COVID DIARY: DAY 47, Mental Health

The rot is starting to settle in. We’re into our eight week of the lockdown. We’ve had the most deaths in Europe (clearly herd immunity was the wrong way to go). Its at this stage that people are going to start displaying mental health issues induced by isolation.

Even the most antisocial person needs some human contact. We thrive off of it. The more human contact we have, the more neural connections develop in our heads. We are starting to realise that even Zoom, Teams and WhatsApp video calls are poor placeholders for actual face to face interactions. That is why I engage the postman and any delivery person that knocks on my door in conversation. Why we relish any opportunity to reach out and converse with passers-by.

One method of warding off mental health issues is build in good routines into your day. Get up on time and avoid the temptation to languish in bed for a few hours. Have breakfast and a little walk around your garden or balcony. Spend an hour on active learning, something that wiser men then me have recommended for over a century. Building a habit like that will help develop your knowledge and skills now but will also benefit you long term. An active mind now will hold dementia at bay in later life.

Prepare and eat regular meals. Making food from scratch is cheaper than buying ready meals. It’s therapeutic for the mind, and provides more wholesome and nutritious food. Plus with all that time on your hands you don’t really have an excuse.

If you are working from home have a set start and finish time with scheduled breaks. I have caught myself working longer hours because I don’t have fixed class times at the moment.

Build in regular exercise into your days. YouTube has a host of exercise videos that literally has something for everyone. If you are fasting, I recommend pilates. It’s low impact and you don’t really need any equipment. Exercise also has long term benefits. Working out now banks better mobility for later life.

Also take time out for your spiritual wellbeing and mindfulness. Again, if you are fasting, spend an hour a day on reading from the Quran.

Go to sleep on time. Nothing throws your body clock off kilter than staying up late and sleeping in during the morning.

Follow this advice and you are guaranteed better mental health. Unless of course you’ve been abducted by aliens, in which case you better hope Captain Marvel rescues you before the probing starts.

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