Mental Health Tips during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Written By Jamie Hall
We have all had to adjust our lives to spend more time without social interaction due to the safety procedures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This can lead to creativity and self-reflection; however, it can also take a toll on a person’s mental health. One in ten people worldwide are estimated to suffer from a mental health disorder. In a stressful time of uncertainty and heightened worry for self, family, and loved ones, mental health should remain a top priority. Different organizations including the World Health Organization, CDC, and numerous others have made recommendations on how to maintain mental health during this unprecedented time.
7 Tips to Manage Your Mental Health
1. Connect with Family, Friends, and Coworkers
Stay connected with the people in your day-to-day lives, virtually. It is important to uphold social distancing recommendations. However, there are many options including Skype or Zoom to maintain contact with those who you love.
2. Manage your Expectations
Spending weeks at home may seem like the perfect time to tackle projects such as organizing your closets, writing poetry, or learning Spanish. However, this is putting more pressure on one’s self to preform and asking for increased productivity. Do not underestimate the emotional and cognitive toll this pandemic has. Protect your mental health by protecting your expectations for what will be accomplished and go easy on yourself when you need more time to adapt.
3. Maintain a Routine
Does your normal morning routine sound something like 6:00 alarm, off to the gym, shower, cup of coffee and at work by 9? For the time being, it isn’t anymore. That doesn’t mean that your daily routine should include sleeping until noon and never changing out of sweatpants (there are days for that too, of course). Trying to maintain a routine similar to your normal life will help you adjust during these times and prepare you for when we are back to our normal routines. If you are working from home, it may be difficult to feel the separation of work-time and non-work time. By maintaining a routine, you can log off in confidence and take the time needed for you.
4. Add Exercise and Movement
If you are like me, you do not have a home gym with all of the exercise equipment you may be used to at a regular gym. However, that doesn’t mean movement isn’t necessary. Find ways to keep social distance and move such as running, at-home workout videos, or talking a walk. Atlee Hall is currently missing our biweekly yoga classes, although we have found some terrific online classes to get us through!
5. Show Compassion
It is time to be kind. By understanding that yourself and others may react differently in this time is key to showing compassion. Navigating social distancing will show challenges to people in a variety of ways. Understanding your differences and showing compassion cannot only help someone’s mental health, but your own.
6. Try a Mental Health App
Mental health apps have been growing in popularity since their debut a few years ago. These include services that allow for someone to connect with a therapist over video or chat. Make sure to read reviews of the app and look for accredited apps only. An alternative to tradition mental health apps would include guided meditation apps.
7. Consume News Wisely
It is impossible to be on social media, watch TV, or look at the newspaper without seeing something new about the novel coronavirus. It is overwhelming and often conflicting information. As much as it is important to stay informed about the pandemic, especially in your local area, it is important to prioritize your mental health. Try tips such as avoiding any source of news, including Facebook and Twitter, before bed or limiting your screen time throughout the day.
Professional Help and Hotlines
Lastly, if you are ever feeling overwhelmed and tips such as the ones above are not providing relief, please contact a professional. If you are not in contact with a therapist and in crisis, do not hesitate to reach out to a crisis hotline; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746. You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.