Your Mental Health as you practice Social Distancing/Self-Isolation

By Sunmisola Alade

Like a lot of people in the world right now, or at least like you, I am beyond astonished as to how much can change in weeks. The world is fighting a battle against the nCOVID-19 and it’s been crazy how much our lives and routines have changed. Every news and information by the media is about incident cases, mortality or how badly the world is losing the battle to this virus at this time. It’s all everyone on Twitter talks about, WhatsApp broadcasts are full of both false and correct information about Coronavirus. You are working remotely, stuck within the four walls of your house and it seems like you are losing it. You are not alone!

This is a mental check in from BlackXcellence as we are very concerned about your overall wellbeing as much as we are concerned about your success. Can only imagine how boring and monotonous your routines must be, having to cut out social events, travel time to work, working out at the gym, and other events in the name of social distancing.

First of all, thank you for heeding and playing your small yet important role in reducing the virus spread. It is vital that we all play our parts and I am beyond glad that you are playing yours. However, it is noteworthy that if care is not taken, social distancing can be a recipe for depression episodes. The news and tweets can also cause or aid panic and anxiety among other things. This is why we have come with a few ways you can stay on top of your mental health:

  1. Work or Rest or Read: You choose! It’s fine if you decide to take some time to rest. Trust me, you are not in the wrong at all. It’s also very okay to decide to work or journal or learn new skills, or do whatever it is that interests you at the moment. Do not feel guilty that you are not utilizing this break like every other person. Allow yourself to fill in your time as peculiar and unique to you. Now, don’t lay in bed all day. Get up each day, with whatever goal you have set in mind – be it work or rest or draw and achieve it. Set achievable goals and have yourself get it.
  2. Exercise and Eat Right: It is tempting to want to lay in bed all day with chips and guacamole but such decisions can be very detrimental to your mental health. Tune to YouTube and find work out routines that you can do at home. Release those endorphins, trust me, they make you feel very good. Make some homecooked meal and treat yourself to healthy foods and if you do not like to cook, order some good meals from trusted restaurants. You deserve it. Stay away from the grease of Fast food for now, please.
  3. Venture Out: I don’t mean to go out partying but make it a point to take a long stroll out of your apartment at least once a week. Do this while taking every precaution in the book. Sanitize your hands often and stay 6 feet apart from other pedestrians. Feed your eyes with the blossom of the Spring and catch some whiff of fresh air while being responsible. In fact, on days you feel like it, cycle down the streets or take a jog. Your brain, your mental health and your body will thank you for it.
  4. Reduce the Media content: Curiosity can kill the cat and hurt your mental health. The media day by day reports death and new cases all around the world and this can be devastating. Try to minimize your consumption of the news. Stay in the know and be updated but know when to back away. Digesting every bad news that comes out of the media houses all day long will not do you a world of good. You can find yourself having panic attacks and losing sleep from anxiety because the news will subject you to bad news more than it will give you good news. Minimization is key.
  5. Find Your Anchor: An anchor is what keeps you grounded and we all have our one thing. Be it writing, dancing, calling family and friends or lover(s), cooking up a storm, journaling, praying, reading your Holy Book, Tiktoking. The list is endless. Note that an anchor is not harmful to your overall wellbeing and so it cannot be activities like excessive drinking or smoking and other harmful habits. Find your anchor and stay grounded
  6. Talk to Someone: The way humans are created, there is a need for human to human interaction no matter how much we deny it. Communication with another person helps us keep our mental health in check. Banter with someone, have a light-hearted conversation and allow yourself throw your head back in a good laugh. This isolation is a great opportunity to build better interpersonal relationships with family, friends and lovers. You have no excuse now because you have more time on your hands, take advantage of it
  7. Stay hopeful: Hope for the best in every situation. 

This storm will pass and life as we knew it would return but while it’s on a pause, remember to smell the flowers and stay healthy; both physically and mentally.

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