Birthday parties? Cancelled. Weddings? Cancelled. Visiting friends? … we get the picture. It seems as if everything - except our anxiety - is cancelled.

Here’s the thing, some people thrive when under extreme stress - and that’s great - but for most of us trying to cope with the lemons we’re dealt with right now, is a lot.

So much has changed about the way we live since the nationwide lockdown began. As many South Africans are coming to terms with stress brought on by retrenchments and pay cuts, you are probably constantly reminding yourself that many people are going through worse things than what you are right now. And you’re probably right, but stress affects all of us in different ways. it’s okay to feel gutted by the fact that you’re going to miss out. Having events to look forward to helping many of us to manage our wellbeing. We are humans.

So, how are you feeling? Anxious? Exhausted? Sure, we’ve all seen the posts of freshly baked banana loaves and quarantine fitness challenges and felt, well, guilty. Here’s the thing, despite what you’ve heard, you don’t need to become Marie Kondo in quarantine. You don’t need to cook a ton of meals from elaborate recipes or bake a number of delicious treats. It’s okay, ultimately we are remaining at home to stay safe, not to undertake an expansive self-improvement process.

Your value isn’t based on your productivity. Staying healthy and keeping your mental health in check is an achievement in itself. So, listen to your mind and body and respond appropriately.

Treat yourself with kindness and respect. Befriend your body by eating healthy, going on walks and getting enough sleep. Also, keep your cool; meditate or practice deep, focused breathing once or twice a day. Allow yourself a little dark chocolate every now and then. The flavonoids, caffeine and bromine in dark chocolate are thought to improve mental health. And be sure to enjoy at least 15 minutes of sunshine every day. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.

It’s okay to change your pace but keep your routine. Get up at the same time you would normally do, shower and get dressed. Keep you home clean and disinfected. If you work from home, stick to working hours and make time to do more of the things that you love such as reading, listening to music or taking a warm bubble bath at the end of the day.

Tap into your support system constantly. Engage with others in your house, talk, laugh. Text, call or videocall loved ones and friends. Also, make a contribution to someone in need; studies have proved time and again that by helping others, you’re in fact helping yourself.

1/3 of South Africans suffer from some form of mental illness. The WHO warned that Covid-19 may not be the only dangerous disease sweeping the globe – mental illness could also reach alarming levels if not kept in check.

Taking care of your mental health has never been more important.

Stay safe everyone!

Source: sasop.co.za, mentalhealthsa.org.za, womanshealthmag.com, cipla.co.za, futurelearn.com, forbes.com, bbc.com, nypost.com, scarymommy.com, euronews.com, usatoday.com, theconversation.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.