Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Mental and Physical Health
It’s hard to escape COVID-19. It seems like information about the health crisis is everywhere as the world tries to make sense of this new normal and what it means for families, the economy, and the world at large. It may feel like you can’t catch a break from being inundated with information related to the health crisis.
As many of The Cigar Factory’s tenants have moved remotely, along with the rest of the world, so many things seem outside of our control. This situation can easily seem hopeless and without end. Rest assured that you’re not the only one who feels that way and there are steps you can take to alleviate some of these worries. Emotional health and wellbeing is often something that’s neglected when there’s not a pandemic — turning your attention inward could be just the key you need to set your mind at ease during troubling times.
Control the Controllable
One of the main reasons panic ensues is because it’s easy to let thoughts snowball into an uncontrollable mess of nerves and worries. This isn’t good for anyone and is a direct route to a panic attack. While the seriousness of the health crisis is not to be understated, there is little you can do about the current state of things — pay attention to what you can do to alleviate anxiety.
So, what can you do?
Beyond adhering to practices advised by prominent health organizations, like the WHO or CDC, such as social distancing and staying indoors whenever possible, there are other techniques you can turn to that allow you to focus your care inward. After all, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.
Have you ever considered mindfulness techniques? Mindfulness has deep roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, but its techniques can be practiced in everyday life while doing everyday things. You may have heard Thích Nhất Hạnh’s famous example about practicing mindfulness while doing the dishes? He says “while washing the dishes, one should only be washing the dishes”, which is the perfect summation for practicing mindfulness in general. It’s all about focusing completely on the task at hand. Why? Simply to stop your thoughts from snowballing, to keep you grounded and focused while you traverse a stressful landscape. This technique may sound simple, but you might be surprised at how effective it can be.
Limit Media Consumption
While it may be tempting to stay on top of the news, it could very well be what’s bringing you down. It’s good to stay informed, but try limiting your consumption of news and media during this time. When you do tune in to the news, keep it only to informed sources, like Dr. Fauci and the NIH, and limit your consumption to twice a day. Try implementing this strategy by checking the news once in the morning and then again in the evening. Choose times that work for you, but do your best to only check during those times.
Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Now that many people are working remotely, the temptation to work longer hours may be stronger as it helps take your mind off things. However, your fun gauge will suffer, and with it, your mental wellbeing. Consider designating a specific area of your living space for work — preferably a separate room where you can close the door, cutting yourself off from the work world — and maintain a regular schedule.
Have a solid beginning and cut-off time for work, reserving time in the evening for hobbies and activities to give your mind a break. Do a quick yoga session, cook your favorite dish, or watch a show you’ve been meaning to catch up on — anything that makes you feel happy and rejuvenated.
Feeling disconnected from friends and family? Consider setting up a virtual activity — even if it’s just virtual dinner and/or drinks — one night in an effort to regain some normalcy and connection.
We Are In This Together
While we’re not all in the same boat, we are all in this situation together. If you are struggling with this new normal, you are certainly not alone. Try practicing the above techniques and reach out to your support network. This network can include your co-workers and superior(s); don’t be afraid to reach out if you find yourself needing more professional support, whether that be about work flow, morale, or concerns about deadlines. It is all about teamwork now more than ever.
Most importantly, remember that this situation will have an end and all you can do is your part, which includes taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing.