The month of March marks one year of the lockdown as a result of the coronavirus. The effects of the virus have been devastating for everybody for different reasons. People have suffered due to problems such as losing their jobs, isolation, loss of loved ones and triggered mental health conditions. Cases of suicides, drug and alcohol usage and domestic violence have been on the rise because of the rules that prevent people from going on about their daily lives. The absence of routine and normalcy has caused destruction is not only in our individual lives but globally. Our economy has experienced mass instability as businesses were forced to shut down. This is because the pandemic inhibited people from visiting physical stores and induced people to shop online. Firms shutting down and not paying taxes meant that less money was going to the government funds. The government having less money in their pockets meant that it would be more difficult to support disadvantaged communities. This domino effect of the virus has impacted each individual on the earth mentally, physically, and socially.

With this being said, it is incredibly important to be extra wary of your wellbeing. Neglecting your health would only lead to feelings of misery, guilt and hopelessness which is not good for anyone. So, one way you could keep yourself busy would be to get a hobby or learn a new skill. By doing so, you keep yourself entertained and investing your time in learning a new skill can end up being valuable in the future. An example of this could be picking up an instrument, teaching yourself a language or even practising a sport. All these suggestions keep your mind and body active and allow you to forget about the stressful world around you. This allows you to appreciate time with yourself and you can be surprised about things you learn about yourself along the way. You may be surprised with how much you could enjoy taking pictures of nature or performing tricks on a skateboard!

Alternatively, if you’re intimidated by the prospect of taking up something completely alien, you could start by doing small tasks like cleaning. You could set aside 20 minutes of your day to pick up a broom and sweeping your room or sliding a pair of latex gloves on your hands and get really dirty in the kitchen. By doing small, satisfying chores like this, makes you feel motivated and productive about your day. Small victories like these can really boost your morale!

Another great way to keep yourself on your feet would be to connect with nature! During the time of day when it’s sunny and bright, you could dress up and make your way to a secluded forest and breathe in the fresh, beautiful air of nature. Stepping outside in the sunlight provides a much-needed vitamin D boost, which is actually linked to improving people’s mood. Getting out of the house and going for a walk is a great way to stay active and provide a change of scenery – just make sure to stay at least 2 metres from anyone you see, obviously. Exercise is necessary for our well-being so make an effort to replace your gym visit with an at-home work-out, with squats, burpees and press-ups all achievable without equipment. It's essential to sweat every day to boost metabolism, promote better sleep and combats illnesses.

With all the overconsumption of stress-inducing media reports, it is essential to practise mindfulness and avoid content that could trigger anxiety and tension. Mindfulness is a  practice that can help the mind to better focus on what is happening in the present moment, rather than focusing on what might happen in the future. Practising mindfulness helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels, helping you to feel more at peace. Some ways you may want to practise mindfulness could be journalling, breathing exercises or yoga. I would recommend a social media detox. This may seem crazy or even scary, but confronting your digital addiction is a great way to be more present and mindful about your life. Even setting aside the first hour of your day without any gadgets can boost your mood and self-esteem. Because when you don’t check every notification on your phone, you use your time to do more meaningful activities. I personally would recommend watching a documentary called the Social Dilemma on Netflix. It will literally make you question your life, choices, opinions. It's a real eye-opener, especially for people who've always considered social media a bad influence. However, if you’re not ready to take a big step, setting a time limit on your devices is a great way to gradually build up your confidence. But in my opinion, I believe that throwing yourself into a 2 week no phone boot camp is the best way to get started.

Furthermore, you could also use this time to gain knowledge. You could do this by listening to podcasts, reading books or taking a course. There are a plethora of resources and links on the internet that could help you to do so. Not only does it stimulate your brain, but investing time and effort into consistent activities can provide you with different perspectives as it broadens your mind. Courses ranging from computer science to professional wine tasting can easily be found with one click of a button. Getting creative is great for focussing our mind and attention, it has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. 

Last but not least, not only is it important to check in with yourself, but it is also important to check in with others. Go ring your family a call. Facetime a friend you haven’t talked to and ask how they’ve been doing. A simple phone call could drastically change your mood and theirs. Unbeknownst to you, the person on the other side of the phone could be going through an incredibly upsetting situation and might need someone to talk to. Remember the saying, a friend in need is a friend indeed!

I hope you’ve found this article somewhat helpful! Take care and stay safe everybody!