The spread of COVID-19 has been happening so quickly, and it has been very hard for me to grasp. I had no idea what to even talk about in this post because I did know how I could relate COVID-19 to mental health.
It turns out that COVID-19 affects our mental health. Not the virus its self, but the isolation and the panic affects our anxiety levels. Especially mine for that matter. Not being able to go outside to see my friends during the week, and knowing that everything is closed has made me really anxious. It’s kind of funny because I was basically practicing social distancing before this pandemic escalated. I think the fact that I don’t have a choice is what’s been scaring me. Knowing that I have to stay home, even if I don’t want to has been making me nervous. Not to mention that my anxiety has been telling me that this pandemic is going to last forever, so what is the point of living if I’m going to be isolated forever?
Having thoughts like that are scary as hell, but I think it’s important to talk about them because I know I am not alone in having them. I also have been trying to practice recognizing which anxious thoughts are facts and which ones are fiction.
For starters, this pandemic won’t last forever! This is only temporary. That being said, it is important to stay informed, remain vigilant and use social distancing as a tactic to control this virus. But remember, no matter what your anxiety is telling you, none of this will last forever.
I also think it is important to realize that its okay to be anxious and scared. There are people everywhere, panicking and posting about COVID-19, so all of this is hard to escape from. Our anxiety, LOVES to feed off of panic and fear. Also, everything escalated too quickly and your brain is taking a while to process all that’s been happening. It makes sense that you are on high alert.
Also, it is important to remember that you don’t have to be constantly finding ways to remain active. For some reason, we humans have this fear of being bored, sitting in front of a T.V. and being a “couch potato.” LISTEN: it’s okay to be a “couch potato” right now. It’s okay to spend weeks watching T.V. and to be eating whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s okay to not work out for a few weeks and to sleep a lot. We need to take a pause in our lives, and remember that its okay to not do anything. It’s okay to simply survive.
That being said I am going to list somethings that I have been doing throughout this time to keep my mind busy. These are activities that you can do too, so that you can tolerate the bordum, and anxiety that has come with the COVID-19 out break.
1. Learning a new instrument: This is something that I have been doing everyday, because I have the time! Except I already taught myself last summer how to play the ukulele. Right now, I am just working to perfect my skill, so that I can pick up my Ukulele and strum to any song my heart desires. Learning a new instrument if you can, is something that takes a lot of brain power. If you work at it a bit once a day, in no time you can start learning new songs. It’s fun, and also really calming. If you like music, and maybe have an instrument lying around that you haven’t used in a long time, this is a great activity for you!
2. Learning how to draw: I am not a great sketch artist or painter, but ever since I had to stop going to school, I have been learning how to draw, with out art classes. How do I do it? Basically I watch YouTube videos on how to draw different things. All of the YouTubers that I have been watching say that practice makes perfect. So really its okay if you’ve never been the most talented artist because now you can take all of these lessons on how to be an artist AND you can do it for free. The reason I have taken up art is because it is really mindless and once again calming. You don’t have to think up anything, you just do what your heart desires.
3. Colouring: If you have those colouring books that they sell at chapters, this is an awesome activity to keep you busy. It is also mindless, and fun. If you don’t have those colouring books, then do not fear. There are easy and simple drawings you can make, that you can just colour in. Colouring is also oddly satisfying which also adds to why this is a great activity. Here is an example:
4. Yoga or meditation: My favourite mindful activity is yoga. I love it because it involves physical activity, and it doesn’t discriminate to size or fitness level. That means that any one can do it. I personally follow https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene. She really focuses on being mindful and present, which you can apply to your day to day life. I also have recently taken up meditation. This is super awesome, and really great for anxious people. It emphasizes that its okay to think, and for our minds to wonder. Meditation allows for us to simply notice our thoughts, in a judge-less way. Practicing this is super helpful, especially when you have anxiety. For me in particular, when I’m anxious I tend to think that what I feel is wrong, because it doesn’t feel good when I am anxious. Meditation guides you to accept your feelings, and notice them. It has helped me a lot during this anxiety inducing time. The app I have been using to meditate is called Headspace.
5. Watching your favourite movies: An even better idea is to watch it with your family if you can! For example me and my sisters watched Despicable Me 1 last night. Why you may ask? Because we can!!! Watching movies is an awesome use of your time. You can watch new ones, or old ones. Now that we have access to Netflix and Amazon Prime, we have access to so many movies and TV shows. Why not take advantage of this?
6. Learn a Tik Tok dance: If you don’t know what Tik Tok is, its this app were people post videos. It’s known for these fun dances that many people learn and then post again on the app. It’s silly, but learning the dances themselves is fun and a lot of work. It’s really entertaining and it helps pass the time!
7. Have a dance party: Play your favourite music and just dance. You can dance alone or with company, just make sure its less then 10 people.
This is my little list of things I have been doing to keep busy. It is a crazy world we live in, might as well do the things we enjoy and make the most of it. We are all in this together! Remember that and use it as a motivator to get through this. If you need to talk, don’t be afraid to reach out!