connecting with others. Try to put off all screens at least 2 hours before bed so that your mind can wind down and your body isn’t absorbing all that blue light just before sleeping. You can also decrease the effect that long exposure to light has on your body by using your laptop’s built-in blue light filter or use blue-light-blocking glasses.
And lastly, give yourself some grace. It’s been a trying year for everyone and you deserve a break!