It is hard to avoid the uncertainty, fear and anxiety surrounding COVID-19. It seems to be part of every conversation, channel, and radio station. It is likely that many people are struggling with their mental health currently, so it is important that you understand how you can best care for your own and others’ mental health at this time.
Even though we aren’t able to go out and do much during this time, there is a lot you can do to care for your mental health from home. Below are some small things you can do every day that can make a big difference.
- Get plenty of sleep: If you are working from home and can sleep in a bit more than usual, let yourself do so once or twice a week. Always aim for eight hours of sleep per night.
- Make a routine: It doesn’t have to be anything complicated but creating a simple routine for yourself can help your days feel more purposeful and structured even when you are staying mostly in one place.
- Get moving: Try at-home workout videos, go for a walk or run around your neighborhood, or look for live-streamed work-out classes. Many gyms and dance studios are offering free classes online.
- Meditate: Spend at least ten minutes each day sitting quietly, without any distractions. Focus on taking deep breaths and noticing how your mind and body are feeling.
Check in with friends and neighbors
Since everyone is doing their part to practice social distancing to stop the spread of the virus, we aren’t getting much in-person connection. But there are other ways to connect with each other!
- Video chatting is a great way to be able to see your friends and familyand talk. Set up weekly video chat meetings with friends and family to keep in touch.
- Send an old-fashioned letter. It can be therapeutic to write out your thoughts on paper, and everyone loves getting a letter in the mail.
- Pick up the phone. Call friends and family members who are living alone and ask how they are doing. Let them know that you are always happy to talk.
Don’t overdo the screen time
Fewer social obligations and the desire to stay informed, often translates into more time spent staring at our phones or TV screens. It is good to stay up to date with what is going on, but too much of that can just cause more anxiety and stress. Set a time limit for yourself when it comes to how long you let yourself watch the news or scroll through social media. Instead you can:
- Spend some time sitting out in the sun
- Read a book
- Do some chores
- Try a new recipe
- Play a board game with your kids
Mental health can play a big part in physical health. When our mental health suffers, we often lose sleep, don’t eat as well, and have a weaker immune system. Make your mental health as high a priority as the other aspects of your health.