The coronavirus pandemic has indeed taken a toll on people, communities, even cities and countries as a whole, upending all normalcy in life, damaging economies and jobs, besides burdening healthcare workers.

Currently, leaders across the globe have announced total and complete lockdowns in their countries, urging the majority of the workforce to continue doing their jobs from home as much as possible, as well as to practice social distancing, i.e. staying at least 1 to 2 meters away from any other person at all times. Frequent washing of hands and disinfecting of surfaces has been recommended, all public places where people gather in large groups including restaurants, bars, theatres, beaches, parks have downed their shutters, with only essential goods and services being allowed to function in this challenging phase. The simple reason for these extreme decisions being, coronavirus disease spreads rapidly to a healthy individual while coming in direct contact with an infected person or the surfaces encountered by afflicted people, by means of the lethal n-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus, suspended in air droplets.

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In India, with a massive population of over 1.3 billion people, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, in an address to the nation on March 24, has strictly advised citizens to “stay home for the next 21 days or go back 21 years” to contain the spread of COVID-19, the deadly disease triggered by SARS-CoV-2 viral infection.

While physically, life as we know it has come to a standstill for people all over the world, disturbing scenarios like the current lockdown period can be stressful on the mind as well.

At a time when regular social interactions such as meeting with friends and relatives at home or outside are entirely prohibited, the mental functioning of the brain does tend to get affected, whether we like to admit it or not. Human beings are, in essence, social animals, who seek constant interaction, attention, in addition to physical and emotional bonding. When opportunities for such associations are completely lacking, stress levels invariably go up, with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and negative feelings such as fear, nervousness,  despair arising in people of all ages. Also Read: Depression: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Mental Health During Coronavirus Lockdown

However, inculcating self-discipline in adults and children in every household, coupled with motivating messages, go a long way in despondent times like these, to help keep spirits up and ensure the enhanced functioning of the mind.

And in case you’re wondering how to cope on a psychological level during the lockdown, to eventually get past these testing times and emerge healthy and happy, look no further. Here are some simple yet highly effective ways to fruitfully engage the mind and keep all signs of mental illness at bay.

5 Ways To Stay Mentally Alert During The Coronavirus Lockdown:

Follow A Daily Routine

Under usual circumstances, a set sequence of things to do, places to be, tasks to finish, all provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose, once everything gets done at the end of the day. But in the current scenario, with adults working from home and schools closed down for kids, getting through an entire day with a basic amount of regularity can be quite an ordeal. 

Nevertheless, routines, as boring as they can be, actually preserve sanity in the brain and promote rational thinking in the mind. Try to follow a daily regime, not just on weekdays but even on the weekends, that bears a close resemblance to the one you were following before the lockdown.

Exercise Even While At Home

Doctors, nutritionists, why even our grandparents and elderly well-wishers have constantly reminded us of how crucial daily physical activity is, to keep the cogs of the complex mental machinery that is the human brain, well-oiled and functioning at its best. And agreed, that having to stay within the confines of one’s home certainly offers very limited space unlike in the gym and no open-air surroundings to enjoy a stroll amidst nature or a jog in the park. 

Although it may seem difficult at first, make an effort to workout every day at home, encouraging your family members to join in as well. High-intensity workouts like Tabata training and aerobics can easily be practiced in your own house, which immensely fortify bones and muscles, besides improving blood circulation to the brain. Merely 15 minutes of exercise every day improves metabolism, facilitates digestion, augments heart health, aside from enhancing concentration and productivity.

Tidy Up Your Surroundings

Now that the lockdown is enforced universally, every individual has some more time on their hands, as they don’t have to travel to and from work, hang out with friends on the weekend or visit an exotic locale for the summer vacation. While having to cancel all plans for the next month or two can be rather disappointing, utilising the extra hours to redo your own abode is a great stress-buster. 

Organize your books, closets, jewellery and donate things you no longer need. You can also rearrange the furniture in the living room, meticulously arrange your kitchen cabinets, spruce up the indoors with bright, colourful posters and paintings of serene milieus, in addition to placing some potpourri and aromatic candles on the coffee table. Decluttering the area where you will be living, working, eating and sleeping, basically spending every second round the clock, works wonders to calm the mind. 

Breathe, Sit Quiet, Meditate

Meditation has been proven by scientific research to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and significantly stimulate brain activity. Simply sitting quietly, letting go of any disturbing thoughts and focusing on deep breathing is a time-tested proven method of uplifting mood, improving memory and enriching intellectual capabilities. Also Read: Modern Meditation Techniques For Mental And Emotional Well-Being

Stay Connected With Community

Yes, social distancing is a must in these challenging times of coronavirus spreading rapidly from an infected person to a healthy individual. In spite of the challenges, try to engage in community activities through technology. Create WhatsApp groups with like-minded people and discuss books, movies, play music or come up with ways to spend time positively and creatively. This helps you feel the basic human connection of social bonding and instills positive thoughts in the mind.