Mental health issues often increase during a major national or world crisis. While a great deal of focus is placed on staying physically healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, it is also important to recognise the importance of caring for your mental health.
Self-isolation increases feelings of loneliness, fear, and worry that can rapidly spiral out of control. You might not be able to stop the pandemic from happening, but you can take action to protect your mental health by implementing these strategies.
Develop a new routine
One of the most obvious changes in your life right now is the fact that you may be staying home more. Trying to work from home and limit outings in public has likely thrown your routine into a tailspin. Make a list of the things that you must do every day, and create a loose schedule.
Waking up, eating and going to sleep at the same time each day gives you a sense of stability that is important right now. If you are working from home or doing remote learning with your children, then set an alarm to remind you to take regular mental health breaks to relax.
Know when to seek professional help
The government is asking you to stay home right now. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your mental health. Seeking help with depression near Los Angeles and other cities under stay-at-home orders may require you to explore your options, but it is worth it to connect with a professional who can help you feel better. Finding out how to manage your depression helps you to begin the process of finding greater happiness in life.
Figure out how much news you can handle
The news about the coronavirus is on a constant loop right now. If you feel your anxiety levels rising every time you hear a new statistic, then consider limiting how much time you spend viewing the news. Most people can tolerate checking the news one or two times a day.
Put your phone down, shut off the television and try to get occupied with other things that feed your soul.
Cultivate a New Hobby
Finding things to do will help you avoid falling into a pit of depression. With more time at home, you may have the opportunity to learn something new. Perhaps revive a hobby that you used to love but lost track of pursuing. As you think about new hobbies, try to find ones that also offer benefits for improving your mental health.
After all, hobbies improve our decision-making skills, among other benefits. Gardening is an option that encourages you to get a little exercise and sunshine to help boost your mood.
You need to find ways to maintain your social connections. Being able to reach out and talk about your feelings with a friend or family member helps you feel better. Find ways to feel close to the people that you cannot see in person right now. Video chats are an option that lets you talk face-to-face while minimising your risk of spreading or contracting the virus.
The current prediction is that things will get harder before they get better. Feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed are all signs that you need to shift your focus to taking care of your mental health. There is help available to get you through this time so that you emerge from the pandemic stronger and better prepared to handle new stressors that may come your way in the future.
Image credit: Freepik
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.