Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
The year is 2021 and the world has been gripped by a global pandemic that has put most of the economy and the people in the world on stand still. Whilst this may sound like an introduction to a sci fi movie, it is anything but. With so much of our lives forever changed by Coronavirus, it's difficult to see an end to it all. But despite feeling the inevitable COVID fatigue. There is not much we can do except wait it out. As I write this France has closed its borders to countries outside of the EU, Portugal and Spain have hardened their restrictions. And South Africa is still on curfew with an alcohol ban.
And whilst personally I would like nothing more than see an end to all this. I know we have about a year until things return to some sense of “normal”. So what do we do in the meantime to combat depression, anxiety and even loneliness with the ongoing global fatigue around COVID19? Here are some tips and tricks I have collected from around the web and have been trying myself.
- Find beauty in the small things: Whilst this may sound naive and even silly amidst what is going on. Taking the time to appreciate the small victories is a must; Whether it's the extra bit of time you get to spend in bed during the week instead of rushing to the office. Or the afternoon (socially distanced) stroll you take every day. what ever it is take in the moment for what it is and see the beauty in what you can still do instead of what you cannot.
- Get a virtual therapist; I have gone to my fair share of therapists and have always found them to be useful. This is especially true now when the world has come to a literal standstill and most of us are faced with an unparalleled amount of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Which is why seeking professional help is more important than ever. If you cannot afford a therapist then make use of the countless free mental health call lines and services in your country. After all, a 10 minute chat with someone is better than keeping it all in.
- Have a party: Whilst I am not advocating for throwing parties with a million strangers. I am advocating for putting the music on a bit louder and dancing around your house. Pour yourself a glass of wine (or juice) and just let loose. I cannot tell you how many times I've done this to release some much needed tension.
- Start a workout regiment: As a fan of a good sweat session. And one of those annoying people who has lost weight during confinement and the beginning of COVID, I can attest to the healing power of a good workout. Personally I like to make my goals small but still manageable. As a mom to a 10 month old this means fitting in no more than 30 minutes a day to move. Movement however doesn't only have to be in the form of a workout. But can also be a walk with your quarantine crew.
- Check in on yourself: Checking in on yourself should be a daily habit but for most of us it is the last thing we do. But now more than ever, checking in on your mental health is vital if not crucial. Keep a diary to see where you are mentally then take the appropriate steps to get emotional support you need.
- Make time for self care: If there was a time for radical self care, that time is now. Run a nice bath and read your favorite book or even watch your favorite TV show. What ever it is. Try to stay away from the news or anything that is depressing on anxiety inducing.
- Try meditation: Whilst I've personally often struggled with meditation. I know from friends who do it that it can be a big help in relieving stress and anxiety.
- Call your loved ones: This one may seem obvious. But staying in touch with those nearest and dearest is vital at this time. Whether it's for a quick chat or for an hour long zoom call.
- Go tech free: One of the reasons so many of us feel anxious and stressed is because we are constantly looking at our phones and absorbing all the good the bad and the ugly thats happening in the world. So make some time to go cellphone and computer free. Instead use the time to bake, cook, or just spend time outside.
- Pray: Recently I rediscovered the power of prayer. Nothing makes me feel less alone like a few moments of prayer.