Mental health and COVID-19 – tips to stay in good frame of mind
March 27, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny
England Boxing’s Club Support Officer for the Eastern Counties, Tom Paget, has put together his guide on how to look after your mental health during the difficult times that have been thrown up by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
You might be worried about Coronavirus and how it will affect you and your life. These are difficult and stressful times for all of us, but there are a lot of things that could help you get through.
Things that may stress you out include a lack of earnings, a lack of company, or even not having your usual daily routine. We have put together some top tips to helping you get through this and keep yourself mentally and emotionally positive.
Find the right space
It can be tempting when working from home to sit in your pyjamas on the sofa with a pack of cookies and a cuppa. Instead, try to create a working space that is an office away from the office.
Not only does this increase productivity, but it also means your escape to the sofa at the end of the day is one well earned.
Ask yourself, is the space quiet? (not always possible with the kids off school). Is it a safe environment? Are you likely to be distracted?
Eat well and stay hydrated
Think about your diet. Your appetite may change if your routine changes. We all know how easy it can be to snack if you are bored! Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugars stable can help your mood and energy levels.
Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your physical and mental health. If you struggle to remember to drink water, set an alarm or use an app to make sure you are taking on enough H2O.
A lack of non exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, can mean you are burning less calories, so eating well can also support your self-esteem by countering unnecessary weight/fat gain.
Continue to access friends and family
Although you cannot visit friends and family in order to protect them for the spread of the virus, particularly if they are vulnerable, it is important to reach out to those around you remotely. Company is one of the rule of three in survival (along with food and water). So, preserve your relationships through phone calls, Facetime and messages.
If you are worried about not having enough to talk about, why not schedule group chats where you all watch the same film or read the same book prior to your conversation? Groups like this can soon turn into support groups, helping one another get through this difficult period.
Worried about loneliness? Why not listen to a chatty radio station or podcast to pass the time?
Keep your mind stimulated
Without the usual challenges that fill your working/social life, try to keep your mind occupied as best you can. You can achieve this by reading books, completing puzzles, listening to podcasts or even watching a film/documentary.
OpenLearn have a huge number of free courses that can be accessed online, which may challenge you and also develop you professionally.
There are also lots of apps that can help you to learn new skills, such as beginning to learn a new language.
Whether you are a boxer, coach or parent, it is important that you keep active in these times of isolation. A lot of us don’t have gym equipment at home, but remaining active and building physical activity into your daily routine is key to supporting your mental wellbeing.
This doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous; it can be as simple as walking up and down the stairs or seat-based exercises. For a lot of people, the mental benefits to exercise can outweigh the physical benefits, so stopping these completely because you cannot access your gym or leisure centre would be detrimental to your overall health.
Use what you have in the home and don’t create boundaries. Tins of beans or water bottles can be fantastic aids for a home workout. Many home workouts can be found online or on social media. England boxing are sharing a number through head coach Mick Driscoll.
Look after you!
Please look after yourselves in these times of crisis. Get fresh air where possible and keep connected with your fellow boxers and coaches.
Check in with those that you suspect may be lonely or struggling, but, most importantly, reach out to your nearest and dearest if you need support.