What once seemed impossible to imagine is now a reality. Across the country, restaurants are closing, major entertainment events are being canceled, and people are being asked to stay at home whenever possible. Social distancing is being encouraged and it is a movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While these changes are important to slow the spread of the virus, we do not know how long this will last. Rates of infection are continuing to grow every day and while social distancing is one of the most effective ways to address the spread, it is not without its own challenges.
Social distancing will inevitably impact mental health. While social distancing is an effort to protect our physical health, isolation from people can trigger feelings of loneliness, sadness, restlessness, and stress. When left unaddressed, these feelings can lead to the development of depression and anxiety and can even impact our physical health as well. Everyone copes with these changes in different ways, but it is important to not neglect self-care during this critical time.
Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19
There are a number of ways you can proactively care for your mental health during self-isolation. While it is normal and healthy to take some time to feel overwhelmed and anxious during this uncertain time, allowing yourself to idle in these feelings can worsen your mental state. Some ways you can work through this include:
- Turn off the news: While it is important to stay up-to-date and informed on what is happening in our world, too much consumption of news can worsen your mental health. News about the current state of the pandemic is everywhere on the television, the radio, and in social media feeds. Turning off your devices can give your mind a break from feeling overwhelmed.
- Create a routine: Maintaining a routine can provide a sense of normalcy during an uncertain time. While you may not be able to do the things you normally would, you can create routines at home that make you feel active and engaged. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, continuing to practice good hygiene, eating meals at regular times, and putting on normal clothes can help boost mood.
- Practice self-care: While sitting at home in your pajamas can be fun, doing it every day can start to affect your mood. Taking a shower, fixing your hair, and getting dressed can help you feel better physically and mentally.
- Stay active: Even if you cannot go to the gym or attend a workout class, there are plenty of ways you can exercise. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins that boost your mood and can be a great outlet for stress and anxiety. Many companies and trainers are offering online courses for free or at a discounted rate. You can use household items as weights, practice yoga, or have a dance party in your own home. Any activity that gets you on your feet and moving is helpful.
- Meditate: Practicing mindfulness can help in boosting your mood. While it is easy to get lost in the thought of what you do not have now, focus instead on what you can be grateful for. Meditation can help you work through difficult thoughts and feelings while simultaneously reducing stress levels. It also can help reduce blood pressure and help you reconnect your mind to your body.
- Eat a balanced diet: Food is often used to feel comfort and boredom can cause many people to overeat and binge on their favorite snacks. It is important to not neglect nutrition and try to remain mindful of what you are eating while staying home. Food can directly impact mood and eating healthy options can help you feel better.
- Stay connected: Even if you cannot see your friends and family face-to-face, it is important to continue communicating with loved ones. Video chats and phone calls can help you feel connected to others even if you are physically alone. Try not to allow your conversations to focus solely on the coronavirus and other stressful topics. Make time to enjoy your loved ones’ company and laugh.
- Stay busy: For many, being at home more can provide an opportunity to work on other things. If you found yourself struggling to make time for projects around the house or hobbies you have always wanted to explore, you can start now. There are many resources online you can use to try out new things such as learning a new language, trying out a crafting project, or learning how to cook new dishes. Reorganizing your home or cleaning out your closet can help you feel productive and keep your day full.
While it is uncertain how long this will continue, it is vital that you continue finding ways to protect your physical and mental health. The current state of the world is temporary, and things will eventually return to normal. Engaging in these practices can not only help boost your mental health but may also provide you with new experiences and interests that you can carry with you into the future. If you are still struggling with your mental health during this time, reach out for help. Nexus Recovery Services is providing addiction and mental health treatment here in Los Angeles to those who need it during this difficult time. Contact us today for more information.