I am a co-founder of Jacob’s Ladder Blog where we have a vision to lift, encourage, and support one another as we discover a deeper understanding of God and the Bible. It is also very much on our hearts to raise awareness about mental illness. We believe that having good mental health is important for everyone, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statistics show that more people are suffering from depression, fear, and anxiety as a result of a change in their financial situation, the risk of infection, and the drastic change to their everyday existence due to self-quarantine and lockdown procedures.
For that reason, we have made a list of 10 tips to help you look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN A ROUTINE
Work out a daily routine with set times for getting up, doing sport, meal times, and going to bed.
Build up your daily routine by making a routine for the entire week.
As part of your weekly routine, factor in chores like grocery shopping and even date nights and family evenings.
2. BE ACTIVE
Regular physical activity improves your mood and concentration, reduces stress and depression, and improves the quality of your sleep.
Do some form of exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes.
To hold yourself accountable, work out with a member of your family or, if lockdown procedures allow it, meet up with a friend for a walk, jog, or bike ride in the park.
3. HAPPY GUT, HAPPY LIFE
Your gut produces about 90% of your body’s serotonin, one of the “happy hormones.”
Therefore, eating healthy foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins helps to keep you emotionally stable.
Replace sugary drinks with water and reduce your alcohol consumption.
4. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS
It’s OK to feel anxious, fearful, and even angry about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects.
However, try and not let your emotions dictate your mood.
If emotional turmoil is shredding your nerves and stealing your joy, tell God about it and ask God to give you the strength to deal with what is bothering you.
Confiding in your spouse, a member of your family, or even a close friend will also help release some of the emotional tension you’re feeling.
Too many times we keep our emotions bottled in, which can not only lead to mental disorders, but can also result in physical ailments such as headaches, back pain, ulcers, and poor sleep quality.
5. LIMIT YOUR NEWS CONSUMPTION
Scouring the news for the latest update regarding COVID-19 is not only going to increase the anxiety you feel, it will also waste time and prevent you from living your life.
It is definitely sensible to be informed, but don’t overdo it!
6. SPEND TIME WITH GOD
If worry, anxiety, and fears regarding your welfare and the future are affecting your peace of mind, turn to and cast your mental burdens on God.
God’s promises of love, grace, protection, and provision will comfort you and give you hope.
Make it a part of your daily routine to spend time with God. Treat that time as “you” time and avoid disruptions.
This could mean that you may need to get up slightly earlier than usual or wait until your family goes to bed in order to have your quiet time with God.
7. AVOID “WHAT IF?” QUESTIONS
Try to avoid postulating and procrastinating about the future: It’s only going to increase your stress levels and rob you of today’s joy.
8. DO SOMETHING KIND FOR OTHERS
Doing something kind for others will distract you from your own problems and enrich someone in need. It will also help you to appreciate what you may take for granted.
You can help others by offering to do grocery shopping for a neighbor who may be elderly or sick. You can arrange to drop your purchases at the door to maintain social distancing.
You could also offer to donate blood or volunteer in a soup kitchen, food bank, children’s program, animal rescue center, or local hospital.
Financial donations are always welcome during this period of economic uncertainty as well.
Some countries also offer initiatives to train people online to become digital counselors.
The current pandemic has left many feeling cut-off from the rest of the world.
If lockdown measures prevent you from meeting up with family and friends, give them a call or organize a Skype or Zoom meeting.
Otherwise, maybe arrange to meet a friend in the park and go for a walk. If restaurants are opening up again in your area, organize a coffee date or go out for a meal.
10. BE GRATEFUL
Show God gratitude by thanking God for all the wonder things he does for you—no matter how small.
Practicing gratitude will replace negative thoughts, boost your morale, and give you revelations of how much God blesses your life.
Our family keeps a “Miracle Book” where we write down all the miraculous and wonderful things that God does in our lives. When l find myself getting anxious or having depressive thoughts, l read over some of our prior entries and feel comforted and reassured of God’s love, faithfulness, and provision.
Maybe you could try keeping a record of miracles and blessings in your life as well.
You could also try writing down three great things every day that God has done for you that day.
I hope you found these tips on how you can look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic useful! You can read more from my blog here.