We all know how difficult it can become to – not only worry about health issues and getting infected or infecting loved ones – but also about the prospect of having to stay indoors, distancing ourselves from contact with other people, and having to keep ourselves busy at home. It might become easy to spend countless hours on your phone or simply staring at your bedroom wall as days go by. You might feel like you are wasting a lot of time, you might feel overwhelmed by boredom, and shrouded by anxiety and claustrophobia as you shut yourself in your room and allow yourself to be bombarded with news about COVID-19, over and over again.
Despite the constant struggle the whole world is facing, this time could serve as an opportunity to do things you have been longing to do for quite some time but couldn’t find the space for.
Here are some ideas:
- Art Therapy
Let your emotions out on a piece of paper – it doesn’t have to qualify as a professional artwork, and refrain from criticising yourself. This is about expressing your inner feelings and not about creating an aesthetically-pleasing product. Jot down your thoughts and emotions as you are doing this, perhaps linking the colours and shapes to your inner experience and monitor how you are feeling.
How long has it been before you grabbed a book which is not University-related or something that has absolutely nothing to do with work? If you did grab a book, did you manage to read something or where you simply dozing off after a hard day at work or a full day of lectures? Having all this time on your hands gives you the opportunity to enter that world you have long turned your back on because the little time you had amidst lectures, work and other appointments, was dedicated to studying or working. Now, with many things cancelled or suspended, we can finally grab that book we have been longing to delve into for all this time!
It is extremely normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious as you constantly hear about more COVID-19 cases and still feel like everything is left hanging and you perhaps might have many unanswered questions such as – When are exam results going to be received? What are we going to do about this semester’s exams? How am I going to maintain some form of financial stability?
Dedicate time for meditation, mindfulness or any kind of practice you deem relaxing. It is important that you ground yourself and learn to control and slow down your thoughts, become more appreciative of what you have at present, and use this time to focus on yourself and perhaps your spiritual growth and development.
- Pamper yourself
This is the perfect time to use all the beauty products you earned on Christmas and left in your drawer! Light some candles, put on a spa playlist, and treat yourself with healthy and pleasant scents, oils and creams. This is a good substitute for all those cancelled hair and beautician appointments. We shall all be opening our own beauty clinics after this pandemic ends…
For those who do not feel comfortable or aren’t into skin care or treatments of this sort, you can proceed with even more hand-washing and alcohol rubbing.
It might be very tempting right now to stock up on goodies and stuff your stomach with food in an attempt to get rid of the boredom. Making a fitness schedule involves many benefits; it gives you something else to do, it keeps your health in check – especially now that you need your health and strength the most to combat any infections – and it also boosts your mental health.
- Clean and decorate
Now is the time to quiet your mother’s whining and help out some more with the house chores. Sort out the stuff in your room, tidy the desk, clear that chair which has become a clothes hanger and perhaps even find creative ways to re-decorate your room.
- Keep a journal
It is very easy to lose track of our thoughts and allow ourselves to spiral down in our negative emotions, especially when we have more free time for our mind to wander and when we are surrounded by negative and anxiety-arousing vibes. Tracking down your thoughts and feelings in a journal helps you calm down, ground yourself and reflect on the process so you can train yourself to control it better in the future.
- Seek online mental health services
There are plenty of mental health professionals who are providing online services such as helplines, chats or perhaps even posting blogs and posters which help us calm down and inspire us during this time.
Be kind with yourself and give yourself enough time to accept the situation and get used to this new routine. Use this time you have at your disposal to focus on you and the people close to you, build some new hobbies and develop skills you finally have space for.
Luanne Grima is a psychology student who works as a childminder with Willingness. She also forms part of Betapsi.