There’s a lot of advice being offered right now about how to keep yourself physically healthy during the coronavirus pandemic such as washing your hands, and practicing social distancing. But managing mental health during this time is just as vital to your overall well-being. So while it is happening, take steps to address your psychological well-being as well. If you’re not proactive about taking care of your mind and emotions during this time, you may notice a decline in mental health. Despite ongoing uncertainty of the situation, take small steps every day to address your emotional needs.
Get Physically Active
Research clearly shows that physical activity is a vital component of good mental health. Consider how you can still get exercise right now, and incorporate it into your daily routine. You can find plenty of at-home workout programs that will help you stay active. There are many free apps, videos, and fitness communities that can help you exercise if you don’t have any equipment. Depending on where you live—as well as on the current laws and recommendations in your area—you may be able to get outside to exercise as well. If it’s safe to do so, go for a walk or run on some trails.
Maintain Social Connections
Even when you can’t physically be around people, you can still remain connected to friends, family, and community.
- Use social media to chat with relatives and friends
- Post supportive comments, pictures, and content on your social sites
- Schedule regular video chats with friends, family members, and co-workers
- Send mail to your loved ones. A card, handwritten letter, or small note can do a lot to lift other people’s spirits
- Join online forums and groups that allow you to speak to people in your community
- Be supportive of others who may need social connection
You may find solace in connecting with your loved ones or even strangers during this time. And there are many ways to reach out and get connected. If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, look for online groups who are currently supporting one another. You might find these groups through social media or online forums.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Although things may feel really stressful right now, the pandemic won’t last forever. So try to keep the big picture in mind, at some point restrictions will end, and many of the issues you’re stressing out about right now won’t be problems anymore. Keeping this in mind will help you keep things in perspective.
Be Selective About Your Media Consumption
While it’s important to stay informed, consuming constant content about the coronavirus can keep you in a heightened state of distress. The media continuously reports on new cases of the virus and talks about death tolls which can greatly affect your psychological well-being. Here are some healthy ways to stay informed while also managing your media consumption..
- Don’t keep the TV on news channels. While you may want to become aware of any breaking reports, keeping the TV tuned into news stations isn’t good for you. Commit to only tuning in to a few news programs per day, and set a time limit (such as 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening)
- Be mindful of your social media time. Scrolling through social media mindlessly throughout the day can drain you of mental strength as well. So pay attention to the time you’re putting into it as it can greatly affect your mental health.
- Follow people who inspire you on social media. If you follow people who are making catastrophic predictions and complaining about their situations, you will likely become distressed. Make sure you follow people who are more invested in helping, inspiring, and staying positive.
- Be selective with the content you consume. Read articles and watch programs that focus on what you can do to stay healthy, not what organizations are doing wrong.
Focus on the Things You Can Control
There are many things outside of your control during a pandemic. And thinking about all of these things won’t do any good. It’s important to focus on the things you can control, such as the measures you’re undergoing to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy. Reducing unnecessary social contact, washing your hands, and working on managing your finances are just a few of these things. You can also control how well you take care of yourself, how often you talk to friends and family, and how much media you consume.
Practice Healthy Coping Skills
Explore new activities you can practice, such as writing , reading or cooking. You might also discover a meditation app or one that helps you practice a variety of relaxation techniques and stress relievers like progressive muscle relaxation.