By: Heather Bien
We’re living in unprecedented times. A worldwide pandemic has many of us struggling with elevated stress levels and the anxiety that can come with living in a state of uncertainty. We don’t know what’s next, but, we do know that the only thing we can control is ourselves and our reaction to the circumstances.
That’s why we’re doing what we can to safeguard our own mental health and create moments of calm throughout this COVID-19 crisis. We may have to stay socially distant, but we’re all in this together and we’re here to support you with what’s working for us.
How to Safeguard Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis
Stay healthy. To set yourself up for a healthy mind, it’s important to start with a healthy body. Do your best to get a good night’s sleep each night. We know it can be difficult to fall asleep when your mind is racing due to stress but, on the bright side, you may be able to sleep in a bit later if you’re working from home. Use these tips to set yourself up for the best night’s sleep you can get. And, while eating fresh may be a little more difficult when you’re making fewer trips to the grocery store, do what you can to squeeze in fruits, veggies, and proteins. Toss in frozen veggies with your pasta or make a green smoothie –– there are lots of ways to maintain a healthy diet with pantry meals!
Move your body. This is the time to discover an in-home yoga practice or pick back up your love of running outside. Most gyms and fitness studios are closed, but it’s important to move your body to maintain your mental health. Get those endorphins going with a streaming class and allow yourself to forget about it all for a few minutes.
Try to create a (new) routine. A routine during times of crisis is twofold. On one hand, it can help you create a tie to your old life if you incorporate elements from your normal lifestyle. And, on the other, it creates a sense of normalcy and certainty in an uncertain climate. Figure out what is still working for you and what will help you move forward. Then, define your routine to hold yourself accountable.
Get connected. Even though you’re apart, it doesn’t mean you’re facing this alone. Keep your sense of connection by calling loved ones and setting up virtual happy hours with friends. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel after chatting with your nearest and dearest. Plus, this is a wonderful excuse to reach out to those people who you may not have spoken with in a while.
Practice mindfulness. This may look like meditation, journaling, prayer, or a solo walk through the woods. Find a way to connect with your inner calm –– it looks different for everyone and that’s okay. What’s important is quieting your mind and connecting to a sense of peace.
Remember to be grateful. It can be hard to stay upbeat and optimistic, but take a few moments each day to recognize what you do have. Perhaps it’s a good meal, a show you’re enjoying, or a friend you were happy to catch up with on social media. Maybe it’s your garden or a cozy home. Perhaps it’s your health. There’s always at least one thing that can remind you things are okay.
Seek out virtual therapy. Many therapists are taking their services online and do not hesitate to seek one out if you feel like you need guidance in navigating this stressful time.
Allow yourself to be upset. Lastly, it’s 100% acceptable to be upset, angry, and anxious. Let yourself feel those feelings –– and let them pass. Each day, give yourself at least one thing you want to do so that you won’t get stuck in a cycle of wallowing, but, also, don’t get mad at yourself when it happens. We’re all there with you.