Taking Care of Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

How to Manage Coronavirus-Related Stress and Anxiety

 

With the recent spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world, it's natural to feel scared and uncertain.

Feeling stressed and anxious is normal, especially during a rapidly evolving public health crisis, but these feelings can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many ways to take care of your mental health so that you can cope in a healthy manner. Here are some you can try at home today.

Try to keep things in perspective (and limit how much news you consume)

As the coronavirus impacts more lives, people around the world have needed to change their routines overnight. Health experts have advised people to stay at home, practice social distancing and avoid crowds.

Adjusting to this new reality isn’t easy. Still, it helps to maintain some perspective admist the chaos. While the coronavirus is something we all need to take seriously, you can find comfort in knowing that someday, life will return to normal.

Keeping things in perspective is much harder if you’re constantly plugged into the news and other types of media (including social media). It’s important to stay informed, but don’t forget to step away from the news regularly to give your worried brain a break.

Don’t forget the importance of routines

You may be tempted to escape reality by binge-watching shows and movies from the comfort of your couch, but you shouldn’t spend all of your time on these types of activities. Try to stick to some of your usual routines, like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

Routines are a wonderful way to safeguard our mental health, and they can even help you manage stress and anxiety.

Dr. Steve Orma, a CBT clinical psychologist who specializes in treating insomnia, anxiety, and stress, once explained that, “To manage anxiety, you need to consistently check in with yourself about what you’re worrying about, then address it. Just as we create routines with exercise for our physical bodies, we should do the same for our mental health. One way to do this is scheduling ‘thinking time’ to think through any problems or worries weighing on you instead of letting them build up.”

If you’re stuck at home, this is the perfect time to try out some new healthy habits, like daily journaling. Reaching out to friends and family is another great routine you can turn to right now.

Stay socially connected, even if you can’t be together in person

People are social, so it’s no surprise that feeling isolated makes it even more difficult to take care of your mental health during a pandemic. Staying connected helps maintain some sense of normalcy and can reduce your anxiety.

There are plenty of tools that you can use to stay connected, even if you can’t leave the house. Use video tools like FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts so you can see loved ones. A simple phone call can go a long way, too.

When worrying becomes worrisome: Signs of depression and anxiety

Sometimes, normal stress and worry evolves into more severe depression and anxiety.

If you are having trouble coping with this new pandemic’s impact on your mental health and wellbeing, I encourage you to seek out extra help and support. Many mental health professionals, including our therapists at Foundations Counseling, are offering phone and video sessions during this incredibly difficult time.

Our caring therapists can help you overcome life’s greatest challenges. Contact us today!