It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic currently, and we know you are likely inundated everywhere you turn with reminders that life has drastically changed. Instead of focusing on the difficult challenges that COVID-19 has brought, which we get, are many. We thought it important to offer a few ways to boost your mental health and better navigate this time of social distancing.
CREATE A ROUTINE
Even when things feel unknown and unpredictable around you, sticking to your routine (or starting one) and creating consistency about your days will offer a sense of predictability. You may not be able to control many aspects about this time of quarantine, but you can control how you manage your days. As a bonus, creating a consistent schedule also helps manage anxiety because it provides a sense of structure. Anxiety feeds on inconsistency, unknowns, and instability, so however you can continue or create a sense of routine will help reduce these anxiety triggers. Obviously your routine during this time of quarantine will likely look different than your normal routine, but find the things that you can keep routine and build from there. Things like taking a shower, getting dressed each morning, when you go to sleep/when you wake up, a self-care routine and scheduled meal-times will help bring a little balance and stability to your life.
While many may argue that self-care is selfish or nonsense, the reality is that self-care is an absolute must for taking good care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Focusing on ways to incorporate mindfulness, breathing techniques, meditation, prayer, yoga, physical exercise, healthy eating habits and even rest are all very important to keeping stress, anxiety and depression well–managed. The truth is that our bodies respond physiologically to stressors and when we don’t take the time to invest in good measures of self-care we may find an increase in any of these areas and a direct impact on our daily mindset.
Rest. Allow yourself to be okay with doing nothing, or with doing something you might otherwise consider ‘unproductive.’ To be clear, rest and giving our minds and bodies time to replenish is never unproductive, but it can be easy to begin thinking that all this extra time at home should mean doing more things. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to not start new projects or hobbies. If you find joy and rest and want to tackle those extra projects, by all means, go for it. But don’t allow yourself to feel that you are unproductive if you don’t. For many of us our worlds have completely shifted and we have been forced into a much slower pace than we typically experience. Drastic shifts in schedule create exhaustion. A global pandemic naturally causes heightened anxiety and stress. Add to that a quarantine and without much forewarning, we are all finding ourselves mentally and perhaps physically exhausted. Left unchecked this new type of exhaustion can quickly increase levels of anxiety, deepen a struggle with depression or widen the chasm of isolation. Remove the guilt, self-induced or otherwise. Take the time to just hit pause and rest.
It’s no secret that sunshine, fresh air and the great outdoors hold healing powers. Not only is nature good for our bodies, it’s also good for our souls and minds. Make it a point to get outdoors daily. If you don’t already exercise outdoors, consider a walk, a hike, going for a bike ride or gardening. If you want to get a two-for-one, combine some rest with your time outdoors and enjoy sitting on the patio for longer than you might normally. The soothing sounds of birds chirping or nature humming, the feel of the sun on your face and exposure to fresh air are all natural, calming ways to reduce anxiety, depression and stress levels.
COVID-19, like other disasters or traumatic situations, can wreak havoc on our physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. We recognize that you may be facing serious repercussions or struggling with some or all of these aspects currently. We are here to help you and your loved ones navigate these challenging times. Don’t let social distancing stop you from seeking the help you need. We are continuing to see clients via Telehealth video sessions. Visit our Telehealth page to find out more about Telehealth, or contact us to schedule an appointment or free consultation.