These days, especially, it is not uncommon to feel high levels of stress and anxiety each day. This age of COVID-19, uncertain futures, and social distancing can make us feel low and anxious. It is important to take care of our mental health proactively; these high stress levels can lead to mental illness such as depression and anxiety disorders.
Stress can also cause physical symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, bowel issues, and neck and back pain. Whether you are experiencing high levels of stress, or suffering from a diagnosed mental health disorder, there are things you can do to help ease your mind, and care for your mental health.
Make Time for Daily Movement and Exercise
It can be difficult to know when and where it is safe to get out of the house during this time, but spending time outdoors and going for a walk, bike ride, or run can drastically improve mental health.
If you need to stay indoors, try taking a yoga or other fitness class online. There are many different types of fitness classes offered online for free. All you need is some open floor space to get moving. Get the whole family in on it for some good family fitness fun!
Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness and focusing on your breathing can be an effective way to relieve anxiety. There are several apps that provide guided meditations for anyone, beginner to experienced.
You can practice mindful breathing anytime by breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, and breathing out for 4 seconds. Focus on filling your belly with air instead of your chest.
Social distancing can feel very isolating. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to stay connected with friends and family safely. Pick up the phone or make a video call to someone you love. You can even ask a friend or family member to be a pen pal and write letters back and forth.
If you have other people who live with you, make it a habit to eat meals together. Check in on each other’s mental health and make opportunities to do fun things together.
Talk to Someone
Talking to a therapist can be incredibly helpful in relieving stress and anxiety. A licensed counselor can offer helpful tips for coping with anxiety, and it often feels good just to have someone listen to your worries.
There are many opportunities to talk with a therapist on the phone, on video call, and even through text messaging.