How to take care of your mental health during COVID-19

Jessica Woodlock

If we are to be thankful for one thing that this pandemic has brought us, let it be that everyday can be a ‘mental health day’. 

Gone are the times when you had a day to yourself once a fortnight. Now, with the current global situation and our need to stay indoors, we can take the time to prioritize our mental health.

Whether you’re feeling stressed because of online lectures, anxious about COVID-19 or missing a decent gin and tonic with your friends, taking the time to look out for your mental health has never been more important.

It can be as simple as not refreshing your news apps every ten minutes or taking the time to learn something new, but it’s something we should all do, no matter what state the world is in.

A relatively easy way to keep your mental health in check is to socialise with your friends, albeit virtually. If you used to go out every Saturday night stick to that routine – on a Saturday have some good old classic zoom quizzes, try a PowerPoint night or watch a movie together on Netflix Party.

Keeping in contact with your friends is crucial in these times and with all sorts of different apps at our disposal it has never been easier to do so.

That being said, social media can be a dangerous game when you’re online all day. Take regular breaks from screens, be it your phone, laptop or television.

Going outside and doing just 20 minutes of moderate exercise (perhaps a brisk walk?) can boost your mood for up to 12 hours after, according to Inc.com. Do some yoga, an online HIIT class or even go for a walk and talk with a family member- it might do you both some good.

Something that definitely needs to become a habit in this COVID-19 era is limiting your time watching or reading the news. If you’re someone who checks twitter or RTE News every ten minutes then maybe you should become more aware of that.

Unfortunately , it’s going to be rare that something on the app is going to bring you anything other than stress, anxiety or fear. Try just tuning into the news once a day whether that’s for ten minutes in the morning or ten minutes at night- but don’t let it overwhelm and consume you.

While it might feel like the news is currently on a downward spiral, you have to remember that good things are happening all around us. Somewhere in the world someone has just gotten engaged, someone has just had their first child and someone has just gotten the job of their dreams.

Try following positive accounts on social media – @goodnews_movment , @globalpositivenews and @dailygoodnewsco are all great accounts for staying in touch with the good things that are going on in the world.

Don’t forget that much like the news, your mental health can change from day to day. Know what’s normal for you and what’s not. If you’re continually feeling low reach out to a friend, family member, or college supports services.

Author: Jessica Woodlock

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons