It is so normal to feel unhappy, stressed, confused, petrified or angry during a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in social distancing, self-isolation and a nationwide 21-day lockdown to control further spread of the pandemic.
In such a challenging situation, most organisations have capacitated their employees to work remotely from home.
Let us all admit that the COVID-19 lockdown is going to affect each one of us either mentally, financially or in some other way.
The COVID-19 outbreak has everyone on edge and extreme measures are being encouraged and enforced across the globe.
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is also starting to put a strain on the economy and this affects individual households too.
Some have been asked to take a pay cut for this month, while others are anxiously anticipating potential layoffs. This adds another financial stress to an already difficult time of stresses during lockdown.
Personally, while it is a welcome change to stay at home and not travel every day, it is also hard to sometimes constantly be surrounded by people, especially if you are working from home.
Staying disciplined is very crucial on such occassions. You have to draw a sharp line between your home life and work life if you are working from home. What it means is that you have to “make it a point to stay disciplined and follow a schedule during the course of the day”.
For those who are new to working from home, find a corner within the home and work efficiently.
While it is a very difficult time for all, it is important for people to be mentally ready in order to get through this period and reduce anxiety and stress; especially when so many of us are living in a lockdown situation.
In these trying times, one must learn to manage stress and positively cope with stressful situations.
This is because the global pandemic will result in some job losses and salary cuts, prepare and think about it if you haven’t.
It is essential to wisely manage your expenses, your emergency fund and cut down unnecessary expenses so that you are mentally and financially prepared to face the consequences of this pandemic.
While the situation is frustrating, there are things you can do to make your time at home enjoyable and take care of your mental health as well as copying with stress and stress-related disorders.
Please note that 21 days may not seem like a long time, staying away from family and friends for an extended period will be tough for everyone — and the strict measures could be hard on many people’s mental health.
If you are looking for ways to keep yourself busy, and stay positive and relaxed over the lockdown period, here are a few things you could try over the remaining days.
Stay active and exercise
Staying active not only ensures you keep your body moving, but exercise also helps to reduce stress, boost your energy levels and keep you more alert.
The government will not actually tell you to exercise, it is something you have to do on your own.
Research tells us that being inactive is bad for your physical and mental health, so staying active during this difficult time is important.
Being physically active helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Throughout this time of uncertainty, something we can take control of is our health and well-being.
So, whatever your situation and wherever you are, try to keep active, eat healthily and exercise, above all don’t forget to exercise your soul though having constant communication with the one who created you.
Stick to a daily routine
Keeping a routine is crucial especially in managing your day and time. Before quarantines, lockdowns and self-isolations, you probably awoke at a pre-determined time and went through a daily ritual without even thinking about it.
To most of you who are working, you could pull yourself out of bed at the same time, go for shower, get dressed and have some morning breakfast to start your day.
The easiest way to jumpstart a new routine is to lean on parts of the one you already have.
So, while it may be tempting to sleep in and languish in bed until the afternoon or mope around all day in sweats without taking a shower, rather follow your previous routine of getting up, dressing up and start your daily activities.
Be well informed of what is happening.
Another thing you need to do is to ensure you are up to date on everything that is going on, and that you keep yourself abreast of the latest changes.
Naturally, at present, situations are changing on a day-to-day basis, so you need to try and keep on top of things.
However, be mindful not to fall getting unnecessary information which is not even helpful.
It is encouraged to avoid reading various social media messages that are not authentic as they can affect you, rather listen to proper channels such as television channels or reports from recognised media institutions.
You need to ensure feeding your mind with correct information and you are also not part of those who spread lies over social media platforms.
Self-isolation can get you pretty lonely, especially if you are a sociable individual.
Thankfully, technology can facilitate almost the next best thing: online chats and video calls etc.
Communication is key to know what is going on with your colleagues, and also for your own mental health.
According to studies, loneliness can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So do not isolate yourself completely.
Keep in touch with your family, friends and colleagues via Skype, FaceTime, a phone call, texting etc or any communication channel. Ask how they are and let them know how you are.
Staying connected is important as it helps us to manage stress and some studies have found it helps us to live longer and happier lives.
Sticking to a normal routine will also help you stay more productive which in turn is good for your mental health.
No matter your situation, you surely have obligations during the day and things to get done around the house or work if you are working from home.
If you have shifted to working remotely, settle into your new “office” after you complete your morning self-care and go about your responsibilities as you normally would, making sure to pause for lunch, breaks and walks throughout the day.
Being on lockdown doesn’t have to be boring, not if you keep yourself occupied. From doing your gardening, learning new challenging things, learning a language, updating your CV or writing a novel etc there are plenty of productive things you can take up to pass the time during this 21-day lockdown.
Maintain your sleeping habits
It is all too easy to miss out on sleep when worry and stress are at high levels, which means your physical health and mental well-being will suffer. Sleep is key in helping our bodies stay healthy during lockdown.
One thing that everyone needs to do, is to ensure they are getting adequate sleep.
Doing the same thing each night allows you to “train” your body and mind to relax as it learns a conditioned response to relax into sleep.
Anxiety and worry may often affect sleeping patterns. In the current lockdown situation, people might find it hard to get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep could lead to other health issues. Without proper sleep, one would feel lethargic throughout the day.
Last but not least, make the most out of being at home! You now have no excuse to not do all of those things that you always wished you had time to do.
Get in touch with the writer on Facebook, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or WhatsApp +263771467441 for any help you need or to let us know what you are doing to keep yourself productive during lockdown.
Emmanuel Zvada is an award-winning human resources practitioner for 2020. He writes here writes in his personal capacity.