The pandemic and the inevitable lockdown this year has caused a wide range of side effects with anxiety and stress topping the charts for people around the world. Although the pandemic has been around for a majority of the year, there’s still a lot of fear, uncertainty and anxiety all around. Understandably, everyone is concerned about their own health and that of their friends and family. In addition, countless people are dealing with unemployment, salary cuts and serious uncertainty surrounding the situation have been testing times for us all.
Although several couples have talked about becoming closer during lockdown, many others have felt a rising sense of frustration and resentment. Relationships have never been a piece of cake, but through this pandemic and the lockdown, we have been tested in ways like never before. For this reason, now more than ever before, it’s absolutely essential that people who are worried about issues in their relationships should reach out to get support to help understand the feelings they are experiencing and take the needed steps to ease their anxieties.
If you can relate and feel that the lockdown has been tough on you and your loved ones, here are a few tips to help you foster good mental health and maintain healthy relationships through this time.
- Look after your mental health.
If you can adopt habits to promote mental health, you’re inevitably putting yourself in a better position to maintain healthy relationships during the lockdown. You’ve heard this before, you can’t serve from an empty cup. In addition to taking care of your mental health during lockdown, it’s equally important to stay on top of your physical wellbeing. Some ways you can do this are by exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness exercises and getting enough sleep. Sleep is crucial when it comes to mental health, in fact, lack of sleep is even known to negatively impact sexual health. Some of the challenges people are facing with their sleep during the lockdown include, disrupted schedules, added stress and excess screen time.
Whether to promote mental health or good relationships, communication is the key to both. Talk about your worries, discuss how the lockdown is affecting you, express your feelings, wants and needs. You can build a closer and more fulfilling relationship simply by communicating your thoughts, feelings and needs honestly. Of course, this is a two way street and must be mutually practiced. Make time to communicate any issues that are affecting your mental health or your relationships with your loved ones. Once you’re done sharing, it’s time for active listening. It’s important for each person to feel equally heard.
- Stay in touch with others.
Undeniably, isolation and lack of social contact over a period of time has been found to increase anxiety and depression. While many of us are lucky to be ‘locked in’ with others, several are living on their own. It is important to maintain as much human connection as possible so that you have an increased sense of connectedness and emotional well being.
- Don’t stay glued to the news.
Try to restrict the time you spend on news surrounding the pandemic and social media. Instead, make time to do things you enjoy during the lockdown. We know the activities you can do outside your home are restricted, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some fun home. Plan activities that give you life or create a space of rest. Do you like to wine and dine? Plan a dinner date and cook some special dishes together. If you’re a movie buff, plan a movie date night with your partner and get dressed up for a night infront of the TV. Do your best to bring home some of the excitement of the things you usually do outdoors.
- Make plans for the future.
Understandably, it has been overwhelming for many of us to know what to do with ourselves, especially since everything seems so hopeless with the end far out of sight. Let’s admit it. Most of us are constantly asking ourselves when all this will end and when will life go back to normal. It’s in these moments that optimism and positive thinking will carry us through. Make plans about the future and list down things you’d like to do once this phase is behind us. Having something to look forward to makes a world of a difference.
A few simple changes like getting enough sleep, keeping your body moving, and staying in touch with others can promote good mental health and make life significantly easier at this hard time. If there’s one thing we want you to take away, here it is. We may not all be in the same boat, but we are right in the middle of the same storm. Hold on because this too shall pass.