How to Improve Your Mental Health in Times of COVID-19?
The coronavirus disease has led to the temporary shutdown of learning institutions and businesses across the world. People are either working from home or waiting for health and government officials to give directions.
During this time, it’s normal to feel stressed and anxious. COVID-19 has changed our lifestyles completely. And all this happened rapidly. You need to manage your mental health as it is vital to your wellbeing. Apart from washing our hands, social distancing, and staying at home, there are a lot of things that we can do to improve our health in times of COVID-19. Here are some of the best tips that will help you cope with stress and anxiety during this period.
Take a break from the news
Watching the news all day long can be more upsetting than informational. You should also ensure that you are getting information from reputable sources. Figure out how much is helpful for you to consume in a day. And stick to the limits.
It can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude when all you watch is crisis and disturbing images all day long. Instead of watching the news all day long, try out other activities that you enjoy such as cooking, reading on child psychology, playing, or writing. When you change your focus, the strong negative feelings will eventually fade.
Fear and anxiety are normal
We have never witnessed anything like COVID-19 before. Things like social distancing and self-isolation are new experiences for everyone on the planet. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel guilty or judge yourself for feeling fearful or anxious.
Anxiety can be beneficial because it can inspire you to take measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. Frequent handwashing, social distancing, and self-isolation, if you have tested positive, are essential for managing the spread of this deadly disease.
Consume healthy foods
During stressful times like this, the majority of people turn to processed foods. These foods can be comforting in the short run. However, they’ll harm your health in the long run. Instead of choosing junk, go for healthy snacks, whole foods, vegetables, and fruits.
A diet rich in nutrients and vitamins promotes health and wellbeing. Keeping up a healthy diet is important for your sleep. Scientific studies have shown that sleep affects your energy levels, mood, immune system, and mental health.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep plays an important role in managing your current level of stress. Sleep is a basic need just like food or water. As twiftnews reports, you should never sacrifice your sleep for anything. Sacrificing your sleep leads to irritability, low energy levels, weak immune system, and anxiety. Studies show that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. When you are stressed or anxious, it can be difficult to get adequate sleep. Here are some simple things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep:
- Keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet
- Avoid working past your bedtime
- Avoid exercising just before bedtime
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine before going to bed
Don’t think about the what-ifs
During difficult times, we tend to visualize the worst things that could happen to us. Mental experts have termed this as sabotaging or catastrophizing. It’s one of the most common unhealthy thinking styles on the planet. We tend to underestimate our abilities to overcome different situations.
Remember, you are strong. You have managed to overcome some of the toughest challenges in family and career. When you start catastrophizing, it’s important to speak to your family, friends, colleagues, and therapist. There are a lot of people who genuinely care about you. Plus, when you communicate with them, you’ll realize that you’re not the only one who’s going through a tough time.
Avoid drug abuse
Much like junk food, the temptation to indulge in drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol is strong particularly when you are anxious or stressed out. You have to keep in mind that these substances provide short-term relief and they don’t help you solve your problems. Plus, the more you use them, the more your body will crave more.
Abusing substances will not only lead to physical and mental health issues but also affect your finances. Substance abuse during COVID-19 weakens your immune system. When you get sick, there is nothing much you can do for yourself or your loved ones. There are a lot of constructive ways to relieve stress and anxiety. They include meditating, journaling, exercising, and enrolling for behavior management training to name a few.
Physical activity not only relieves stress but also improves your mood. Just because you are stuck at home doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise. There are many home workout videos on YouTube that you can use to exercise without having to go outside. If you have a backyard, there are lots of body exercises that you can do. Working out regularly will help you relieve stress and anxiety and appreciate a beautiful and healthy body.
Maintain social connections
Even if you can’t be around people physically, you can still connect with your family, circle of friends, and the community. You can use social media platforms to chat with loved ones, schedule video chats with coworkers and loved ones, send small notes and emails, join online groups and forums to communicate with people of similar minds, and support those who need social interactions. You can find solace by connecting with loved ones and strangers through peer mediation training during difficult times. If you don’t have anyone to connect with, there are a lot of peer support training groups that will help you.
Focus on the things you can control
During a pandemic, there are a lot of things that you cannot control. Spending a lot of time thinking about them won’t do you any good. You need to focus on the things that you can control such as keeping yourself and your loved ones safe by minimizing social contact, managing your finances, managing difficult behavior, washing your hands, and improving yourself. You can also control how often you communicate with family and friends and the information that you consume.
You need to prioritize your mental health during times of uncertainty and high stress. By being proactive, different aspects of your life will start improving rapidly. If you don’t feel like you are making progress, you should consider reaching out to a professional to improve problem solving processes. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem half-solved.
Donna James is a writer and proofreader from the USA.
Tags: Guest Post