Destressing During Coronavirus
Elinor Jones suggests some of her tried and tested methods for tackling isolation induced stress
As the world has plunged into lockdown, now, more than ever, it is pertinent to ensure complete physical, mental and social wellbeing in order to come out the other side of this as well as you possibly can. However, this is easier said than done in a time of crisis, with limited contact with friends and family, little or no chance to get out of the house and significant changes to your daily routine. I am, in some way, fortunate to have experienced ‘lockdown’ before, having been pretty much housebound for 8 months when I was 14 (plus due to a flare up recently I’ve been ultimately social distancing in the last few months) and I want to share any tips I’ve picked up in order to cope during this challenging time.
Having a routine, whilst it may sound mundane, is actually really helpful for maintaining aspects of regular life, even if that seems like a distant time. If you are well and not needing to isolate due to symptoms or vulnerable people in your household, try and get out for a brisk walk, even for 20 minutes, at the beginning of your day. This will boost your serotonin and stabilise your body clock, often affected by stress. If you are in quarantine and well enough to exercise, there are many ways to stay active, such as yoga tutorials on Instagram, P.E with Joe Wicks or more creative methods like skipping or using your stairs as your gym.
Alongside this, set a morning schedule (or whatever your regular time of waking up) that is similar to a regular university day. Whether this is having breakfast, putting on a coordinated outfit or makeup, or having a shower, do whatever makes you feel like your day is beginning.
Whatever you are up to for the remainder of the day, it is important to have at least one thing planned each day to look forward to. Whilst this is easier said than done given the current climate, this something should be small but meaningful, without expensive financial or energy cost. For me, planning video calls with friends and family members is essential for me, although sometimes rural internet connection prevents me from doing so. Other days I look forward to reading a few pages of my book, something I rarely give myself time to do. Tonight, I’m looking forward to watching new episodes of TV programmes my parents and I are watching together.
I urge you to stop comparing yourself to anyone else
These may be simple ideas but sometimes they seem impossible, and that is fine. One of the negatives of current social media is a constant bombardment of self-isolation activities that people are undertaking, such as learning a new language, cleaning their house from top-to-bottom or reading an entire stack of books, and I urge you to avoid comparing yourself to anyone else. Some days you might be able to read a whole book or complete an assignment, other days you will be in utter despair, anxious about loved ones or your own health, and some days will be somewhere in between. I hope you can find some comfort in this time of need.