It is normal to experience stress and anxiety during uncertain times, and many people have been finding it challenging to maintain their mental equilibrium during the current COVID-19 crisis. While making it mandatory for everyone to remain at home and to maintain distances from one another in public is necessary to contain the spread of the disease, it undoubtedly has had a negative impact on the well-being of many.
The loss of the usual support systems has been difficult for everyone, and people feel that loss in different ways. People have lost their usual support systems and regular social interactions with teachers or peers. All of this can make things seem overwhelming if you or your child has a reading disorder or you’re otherwise not used to having to set deadlines and boundaries on your own. That is why it is all the more imperative for you to take active steps to protect their mental health.
How To Stay Productive While Working Remotely
Image via Flickr by Ray_LAC
Whether you are now working from home or have children who are studying from home or self-isolating in accommodations near campus, here are some suggestions to help you all stay on top of your game:
Establish a Routine
It will help to establish a daily routine by writing down everything you need to do throughout the day. With a to-do list, it will be easier to get out of bed and get started. That is known as behavioral activation. Completing things will give you and your kids a sense of accomplishment, as well as the reassurance of having a measure of control over your lives.
Set Study Goals
If you’re a parent, ask your kids to go over their coursework and set daily study goals. You should be doing the same with your work tasks. It will help to get dressed as if you are going to office or class and work in a designated work areas. That will increase the motivation to study or to simply get into “professional mode.” People should switch off their phones, TV, and other distractions, and focus solely on the task at hand. If children need help with their studies or find it better to work with other people, consider forming online study groups or signing them up for online courses.
Get Enough Rest
When young students don’t have classes to attend in the morning, it can be tempting for them to stay up late at night. You might find yourself working at odd hours as well just to fill the time. However, getting sufficient rest is essential for everyone’s physical and mental health. Most people need to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. That will make everyone more alert in the morning, and you will all have more energy to follow through on your school or work goals.
Getting Therapy During Self Isolation
The lack of regular face-to-face social interactions can often lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness, but you can overcome those and help your kids mitigate those as well by doing the following:
Get Online Counseling
Many mental health providers, community centers, and therapists offer telepsychiatry sessions, and there are various online platforms where you can get therapy and psychiatric counseling via email, messages, phone, or video. You can also find student support helplines if your kids need more help with coping and getting a healthy perspective on things. Additionally, you can consider contacting a neuropsychologist if you’re concerned about your child’s current mental health and schedule an appointment for them. It will also help to keep communication lines open within the family and with your friends and be there for one another.
Meditate to Practice Mindfulness
Daily meditation and affirmations can make a positive difference in your and your children’s general outlook and increase your mental resilience to cope with setbacks. Try to temper negative thoughts and be kind to yourselves. Ask your kids to limit what they read and hear online if it leads to heightened anxiety and panic attacks. It might also help if they take breaks from social media or only interact with supportive people. And you should be setting an example by following these tactics, too. It’s truly better for everyone.
Instead of worrying about what might or might not happen in the future, if all of you focus on the things that you can do in the present. For instance, you can use the available time productively to pick up new skills that will be useful in the job market later.
Do Something Creative
It can be mentally empowering to engage in creative activities, so consider steering from self-isolation toward using leisure time for creative outlets. Did your child always want to paint, do craft, or learn a musical instrument? Did you always want learn a foreign language or learn to knit? Now’s the time to go for it.
You can also make it a family project to keep a journal of your days and record all the interesting and uplifting things that all of you have thought, heard, read, or saw. That is a good way of training your minds to focus more on the meaningful things in life.
Exercise to Stay Fit
Regular exercise is a must during the pandemic to help relieve stress and boost your and your children’s mental and physical health. You can stay in shape by working out at home, by using the stairs instead of the elevator, and by cycling, walking, or running in the neighborhood. You can also consider taking one-on-one or group classes online with a physical trainer.
You and the kids will benefit from eating healthy, well-balanced meals made from fresh ingredients and from cutting processed foods from your diet. Developing good eating habits can help you to maintain a strong immune system, stay fit, and ward off illnesses. As much as possible, you should eat at set hours and drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay well-hydrated. It is also advisable for you and the older kids to limit or altogether avoid alcohol and tobacco usage.
Hopefully, these suggestions will make it easier for you and your children to protect your mental health during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Since different people have different interests and methods of coping, it will help to customize your activities accordingly. The bottom line is to use this time to nurture hope and build resilience in you and your kids so that you emerge stronger from this crisis.