Tips for Managing Your Mental Health During a Pandemic
Together, we are going through an experience that we have never faced before. To use the phrase made popular by COVID-19 quarantine: these are unprecedented times.
Even as we reach several months into the pandemic, it isn’t necessarily easier to deal with. COVID-19 is still as scary, confusing and prevalent as ever.
New challenges may arise as we deal with COVID-19: Fall Edition. Many of us are figuring out working or schooling from home for the first time. Some are still stuck living with their families for the time being and others are moving into dorms with a lingering fear of shutdown at any moment.
The pandemic has left us all hyperaware of our physical health, but it is just as important to tune into your mental health. There is a lot to feel nervous, anxious or depressed about, and those feelings won’t necessarily go away overnight.
But, together, we can figure out the best ways to make life just a little bit more manageable for ourselves. There is no single correct way to cope, so here’s a list of tips for keeping your mind at peace:
Online therapy is a trend that has gained popularity in recent years. It can be much easier to access for people who don’t have the time or mobility to see a therapist in person. In the time of social distancing and decreased human interaction, online therapy is the perfect option for people to decipher complicated emotions and manage stress. Some popular and affordable virtual therapy options are Talkspace, Betterhelp and Pride Counseling.
Connect with Friends and Family
This one is always easier said than done -- we all need a constant reminder to check in with our loved ones! Virtual work and school have many people feeling lonely, or on the contrary, dealing with way too much family time. Reach out to those you know need to hear from you and reach out to the friends who seem like they’re doing perfectly fine – don't let that brave face fool you! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help yourself. It may feel vulnerable, but your friends and family want to hear from you and know how you’re doing. You are not a burden on others for seeking assistance. Communication can be tricky, but your loved ones want the best for you just as you want for them.
There’s an app for that! Get help managing anxiety and stress at a tap of your smartphone with apps like Calm and Aura. Ten Percent Happier is even offering a free Coronavirus Sanity Guide that includes podcasts and blog posts that offer different coping mechanisms. Do you have trouble falling asleep? Headspace is great for sleep and meditation. Plus, they are currently offering a free premium subscription for healthcare workers in the US.
Social Media Detox
Social media has become so ingrained in our lives that we don’t always recognize it as a source for some of our stress. A social media detox can help declutter your mind! Simply log out of all (non-work-related) accounts for a whole day and see how it makes you feel. If you realize it isn’t too difficult, try going a few more days without it. It is perfectly fine to want to distract yourself from everyday life by scrolling through Instagram, but take the time to evaluate whether it’s becoming more of a hindrance in your life than an innocent pastime. Apps like Moment and Flipd help you track and manage how much time you spend on your phone. AppBlock for Android users will temporarily block you from using certain distracting apps.
Just as it is important to take small breaks from social media, it can also be beneficial to step away from the news when it becomes mentally draining. Hearing about the coronavirus 24/7 has become exhausting, along with the constant police brutality stories, natural disasters and the upcoming election. It is obviously important to stay updated on what’s happening in the world, but if it ever becomes too overwhelming it’s ok to take a step back and catch up on major stories later.
Give Yourself Some Love
Make sure to prioritize time for taking care of yourself in the best way you know how -- you deserve it! Treat yourself to an at-home spa day, order your favorite foods or spend the weekend watching reality shows if that’s what makes you happy (binge KUWTK while it's still here!).
We’re all in this together! Now go get some TLC.