3 ways to stay calm during the pandemic

Practising mindfulness focuses thoughts on the here and now, helping to detach one from anxiety about the future. (Rawpixel pic)

With the current coronavirus pandemic and all the social distancing and self-isolation measures it has brought, many people may be feeling stressed and concerned about their health.

It is important to take care, not only of the physical health but also one’s mental well-being and not let concern turn into damaging levels of stress.

There is a range of products and practices that can help maintain calm during the pandemic, alleviate anxiety, promote relaxation and, ultimately, protect mental health and well-being.

1. Practise mindfulness

One of the major concerns that comes with anxiety is the fear of a future threat. Severe anxiety can lead to catastrophic thoughts of the future that can cause significant damage to mental health and overall well-being.

Practising mindfulness focuses thoughts on the here and now, helping to detach one from anxiety about the future by existing solely in the present.

There is a range of apps that can help in the practice of mindfulness, helping to promote calm and relaxation that can transform the experience of the lockdown.

2. Optimise the living area

People all over the world are spending a lot of time at home, and the environment can have a significant impact on mental and general well-being. Therefore, it is important to create a space that is enjoyable and relaxing to live in.

There are many simple ways to optimise one’s living space. Open the curtains to invite natural light in. Keep the place clean and tidy. Light scented candles and play calming music during the evening.

Making the home an oasis of calm can ease stress. (Rawpixel pic)

Invest in comfortable furniture. Pillows and throws can also help optimise the living area for relaxation. Weighted blankets can alleviate stress and anxiety and promote relaxation.

They provide the brain with proprioceptive input (sensations from joints, muscles and connective tissues that underlie body awareness) to help it better understand the body’s surroundings, preventing agitation and stress.

Weighted blankets provider Calming Blankets said it has seen a surge in enquiries for its products during the pandemic.

“Everyone is at home now and sitting on the sofa or in bed and anxiety is taking its toll. Uncertainty over work, finances and health is affecting daily stress and sleep levels. People have been quick to order calming blankets and the feedback has been positive.”

3. Stay connected to loved ones

While visiting family and friends may not be encouraged at the moment, it is important to stay in touch with those closest to you — by phone, through messaging or video calls.

Staying connected to loved ones helps keep the spirits up and promotes well-being.

Staying connected is good for everyone, calming anxiety on all sides. UK mental health charity Mind said, “In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.”

With so many suffering from mental health issues, even before the Covid-19 health crisis began, staying connected and checking in with friends and family may be more important now than ever before.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg and host of The DRH Show. You can connect with him on Twitter @drelojo_howell