As we are trying to adapt to a “new normal,” we can’t help but wonder what that normal will look like and for how long. Many of us are making changes to our daily routines in order to learn how to best manage this new normal. The challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social distancing from loved ones, home-schooling children, working from home, temporary unemployment, and other major changes, may be particularly difficult for people who struggle with their mental health. Fear of becoming ill, losing loved ones, and not knowing exactly how long this pandemic will last have also been major challenges for those struggling.
The good news is that there are things we can do in order to help manage these fears and challenges.
Here are some tips we hope you find useful in managing your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:
· Make a new routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Create a space at home that is separated from distractions. Set time aside for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
· Pay attention to self-care. Listen to music, read a book, enjoy a snack, complete a puzzle.
· Exercise. Spend a few minutes each day exercising. Take a walk, go on a hike, complete an exercise video. Set personal realistic goals.
· Call a loved one. While physical social distancing is enforced, emotional distancing is not. Make time to talk to others, keep that connection by calling someone or video-chatting them.
· Monitor time spent on COVID-19 news. Reduce the amount of time watching things that make you anxious such as the news or articles related to COVID-19. While it is important to stay up-to-date with what is going on in the world, try and limit the amount of times you seek information related to COVID-19.
· Seek mental health services if needed. If you are feeling alone, anxious, depressed, hopeless, etc., reach out to a mental health professional. It is okay to not be okay. Your mental health is a priority, seek support.
Fear is a normal reaction in a time of uncertainty. Our mental health is important, especially during these unprecedented times. Remember to be kind to yourself and to others who may be struggling with their mental health and the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to their lives. We are in this together.