Counsellor Sarah Barr shares advice on keeping up with routine, relaxation and responsibilities during Covid-19.

This is a really challenging time for everyone. We have our good days, and our not so good days. Many people will be feeling lonely, isolated and disconnected from the outside world.

Some of the feelings you may feel due to self-isolating are:

• restlessness
• decreased motivation
• irritability
• hopelessness
• sleep problems
• lack of patience
• anxiety
• stress.

Finding ways to distract your mind and occupy your time can help lessen some of these negative feelings.

Below is a few suggestions that may be helpful:

1. Fresh air

Time spent in nature is good for your mental health. It boosts your cognitive function, improves your mood and lowers stress levels.
If getting outdoors isn’t an option, you could try opening up your windows to let the fresh air in.

2. Routine

A lack of routine can cause disruptions in eating, sleeping, and mood. To keep a sense of structure, try to create a daily routine that consists of work or house projects, mealtimes, workout time, and downtime in the evening.

3. Socialise

We can still “meet up” with family and friends, just in a different way.
FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype are brilliant resources to use to chat with your friends, family and loved ones. Face-to-face calls can keep you in contact with the outside world.

Connecting with others who are in a similar situation can also help you feel that you’re not alone.

4. Me time

Parents have responsibilities to children, partners have responsibilities to one another. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any time on your own. We all need a break sometimes, to recharge.

5. Downtime

Remember, you don’t have to be achieving a goal or learning a new skill every day. Give yourself some time to rest and relax. This will help you to balance and maintain your emotional health.

Isolation isn’t a natural state for many people. Staying at home is difficult, yet we are doing it for a reason. It is so important that we do this for our families, friends and communities.

Finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help lower feelings of isolation and restlessness.

However if you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you’re experiencing. Together, you can overcome the feelings and anxiety.

Take Care, Sarah.