Coronavirus (COVID-19) has completely changed the way we live. Whether you are not going to work or going to work overtime — whether you are quarantined at home with your family and kids or left home in solitude — these changes can take a toll mentally and emotionally.
But, it’s important to remember that we are all in this together, and there are things we can do to ease the tension to stay strong and healthy during this difficult time.
Here are a few tips and strategies you can use to take care of your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
First, Acknowledge & Accept What You’re Feeling
The first way to take care of your mental health during COVID-19 is by accepting that it’s okay to have strong feelings about the situation.
This is a very uncertain, confusing, and complicated time. The unknown about the future paired with the isolation caused by social distancing and stay-at-home orders has put many of us in a situation that can trigger negative or depressive feelings.
It’s important not to downplay your feelings, and know that it’s okay and completely normal if you feel:
These feelings are completely valid. Allow yourself to acknowledge and accept them. And, don’t let anyone make you feel as though your experience and emotions during this time aren’t reasonable or well-founded.
Also, look for signs that your emotions may be impacting you more than you think. Signs that you may be struggling without realizing it include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Changes in eating habits
- Headaches or body pains
- Overuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be a sign that the situation is impacting you more than you think. Take some time to check-in with your body and mind, and consider if you might be affected by the situation more than you think.
Remember: Being emotionally or mentally impacted by the situation is completely normal.
It’s a difficult time. It’s normal for us to feel like it is. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t healthy, helpful ways to cope.
Take Care of Your Mental Health During COVID-19
Once you take time to assess and accept your emotions, you can work on alleviating the difficult feelings you’re having. Use the following tips to take some of the pressure off of your mind and body.
#1) Keep in touch with family and friends.
Just because you can’t see your family and friends, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in close contact with them. Regularly call and check-in with loved ones, especially those who are staying at home alone during this time. And, find fun ways to stay connected.
- Plan a video virtual get-together using Google Hangouts and Zoom.
- Play online games with family and friends.
- Start a movie or show at the same time and text thoughts or reactions during or after.
Writing about your experience can help you process what you’re going through. It helps organize your thoughts and allows you to express what you may feel comfortable sharing with others.
Find ways to remain active even if you can’t go to the gym. Exercising releases feel-good hormones that can boost your mood and also help you fall asleep at night. Check out this list of free online exercise classes being offered during COVID19.
#4) Get some sleep.
Prioritize getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sleep helps your mind process what you experienced during the day and also boosts your immune system to help you stay healthy. Check out these bedtime habits to help you get better sleep.
#5) Stick to a schedule.
Your daily, weekly, or even monthly routine is likely disrupted by COVID-19. Create a new schedule that structures your day to ease the tension of so much uncertainty.
#6) Eat healthy, mood-boosting foods.
Don’t use this time as an excuse to over-do it on unhealthy foods. Food affects your mood so choose healthy, mood-boosting snacks and meals that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized. Check out this list of 21 healthy snacks.
Also, focus on drinking a lot of water. Drinking water has a variety of health benefits so challenge yourself to drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
Sometimes your brain needs a chance to shut down and recharge. Give your mind the space it needs by spending at least ten minutes a day focusing on your breath and relaxing your mind. Check out these free meditations from Headspace.
#9) Practice self-care.
Take some time for you — especially if you’re staying at home with a lot of family. Do some activities that focus on you.
- Get alone time
- Take a bath
- Do your hair / paint your nails
- Do a creative activity like drawing or painting
#10) Tidy up.
Marie Kondo has popularized the idea of cleaning up your space to feel more relaxed and at ease. Take some of her advice and straighten up your space to get some peace of mind.
#11) Limit your news intake.
Turn the TV off. Log out of social media, and limit your news intake. Set a certain amount of news per day, such as only the local news at 5PM or a morning podcast from NPR.
#12) Share support with others.
One way to make yourself feel better is by helping to care for others. Call an elderly neighbor and make sure they have what they need. Donate to a good cause. Or, otherwise do something that makes you feel like you’re making a difference.
Finally, Ask for Help If You Need It
Hopefully, these tips can help you find some comfort, solace, and stability during these difficult times. And, if they can’t — know that these activities aren’t the only thing you can do to find relief.
If you are unable to manage the feelings and emotions you’re having, seek professional support.
The best way to take care of yourself and the people who depend on you is by asking for help when you need it.
And, help is available right now. Telemental health services have made it possible for you to receive professional support right in the comfort of your own home. Both therapists and psychiatrists are available to offer you the support you need to get through this difficult time.
Loving Life Today is proud to offer virtual mental health services at a discounted rate.
As part of our effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and support our community, we are offering virtual therapy and counseling and psychiatry services as a discounted rate. Learn more about our virtual therapy special rates.
Please do not go through this difficult time on your own.
We are all in this together, and Loving Life Today is proud to be here to offer support if you need it.
Learn more about how Loving Life Today is dealing with COVID-19, or schedule your first virtual session by calling us at (813) 609-6946 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.