The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly effected the lives of everyone around the globe, and with a second UK-lockdown looming, it is likely that household tensions will rise once more. Whether financial strains, worries over physical health, or the emotional impact of feeling trapped indoors, depression and anxiety seem to have gone hand in hand with a crisis such as this. So how can you deal with your hormones and keep emotional outbursts at bay during the quarantine period?
1. Set a routine. Even if you don’t have a set schedule to adhere to, it can be extremely helpful to structure your day with some kind of routine – paying particular attention to activities you did before lockdown that you are still able to keep up with, so the change doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Used to always get a takeaway with friends on a Friday night? Try scheduling it in over Zoom. Saturday football matches with Dad no longer possible? Try thinking of another activity (maybe a similar one, such as watching a match on TV, playing a football-related video game, etc) that you can still do together during this time.
2. Embrace technology. That doesn’t mean spending 8 hours a day scrolling through Instagram, but use apps like WhatsApp and Zoom to stay connected with loved ones and stave-off lockdown loneliness, which can have a dramatic effect on your mood.
3. Remember we’re all in it together. With everything going on, it can be easy to forget the pandemic is affecting anyone besides us, but by communicating and working together life can be made easier for all. Spend time talking to friends and family and creating positive experiences where possible, be mindful of the mood you are putting out (emotions can be infectious) and try helping others where you can (maybe offering to cook dinner or help with the cleaning).
4. Stick to healthy habits. Diet and exercise have a big impact on hormone levels and mood swings, so try and aim for balanced meals and regular exercise.
5. Occupy your time. With no work, school or social outings to go to, it may seem that the only option is to sit around all day doing nothing, but this will get old fast and will surely lead to boredom-induced stress and anxiety. Utilise this time to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby that you otherwise wouldn’t have the time to do.
6. Listen to music – a sure-fire way to release feel-good hormones and boost your mood!
7. Prioritise self-care. Whether it be running a long bubble bath, meditating, keeping a diary to express worries and concerns, or spending some time with a pet, it is important to make time for yourself and learn to manage stress and hormones in a calm and healthy way.
8. Avoid stress triggers. Whether it’s constant news stories about Covid-19 making you anxious, family conversation topics that always become heated, or thinking too much about the future, try to avoid things that you are aware cause you negative feelings and try not to sweat the small stuff.
9. If you feel like your emotions and hormones are becoming too much, and you think a serious mental health concern may be developing, seek some professional help, support or advice. Your GP will be available to listen, or you can look for advice from mental health charities such as Mind.
10. Remember that this will pass. It may seem like the situation is never-ending, but all of these changes and upsets are only temporary, and things will get better. Try to stay positive.