As wave after wave of Covid-19 confines us to our homes during this seemingly never-ending global pandemic, general frustration, anger, and burnout are becoming more widespread than the virus. Almost a year and a half of being stuck in our homes trying to manage our responsibilities at home and at work with limited social exposure has put us all under tremendous stress. The increased responsibilities, lack of social support, and the added stress is an excellent recipe for burnout. So it comes as no surprise at all that this pandemic has taken a toll on our collective mental health.
However, by becoming consciously aware of this situation and its effects on our health we can choose to make the best of these circumstances. If we refuse to give up and fight for our career, life, and mental health, it will give us the opportunity to grow stronger through our experiences. Here are a few practices that will allow you to manage the stress and make the best of being stuck at home.
Acknowledge your anger and find healthy ways to release it
Feeling frustrated and angry at the “new normal” is perfectly normal. We are basically relearning our entire way of life and it is okay to feel angry about it. However, letting that anger negatively impact your wellbeing is not okay. We should try to find ways through which we can express and release our rage in healthy and productive ways.
Repressed anger causes a plethora of physical and mental troubles. Emotional troubles like anxiety and depression, as well as physical problems like heart issues, headaches, acne and digestive disorders, can all stem from unresolved anger issues. Pent up rage can also cause us to lash out at people around us who may not deserve it.
If we can learn to recognize and accept our emotions, psychologists say, a phenomenon called the acceptance paradox kicks in, whereby these emotions will then have less power over you. Next, finding healthy avenues to channel your anger is a great way to release all that negative energy. This could be going out for a solitary run, having at it on a punching bag, journaling, cooking, painting or yoga. Anger is an emotion that has the capacity to overwhelm all your other emotions and thoughts, so finding a way to release it is extremely therapeutic.
Make any changes you can to improve your situation and accept what you can’t change.
People are creatures of habit. We like doing things our way, or the way we are used to. This pandemic has certainly thrown a wrench in that wheel. Nothing is the way it was, and it might be a while before things go back to the way they were. Since you can’t change the situation itself, consider making other changes in our lives that will help you live your best possible life with these restrictions.
If you live in a cramped city apartment, consider moving to the suburbs; if you are working from home, the commute won’t be a factor and you might get some place more spacious at half the rent. If you are used to going to the gym, consider buying some equipment and convert your spare room into a personal gym. Consider your choices. If making a change will help you cope and you have the resources to make those changes and choices, you should do it. You might just find that your life becomes far less stressful.
On the other hand, there are many things that can’t be changed, or you may not have the necessary resources to make the change. In these cases, accepting your situation for what it is will give you peace of mind. There is no point whining about something that is your reality. Make the best of the situation and play with the cards you’ve been dealt.
Prioritize physical and mental self care
Investing in your own self care is the biggest thing you can do for yourself. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup so do not skip on taking care of yourself. If you start tackling your depression and frustration by eating a whole lot of junk food and washing it down with million calorie drinks, you might feel good for all of one minute before the unhealthy routine catches up with you. Instead, consider making simple changes in your lifestyle that will have a positive impact on your mental state and protect you from the debilitating effects of depression and anxiety.
Some of these changes are simple, like finding time to exercise every day. You don’t need fancy gym equipment to do this, there are many alternatives like bodyweight exercises, going out for a run, aerobic videos etc. You should also try to find a creative hobby, connect with family and friends regularly, pray or attend a religious service online, read, and listen to music. All these activities may look simple, but they all release the feel good hormones, or endorphins, that instantly improve your mental state.
These times are unusually challenging. Follow this advice and stay positive, motivated and make the best of this tough time.