emotional wellbeing Mandy Kloppers

How to stay sane during the pandemic

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It’s been a trying year and we could all do with some respite. For me, it has felt as if the days have been interminable and boredom has been my constant companion. That doesn’t mean to say I have not been busy. In fact, I have had more clients than ever.

The Covid pandemic has created a lot of stress and tension for everyone. Many people have lost their jobs, many are suffering financial difficulties and relationships are under strain. It got me thinking about what we could do to make this time a little bit more bearable.

Here are some tips on how to stay sane during the pandemic:

Be mindful

When we use mindfulness we are present in the moment. That means really engaging in our surroundings rather than being stuck in our own heads. Our minds can be a dangerous place to be. We have our inner bully that tells us but life is scary and that things will go wrong. Our inner bully also likes to tell us about the things that we aren’t good at and how we are likely to fail. When we engage in mindfulness it quietens our inner bully. The scary thoughts are fewer and this leads to less anxiety and / or depression. Look around you and notice what you can see, here, touch , taste and smell. When you live in the moment and engage your five senses your brain has less time to focus on your worries.

Focus on things that inspire you

What brings positive energy into your life? Is it a person? Is it a place or an activity? When you know what fills you up and inspires you, make more time for that in your life. All too often we focus on things that drain us and stress us out. It’s important to balance out negative energy with positive energy by focusing our attention and things that uplift us and help us feel hopeful.

Engage in self-care

when we look after ourselves it’s a huge psychological boost. Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Spend time in nature and go for walks and treat yourself with compassion. That means putting in a bully in its place and knowing that self criticism is unhelpful and should be ignored.

Self-care also includes healthy boundaries. Ensure that you spend time with people who treat you well and if they don’t treat you well speak up for yourself. Practise assertiveness and this will also improve your mood and help you to stay sane during the pandemic. If you find that you have more time, use this precious space in your life to improve your own well being. Whether that means being more active or taking up and you course online, do something that helps you feel you are making progress.

Set yourself goals

Just because we are in a pandemic does not mean that your life has to be stagnant. Life has certainly been in limbo for many of us but that doesn’t mean you can’t set goals or work towards great ideas for the new year. For example, consider places that you would like to travel to once the travel ban is lifted. Spend time on Google researching a new business idea or spend time at the gym getting that body you’ve always wanted.

Express yourself

many of us try to cope with anxiety and depression by ourselves. Some people feel it is weak to admit they aren’t coping. Others believe that no one will care or have time for them. Reality test these limiting thoughts by reaching out and finding someone to talk to. It can be incredibly enlightening to open up about how you’re feeling and discuss this with someone else. Online counselling is widely available and might be just what you need if you feel isolated and alone. We are social creatures and we need others so don’t deny yourself that connexion.

Have fun

you can be creative and find ways to have fun even if you are stuck at home. For example, I have downloaded quite a few new games on my phone and spend time playing as it takes me away from my worries. I enjoy focusing on things that are not related to my day to day life at times and this fulfils the need. Be silly with your friends and family. The other day I came home and hid from my boyfriend it didn’t last very long and he found me but it was a good giggle. Who says you have to grow up? Life can seem very dreary and monotonous especially if you have a lot of responsibility. Finding ways to break that monotony and have a laugh can be a great stress reliever and can definitely help you stay sane during the pandemic.

I know that this has been a tough year and many people are struggling. I can only hope that 2021 will be a better year. Keep putting 1 foot in front of the other and never give up on your dreams. Sure some dreams have become almost impossible to believe but remember that change is inevitable and that life is a series of ups and downs. If your life is on a downer , the only way is up.

Keep it together, find time for fun and stay in the moment as much as possible. Dismiss those fearful thoughts as many of your worries will never come true. Thoughts are not facts so don’t believe them. I wish you all the very best and I hope you have a very happy Christmas hang in there.

Mandy X

 

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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