Mindfulness: The master key to mental wellness during the COVID-19 lockdown

Having worked for causes like gender sensitivity, children and women welfare and human trafficking, I am an activist committed to spreading awareness on the significance of mental health

COVID-19, what havoc the deadly virus has created!  It is a crisis that has affected every aspect of our lives. Everybody seems to be putting up a positive and spirited fight against the fatal pandemic. However, as the situation worsens with each passing day, one is likely to feel anxious, confused, overwhelmed and powerless. These feelings of distress can occur even if you are not at a high risk of getting sick.

Mindfulness and being considerate towards your mental wellness should be the way to live

Hence, during these difficult times, it is important to take care of your mental health. Mindfulness and being considerate towards your mental wellness should be the way to live and can be summed up as follows:

1. Work on your anticipations and apprehensions:

Firstly, accept the fact that this pandemic will bring some difficulties with cognitive and emotional overload. Distraction, lack of concentration and low motivation may take some time to deal with.

Go easy on yourself. As we settle into this new lifestyle of work from home and isolation, we need to set realistic goals for others and ourselves.

2. Work on your lifestyle to reduce stress:

Sleep Well – For your good mental health and well-being, prioritize your sleep. Maintain a routine around your wake-up time and practice sleep hygiene. Those who have been compromising on their nap due to their hectic lifestyles, now is the time to regulate it.

Eat Right – Be conscious of staying away from smoking, alcohol and other substances. It is potentially damaging as it affects your immunity.

Exercise – It will lower your stress levels, help you to better regulate your emotions and improve your sleep.

Planned Routine – Structure helps to manage anxiety and will help you adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your mental space.

4. Work on your interests: Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related; find something that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help you maintain clarity of thoughts.

5. Work on your red flags

Identify key thoughts and physical sensations that contribute to your chain of distress and feelings of being overwhelmed. There is not much that we can control, but we can keep a check on the way we talk to ourselves i.e. our internal dialogue during these challenging times. It can either provide us with a buffer or magnify our distress. Understand that this pandemic will cause stress to many of us. Hence, one cannot be their best selves all the time.

Thoughts Feelings Physical Sensation Behaviour
Why can’t I concentrate Frustration, worry, sadness  Tension, upset stomach, jitters Compulsively checking the latest COVID statistics

Each of these amplifies the negative emotional spirals. Break the chain and you will benefit.

6. Do Connect:

Though we are all in social isolation, we need not feel alone. We all have a need to connect with others for our mental as well as our physical health. Find out virtual forums, such as online book clubs, where you can contribute and participate in positive conversations. Make a call to friends, families and reach out to those who might be particularly isolated.  

Remember to be compassionate with yourself and with others! Do not hesitate to ask for help or reach out when someone asks for help.

7. Work on your mind:

Stay in the present. Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control. Mindfulness and meditation can be helpful to reduce physical symptoms and enhance wellbeing.

Use voluntary breathing – breathe in for counts of two, hold for two, breathe out for two. Repeat by increasing the count and the number of cycles to relax.

8. Work on your behaviours:

There is a common belief that it takes 21 days to break an old habit and form a new one. We have a 21-day lock down to break the spread of COVID-19 and eventually bring back the healthy times for our country.

Let us use this opportunity to not only defeat Corona but also work on habits that we always wanted to get rid of or change and adopt a new one.

Let us choose to work on either

  1. A behaviour that you want to get rid of in these 21 days.
  2. A behaviour that you want to inculcate in these 21 days. 

Which habit are you going to choose? The only challenge here is that you are not supposed to step out of the house; the only condition is self-regulation i.e. dedication. Happy beginning!

I hope that we will utilise this stressful time to improve our personal growth by embracing good mental health and well-being strategies. By asking for help when required, we can, not only protect ourselves but also those around us.

The writer is Psychologist (Counsellor), Student Health Services, UPES.


  1. Hello veena mam, your encouraging thoughts and words surely helped me in streamlining my thoughts and emotions during this lockdown period and will also greatly help those to whom I will forward this blog.

  2. Thanks and congratulations to Dr. Veena whom I knew for more than 10 years as a perfect clinical Psychologist. Her approach towards all strata of the society is commendable.
    Her this blog should be read by all and should practice in this national trying time.

    1. Hello mam,
      Perfect article to motivate us to explore something new and getting rid of something that we were postponing by giving reasons like lack of time in our busy lives.. we can Use this lockdown period to connect to our inner selves by being more mindful. And as always mam this article is also a perfect example of your wisdom with which u have helped and guided countless people .

      1. Hey suramya , pleasure seeing you here .
        yeah i must agree with you that this is the time to nurture the spirit of mindfulness.

  3. A very good & informative article on COVID-19 It covers all the aspects , as to how to deal & take precautions in these times.

    1. Veena JI, very informative. We all need to refer to your advice n stay balanced at this testing times. God is very kind as almighty created clinical psychologist to help mankind. Very difficult job with lot of responsibilities . Handling other people’s emotions n showing the way n helping to join the main stream is extremely challenging.U r mentally very strong. God bless u n your family with health n happiness, always. With my personal regards, always Harish

      1. Very well written … Informative and instructive as well… For keeping mental as well as physical health fit. Veena ma’am, wonderful human being and amazing clinical psychologist… Your words always have marked an impression of your wisdom and guided me. Thankyou ma’am… Wishes good health for you and your family. Regards

  4. Very well articulated practical tips to ensure your emotional well being during Corona’ times! Being conscious of our thoughts and actions will help us tackle the situation on a personal level.

  5. It’s a beautifully written compact guide to well being in these challenging times. One can not only stay mentally fit by following these ideas but also lay a strong foundation for self exploration & balanced growth.

  6. That’s a very well written content ma’am. Helpful not only for those who have anxiety issues and recurring depression attacks but also for normal people who may tend to suffer from the aforesaid due to boredom and monotony created by this virus.
    Breathing exercises and running are spot on.
    Always doing a great job ma’am. Very proud of you. Cheers.

  7. Hi Veena.A beautiful and very motivating article.You are a godsend to us in these trying times.You have brought so much positivity in our lives.May God shower you with all his blessings.

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