Without a doubt, this pandemic has changed so much for all of us. For me personally, this hasn’t all been bad. Over the past year, I have learned so much more about myself than I would have if life was still going on as if none of this had ever happened. I think that it’s down to a mixture of being by myself more and having more time to think and reflect on the past. I have become more self-aware and more content with what I already have. This has not been a simple situation for any of us, but I have consistently made an effort to try to make the most out of it, even when I didn’t feel like it.
My advice to anyone struggling during this time that it’s important to try not to feel bad about what you do or don’t do each day. If your energy or mood is low, have a day off instead and look after yourself. Hopefully, that way, when you do feel better, you can do what you want to do without distraction. Learning how to do this now can be really helpful for the future when life begins to return to the ‘new normal.’
For the days that you’re feeling more energised, here are some things that have helped me feel better, physically and mentally, over the last few months.
Figure out what makes you happy
Now more than ever before, we have to look after ourselves. I think it’s fair to say that this time last year, none of us would have believed that we’d still be in this situation. You may be more tired and more frustrated now than ever before, so I think the last thing we need to do is to put pressure on ourselves to master a new skill or learn a new language. Try to avoid doing things that you see other people doing if the thought of having to do it stresses you out more than the act of doing it. Instead, look inwards and try to figure out what makes you happy and what keeps you relaxed. After all, no one knows you better than you know yourself. Try to do more of what makes you feel content, stress-free, and at ease.
Focus on good quality sleep
In keeping with looking after ourselves from the inside out, a big part of this is making sure to get a good night’s sleep. This may be easier said than done, especially when our days aren’t as jam-packed as they may have been pre-pandemic. Try to form a basic routine in going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day. Forming a basic routine can help our mental health as much as our physical health.
Connect with friends and family
While everyone may have differing opinions on the internet and social media, there is no doubt that these tools have kept us connected with loved ones that we can’t physically see. This would have seemed impossible even ten years ago. Organise a zoom call with your friends and check in with them often, see how they are doing, and open up about how you’re feeling too. After all, we have all been through a lot in the past year so talking usually helps.
Exercise and hydration
Finally, I would recommend trying to get some exercise each day. You could maybe do an online workout or go for a walk outside if possible. Getting out into nature can help us feel less anxious and more grounded. As a bonus, it should also help you to sleep better. Remember to also stay hydrated and try to get your 2L in daily, particularly when you’re exercising.
Once again, try to make sure that whatever exercise you choose to do is what you genuinely would like to do. If you don’t want to do it, try not to put unnecessary pressure on yourself as you’ll only end up resenting the thought of it. I think that if we can take one thing from this time, it’s learning how to look after ourselves first and taking the time that’s needed to connect with ourselves more than we may have had the chance to do before.
A buzzword that has been used time and time again to describe the times that we are living in is unprecedented. While this word may have become overused at this point, the fact of the matter is that everything about this past year has been unprecedented. In this same way, life after Covid will be unprecedented too. None of us could have predicted the toll it has taken on every single aspect of our lives. So it’s important to remember to always look inwards first. Have a think about what you want to do, what makes you happy, and focus your time and energy on doing that.