Life has changed for everyone as the Coronavirus pandemic has taken our nation by storm. Social distancing or self-quarantining are being practiced in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 until a treatment is found.
The pandemic is a devastating mental health burden to many people dealing with loss, isolation, abuse, financial distress and more. For those of us who depend on routine, social interaction, and the habits of our normal day-to-day life, adjusting to the new way of life causes feelings of anxiety and depression. That's why it's so important that we take care of ourselves, physically and emotionally.
How COVID-19 is impacting Mental Health:
For those managing issues with anxiety or depression, self-isolation can be incredibly damaging to their mental health. The literal sense of being alone during COVID-19 partnered with the internal sense of loneliness and fear has many individuals struggling. People who suffer from substance abuse and other mental health issues are severely impacted. Those who depend on routine and structure to protect their mental health have had to readjust what that means for them through the duration of the pandemic. And those seeking treatment from a mental health professional have had to limit in-person interactions.
Tips for Self-Care and Improving Mental Health During This Time:
1) Get Outside
The COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States right at the beginning of spring. This is a time where many individuals might head outside, go camping, or even travel on spring break. Now with the Coronavirus sweeping the US, everyone is being urged to stay home, avoid large gatherings, and take extra safety precautions to avoid getting or transmitting COVID-19. Even though government officials are urging everyone to stay home, that does not mean you cannot go outside. A great way to boost mental health during COVID-19 is to stay active and get outside, even if it is on your own property! Pitch a tent in the back yard, draw with chalk on the driveway, or even just set up your lawn chairs and soak up the sun. Getting outside can help keep your mind and body active without putting yourself or others at risk. To ensure your health safety, make sure to avoid public parks, playgrounds, or other areas where people gather in close proximity.
2) Work Your Brain
Those that are having difficulty coping under the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can often feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and demotivated. To combat these feelings, individuals should take extra steps to be creative and work their brains. A great way to practice self-care and boost mental health is to do things that stimulate your mind. This varies from person to person, but might include doing something creative like painting or drawing, playing word games, working a puzzle, and much more. Doing your best to turn off the television, get off the couch, and work your brain is a great step to improve mental health during this time.
3) Stay Connected
Most importantly, everyone should do their best to stay connected to one another despite social distancing and self-isolation during COVID-19. While there may be restrictions on large gatherings and visiting with friends and loved ones, that does not mean the lines of communication are closed. Focus on talking to the people close to you each day, visiting with your mental health provider via telehealth, and staying connected to those in your life. Doing so is a great way to be reminded that you are not alone and there are many other people going through similar situations during COVID-19.
We know that for many, exercising, working your brain and staying connected to family is not an option or enough to ease feelings of anxiety surrounding COVID-19. For those in healthcare on the frontlines, essential workers, people dealing with traumatic loss or financial distress, it may seem impossible to get any respite. If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health issues, you can visit our resource below by clicking Get Help, to gain access to a directory of mental health professionals that offer telehealth visits.
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