Now, more than ever, we should all be thinking about our mental health.
The coronavirus pandemic — as well as the economic consequences of it — has created a lot of stress and uncertainty for many different people. And, it’s during these times that it’s most important to make your mental health a priority.
How to Protect Your Mental Health During Coronavirus
#1. Don’t binge the news.
The pandemic is just one of many things going on right now, and suffice it to say, there’s no shortage of news out there. History is happening around us every minute, and thanks to 24-hour cable news and the internet, you could watch and read about it happening all day, every day. But, that doesn’t mean that you should.
Everyone needs a break from the news every now and then. With everything going on, it’s all too easy for the weight of the world to start weighing you down. Schedule time out of your day to catch up on events, and take a break from the news the rest of the time.
#2. Take care of your physical health.
Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, so make sure to schedule out some time each day to focus on physical fitness. Fitness centers may or may not be open in your community, but even if they’re closed, you can still get in a great workout from home.
Don’t worry so much about trying to get in a gym-quality workout every day. If you want to keep up with that at home, it’s entirely possible (and more power to you), but if going on a walk or doing a gentle yoga workout is the most you can bring yourself to do, know it’s far better than doing nothing. A little movement a day is a great start.
#3. Do something to give back, if possible.
There’s not a lot the average person can do about the murder hornets, the economic downturn, or the coronavirus pandemic, and everything going on right now can easily make you feel helpless. But, there’s a lot you can do in your community to support those around you. Here are a few ideas of ways you can help:
- Give blood – Blood banks across the country have had to cancel blood drives due to the pandemic, and many are in need of donations.
- Make masks – The CDC recommends that everyone wears a mask in public places where six feet of distance can be maintained. Making masks to donate to people in your community is easy and fun; you don’t even have to know how to sew!
- Donate – More and more people are relying on local food banks right now, as well as many other nonprofit organizations. A donation of even $5 can go a long way.
#4. Stay connected to the people you love.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean severing the connections you have with the people you love, and it shouldn’t. Make it a point to talk to the ones you love on a regular basis. If you can’t bring yourself to do yet another Zoom call, you can always do an old-fashioned phone call or even take a socially distanced walk with them.
Human beings are social animals and need other people in their lives. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to stay connected while still social distancing. You may just have to be a little more creative.
#5. Maintain your routine as much as possible.
Normal is the last thing most of us are feeling right now, and one of the best ways to re-establish a little normalcy during all of this craziness is to try to maintain a routine of some sort.
You may be working or studying from home, or maybe not at all. You may be in the midst of the last few weeks of your child’s school year from home, or you may be wondering how you’re going to keep them busy this summer without summer camps or sports. Whatever your situation, build a routine around it.
#6. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
If your Instagram feed is anything like mine, it’s full of beautiful loaves of bread, fabulous artwork, and impressive DIY projects. As Americans, most of us are not used to having endless amounts of free time on our hands, and there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to do something — to write the next great American novel, perhaps, or to organize every square inch of our homes, or transform into Arnold Schwarzenegger. But, if you don’t feel motivated right now, that’s OK.
In fact, it’s perfectly natural not to feel especially creative, motivated, or productive right now. If you can’t focus, it’s not a failure on your part. Take it easy on yourself, be patient, and give yourself license to take a break.
#7. Get outside help when you need it.
If you’re feeling lonely, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or you just need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to seek out mental health services near you. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to see a therapist or counselor in person, but most are more than happy to talk with you over the phone or via Zoom or Google Hangouts.
#8. Know that this too shall pass.
We may not know how long this pandemic will go on for, but we do know that it will not go on forever. When everything starts to feel like it’s too much, think of that old Persian adage, “This too shall pass.”
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