Even though life has become vastly different from what it was before due to Covid-19, what can we learn from this experience as we walk on the journey to recovery ?
Here are 3 things I have learnt and applied in the past 2 months to keep myself accountable in maintaining my mental wellness.
Since the global pandemic was announced due to Covid-19, life turned upside down for me and my family. Working from home became the new normal, sports and recreation facilities became a luxury of the past and leaving the house is limited to necessity. At the same time, it opened up an opportunity like never before to spend time with family in a new way, try new things to cook and spend lots more time with myself. I see this new reality as a gift. Like pressing a reset button, things slowed down, and the slower pace of life gave me the opportunity to look closely at my life and recovery journey.
Stick to a routine of what works
By necessity of the threat posed by Covid-19, and the potential to get infected by the virus, I take personal responsibility to practice safety measures like social distancing, minimizing contact with non-family members I live with, so as to reduce all risk of exposure to the virus as much as possible.
Similarly, I have to take personal responsibility for my mental health- by taking the actions that I know are good for me. These are from discussions in therapy that I have come up with to take care of my needs for getting enough rest, relaxation and personal space, as well as managing stressful situations.
Staying positive amidst listening to news of rising infection numbers around the world wasn’t easy. My solution: shut out or minimize listening to the news. What’s happening around the world is not within my control and neither am I going to receive an award or prize money for being the most knowledgeable up-to-date person on the various statistics. Therefore, to minimize the worry, anxiety and stress, I choose to focus only on what I can control.
In one of my therapy sessions, we discussed how things in my life weren’t going the way I planned and it causes me a lot of stress. She introduced to me the concept that in life, 80% is within our control and 20% isn’t but dependent on outside factors (such as chance if you may).
I remind myself to stay positive and that as long as I do my best in the areas I can control such as taking actions to the best of my ability, speaking my truth in being honest with the people I care about how I feel and ask for help when I need it, I am alright. The remainder 20% I can’t control such as how others will react to my actions and words, whether they take it positively or not, is really not within my control and no matter how much I stress or get anxious over it, it really doesn’t change anything.
Stick To A Routine Of What Works
As our country was on “lockdown” with a fancy name “Circuit Breaker”, we were essentially told to stay home. Having lots of time on hand and more freedom in working hours (shhh don’t tell my boss) also came with temptations to deviate from my daily routine. Old habits like staying up till the wee hours of the morning to catch up on television drama and netflix, snacking on chips and instant noodles, lazing in pyjamas the whole day and not showering for 2 days crept in.
Instead of letting these unhealthy habits take over my life and continue to spiral downhill into depression, I took control of my situation. Personal responsibility is essential to see improvement in the recovery process and I put my pre-lockdown self care activities back on high on my priority.
What are my self care activities?
1.Move my body and sweat it out
My usual exercise studios are closed and so instead of exercising regularly 2 to 3 times a week, I was only exercising once a week at best. I joined virtual exercise classes to sweat it out and I could feel the empowerment and confidence in my body coming back to me.
I still feel like i come most alive after midnight and my downfall is getting too excited when it’s meant to be bedtime. I keep to my night time wind down schedule as best as I can. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier said than done holding a full-time job and building a startup business.
3.Track My Mood
Most important of all, I make sure to record in my mood journal diligently every night. It only takes 2 minutes and has been the constant in my day to go inward and reflect on my day. It’s my time just for me where I am reminded to go easy on myself when things are hard, because I am still recovering. I am reminded of my desire and need to take actions that prioritize my mental health over everything else that goes on around me. I am reminded that I am human and it’s ok to feel what I feel.
I really like seeing how my life and daily moods are forming a colorful picture and I look forward to seeing the completed art piece at the end of the month. It brings me comfort seeing that my moods are fluid and that each day is filled with a different color. Days that felt really sucky and shitty have passed and I made it through the yuck.
I like how Mood Potatoes app makes it so easy for me to keep track of my moods.
If you haven't already, download it for free here to improve your mental wellness in less than 5 minutes a day.
If you are struggling and find it overwhelming on your journey, join the Mood Trackers Community Facebook Group. It’s a supportive community of people who believe in the importance of mental wellness and have experienced the benefits of tracking their moods.
Join us as we uplift each other, celebrate your success and be there as a peer. Let's walk together on this journey and track our moods together.