Needless to say, there’s a wide array of emotions at play with all that’s going on in the world right now. Many are worried about COVID-19, as well as what it will mean for the economy and labour market. Some are having to learn new tools and routines that best enable them to work from home. And in most cases, people are being confined to their homes with family members, children, or roommates who have their own work or school demands. While all of this can take a toll on your mental health, we’ve got some tips to help protect you during this challenging time.

Recognize the impact
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re still struggling to adjust with working from home. Now you’re surrounded by different distractions that you wouldn’t encounter at work, especially if you’re living with others who are also trying to work, get schooling done, or are lounging about. As a result, this is not the time to expect perfection. Try to be as patient as possible while you adjust to the new normal and figure out how to work effectively from home.

Listen to your needs
Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, self-isolation can have unexpected drawbacks for both personality types. If you’re someone who craves being around others, you may find it hard working from home as you’re lacking that in-person connection. On the other hand if you’re someone who needs privacy to feel recharged, being at home with your family 24/7 can be challenging if it’s not the environment you’re used to.

If you’re feeling isolated or lonely, try using group chats, video conferences, and frequent phone calls to help with the connection you need. In contrast if you’re someone who values your alone time, it’s important to discuss this with your family so you can work that into your schedule. No matter your personality type though, it’s also important to pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day so you can schedule breaks as needed.

Be mindful of your news consumption
With so much uncertainty going on, it’s natural to want to stay on top of any updates. While there’s no denying the importance of staying informed, you should also be mindful as to how much news you’re actually consuming. Given the overwhelming nature of COVID-19, being engrossed in the 24-hour news cycle we live in can negatively impact your mental well-being. Rather than obsessively checking the news every hour, disable any news alerts on your phone while committing to watching, listening or reading up on the news from reliable sources only a couple times of day. Also try to balance out your news consumption by seeking uplifting stories of people preserving and coming together in times of crisis for a positive mood-lifter.

Maintain healthy habits
While joking about binge eating and drinking your way through isolation is all good and fun, you should still be mindful about trying to maintain healthy habits during this time. It can be as simple as staying hydrated, getting some light exercise and fresh air, eating balanced meals, and avoiding too much alcohol or sugar. These small healthy habits have been proven to have a positive impact on mental health. If you want to take things a step further, gratitude practice, yoga, mediation, and deep breathing exercises are great additions to any mental health routine.