Take Care of Yourself Mentally

We know how to decrease our chances of physically getting COVID-19, but how do we not let this virus get the best of us mentally?  Below are a few suggestions!

Mindfulness:

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can be a great way to reduce stress and control your thoughts.  You can do it simply by sitting quietly for a few minutes while focusing on your breathing.  You can find guided mindfulness exercises on the internet or on your phone. The Smiling Mind is one site that has a free app that you can download.

Exercise:

It’s important to keep moving for both physical and mental health.  Even if the gym is closed, you can still talk a walk or go for a jog.  There are also plenty of online sources for group exercise activities like Zumba or yoga.

Healthy Eating:

Food can be an easy go-to under stress.  If you are fortunate to have all the food your family needs at home during this time, try to keep the snacking at bay and follow your internal hunger cues, rather than your nerves, to guide eating.

Healthy Routines:

Even if you don’t have to get up and go to work right now, it can still be worthwhile to get up around the usual time, get dressed, and follow as many of your regular routines that you can.

Limit Information Consumption:

Sure it is important to keep informed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be listening to coronavirus news 24/7.  Unreliable sources like social media and cable can also fuel anxiety with their dire predictions and exaggerated doomsday scenarios.

Help Others:

While it can seem these days that you barely have enough in the tank to take care of yourself and loved ones, giving what you can to others during this time of need can benefit everyone involved.  Whether it be money, volunteer time, or even messages of gratitude and appreciation to the many people working so hard how for all of us.

Be Kind To Yourself:

Treat yourself as kindly as you treat loved ones. Interrupt negative thoughts by thinking about an accomplishment or something nice you did for someone else.

Identify The Source Of Your Anxiety:

What specifically is worrying you? Is it the uncertainty, the health risk to ourselves or our loved ones, or our financial burdens? Identifying specific concerns can help you get distance and feel less overwhelmed.

Let Your Anxiety Be A Unifying Force:

You’ve recognized things are uncertain, acknowledged your specific worries, now what? Use technology to connect with others, ask for what you need and offer help. A simple phone call or an online meet-up (like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom) with family or friends can be supportive and ease loneliness. Or join Front Porch Forum to help people in your community or post your own request.

Self-Care Is Key:

Making or taking time for yourself is even harder when faced with an emergency. It may feel like just one more thing to do. But taking a walk, practicing stress reduction techniques, or reading a fun book or article can shift our mood.


Additional Articles:

Staying Mentally Healthy During Self-Isolation or Quarantine

Preparing for the Coronavirus by Taking Care of Your Whole Self


Mental Health Services:

Talk to a Counselor Right Now: 24/7 hotline for people experiencing overwhelming emotional stress due to natural or human-caused disasters.  Call 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUS at 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

 

Finding a Local Counselor or Mental Health Professional  In addition to the regular DMH Services site, you can dial 2-1-1 or visit their website to find local resources.  Statewide private therapists are listed at Psychology Today