Many people in the past days have suffered from depression or had some sort of mental health problem requiring a doctor. It is extremely important that while we stay at home during this cooronavirus pandemic, we take care of ourselves, stay healthy, positive and mentally sane.

By doing this, not only do we do good to us, but we also contribute to our community and hospitals.

I put together a list of 10 pratical tips that I have been focusing on since February 24th (day when I started my lockdown in Ital) and that help me stay healthy and cope with the current pandemic.

I hope they can be useful to you as well.

1-Stay home and contribute to your community. 

Even if our administrators have not implemented very strict measures in our area, we need to stay at home as much as possible (unless you need to go to work of course). This way we don’t run the risk of being infected or of infecting others and we help our hospitals.

2-Take good care of yourself and stay healthy and sane. If we stay healthy and sane we do good to us and we also help our hospitals as we don’t need to see a doctor.

I hear of more and more cases of people who have become depressed and need to see a doctor.

I think that food can help us stay healthy and also become less depressed if we take the time to cook recipes from scratch using our hands.

3-Help other people. Now that we all stay home, there is high risk that we become depressed, especially our parents or grandparents.

Therefore we need to call our parents, friends or relatives more often and need to make sure they are ok and are not getting depressed.

A good way to avoid depression is to do things with our hands: so we can motivate our friends and family to cook recipes that require using their hands, or to take care of the garden (if they have it), to weave or to write down a diary.

When we take care of and help others we also reduce our anxiety and fear.

4-Watch the news only once a day and it’s better to do it in the morning and not before going to sleep

5-Listen to music.

It can be very relaxing music before going to sleep. For example I like to listen to music played on the piano like this one.

In general, listening to music is very therapeutic. You can listen to opera for example and learn the different stories.

And you can also learn how to play an instrument using one of the many apps available online. Music is another language and it helps us stay mentally active.

6-Keep a diary of the little “happy” things that happen to us each day, despite everything happening outside.

Concentrating on these little things helps us think less about our fear and anxiety and appreciate more what we have.
It can be: the smell or color of a flower in our garden. The color of the sky. The call from a dear friend. A picture of a trip with inspiring friends.

Or it can be hthe joy of helping someone.
Goal of writing this diary is also that we remember these little things when we return to our hectic normal.

7-Benefit from the healing power of nature.

If you have a small garden or just plants and flower, take the time to look at the beauty of flowers and nature. Or look at the sunset or moon from your window. Or just benefit from the sun. We normally don’t take the time to observe nature.

If you don’t have a garden ( live in a flat, so I don’t have nature), look at pictures of nature trips you have done in the past. I love to look at pictures of the Dolomites mountains. Their blu and green colors are so reenergizing.

8-Learn something new each day or try something different that you normally don’t like doing.

A few days ago, for example, my mom asked me to watch our Pope’s mass on TV. I am Catholic but normally I don’t like watching mass on TV. Well, I watch the mass on TV and I felt so enriched after listening to the Pope’s speach.

Learn something new, even a small thing that does not require big effort. You can read a book and learn about other religions, a philosofer, history, …or even a new recipe.

You can also lean to play an instrument, or paint or sew! And this would be perfect as you would have a stimulus every day.

Use this time to enrich your mind.

9-Connect with friends and family, even if we can only do it online.

Happiness comes from human relationships.

Psychologist George Vaillant, summarized the findings as follows: “Happiness is love. Full stop.” People who have loving relationships with family and friends thrive; those who don’t, don’t.
We are happy when we do eye contact with other people. So let’s use Zoom, Slack, Skype etc to do eye contact with our friends and family.
10-Have a daily routine that includes: practicing physical activity at home (like yoga or pilates) or practicing meditation or a religion.

11-I have one extra point…..start writing down a list of things you will want to do when this is over.
The last thing we want is that when this ends, we simply go back to a hectic life and just keep accumulating material things.

Let’s make the most of this chance to stop and reflect on the drivers of our happiness, what matters most to us and our sense of purpose.