We’re all stuck at home – there’s no escaping that fact (there’s no escaping anywhere actually). While we can’t control the situation we all find ourselves in with the outbreak of COVID-19, we can control what we do within our homes to take care of our own physical and mental health.
Wellness should be our priority now and managing our mental health is crucial during this global pandemic. Luckily some medical aid companies like Fedhealth offer emotional wellbeing programmes which can help you during this time if you need support. Here are five other proactive things you can do at home that will positively impact your mental health, as well as your family’s:
Limit the media you consume
Yes I’m talking to you, the person who is endlessly scrolling through Twitter, absorbing other people’s fear and anxiety plus reams of fake news. With time on our hands, and our phones within easy reach, it’s so tempting to use social media and news sites as a distraction − but this is hugely damaging.
Whether you allocate certain times of the day to check up on news or put one of those social media blocking apps on your phone like Offtime, now is the time to take a good hard look at your media consumption and be more conscious about it. Why is this important? Fear weakens our immune systems, and we all need stronger immune systems if we are to fight this virus collectively.
The upside of social distancing is that many yoga studios and teachers are offering sessions that you can stream from your computers, some of which are even free. We all need to breathe, feel grounded, stretch and feel connected to our bodies right now, and yoga is one of the best ways to do this.
If you’ve never done yoga before, now is an excellent time to start! Yoga is also a discipline that’s ideal for the whole family to do, and there are many fun family classes on Youtube that you can start with, like Yoga with Adrienne.
Quietening our minds is what we need now and mindfulness is another tool to help us do this. If you’ve always thought mindfulness was beyond you, and only for hippies or wannabe gurus, now is the time to explore this very powerful practise! Mindfulness is all about paying attention, being present in the moment, and being non-judgemental to your feelings and yourself. And it’s not just for adults. Mindfulness has been shown to limit anxiety in kids, help strengthen their self-control and even improve their body image. Apps such as Calm and Insight Timer are brilliant ones to start with, and they offer a few free sessions so you can decide if you like them, before you commit to buying them.
If you’ve been meaning to plant herbs in those pots on your balcony but have never had the time, well − now you have the time. Seeds for Africa has useful planting charts for your region, for example in the Western Cape in March, you can start planting cabbages, carrots and lettuce. Seeds for Africa delivers nationwide and also has loads of resources to help you get the most out of any patch of soil you have available.
Rest & sleep
Getting enough sleep and rest is one of the best ways for your body to build its immune system. Various studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to a weakening of your immune response because the white blood cells that are responsible for combating viruses function less efficiently. One way to improve sleep? See point 1 above: switch off the news after a certain time, place your devices out of the room and don’t reach for your phone first thing in the morning.
We can only control how we respond to this situation, and what happens within the walls of our own homes. Pick a few of these activities and start prioritising your mental health today – because the health of the world depends on it.