Whether you are working remotely from home or coming to work each day, lockdown can create stress and a sense of isolation as you are not seeing family and close friends. 

“There is plenty of advice regarding how you can keep your body fit during this time but we hear very little on managing one’s mental health. People are worried about elderly parents being infected and family who have lost their jobs or businesses. Then there’s those much-anticipated events such as birthdays, engagements and weddings which have been cancelled. Home-schooling children as well as trying to keep up with your work at home is stressful on its own. For many, COVID-19 and lockdown has created tremendous mental challenges”, says HR’s Juvena Rhodes. 

For people already struggling with mental illness such as depression, the situation can soon escalate into hospitalisation if not managed correctly. And hospital is the last place that you want to be right now. 

“If you suffer from depression (or you know people with this condition), it is very important to stick to the prescribed medication. If you are receiving counselling, you need to stay with the programme. Public and private practice facilities are still there for you. Pharmacies are open to fill scripts. Importantly, many psychiatrists and GP’s now consult using video or telehealth facilities so you can stay safe by not physically visiting the practice”.  

For those just struggling with the grind, stress and angst of lockdown, here are some tips to manage your mental health:

  • Exercise and go for that walk you’ve been thinking about, even if it is just around the block.
  • It’s a great time to eat junk but look at ways to eat healthier.
  • Try to develop a daily routine, much as you would in the office.
  • Focus on what you CAN do rather than what you cannot do.
  • Don’t spend the whole day on your phone reading about COVID – rather update yourself once a day.
  • Avoid fake news – it just heightens stress and angst.
  • Get excited when it’s Friday – Saturday and Sunday cannot just be another day. Break your routine.
  • Stay connected with family and friends. Zoom, Skype and Mobile for long and lazy video chats. WhatsApp and Messenger to have quick bursts of conversation.
  • Accept that the world is changing around you and resolve to be part of the change. Fighting change drains one.
  • Take your prescribed medication, whatever that may be. Stay out of hospital if you can help it.

“One would think that lockdown could be near its end but it is very difficult to predict. Even if it does end, the stress of COVID-19 will continue for some time to come. It is very important to work on managing stress and keeping our minds healthy”.