COVID-19 has changed all of our lives. Concerns about contracting the virus, anxiety over work, and feelings of isolation can greatly impact your mental health. With so many disruptions to our everyday routines and plans, it is important to take care of yourself during this time. Keep reading to learn seven ways to maintain your mental health during COVID-19.
1. Learn about COVID-19…but not too much
Staying up to date with the latest news about the pandemic is important. Make sure you understand the symptoms of the virus and how to recognize it. You should also find your local testing facility and medical office to get treatment.
However, it is also important to take breaks from all of the information available about COVID-19. It is easy to start obsessing over the virus. We hear about it constantly on the news, social media, and from friends. Disconnecting from coronavirus-related news can be good for your mental health.
2. Get enough sleep
If you are working from home or spending a lot of time sedentary, it may be difficult to sleep at night. Stress and anxiety related to COVID-19 could also keep you tossing and turning. Sleep is very important to both your physical and mental health. A lack of sleep can impact your immune system and leave you feeling lethargic or cloudy-headed. Maintaining your regular bedtime and wake-up time can help you get enough sleep.
3. Spend time doing fun activities
Your favorite local hangout may be closed, but you can still have fun. In fact, you may be able to find new activities that you enjoy. Try spending more time outside, taking a hike or going for a walk. You may pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Countless businesses have made resources available online, including free or reduced online classes.
4. Connect with friends and family from a distance
It is easy to feel socially isolated when we are all physically isolated. Over time, social isolation can lead to feeling of anxiety or depression and make it more difficult to connect with others. Virtually socializing can help you feel connected even if you can’t visit people in person. Even if you are interacting with people through remote work, it is still important to maintain personal relationships.
- Text or call a friend each day just to say hello
- Schedule family video calls each week to catch up
- Virtually watch a movie or TV show with friends
- Join an online group dedicated to your favorite hobby
- Provide virtual support to someone that is isolated or sick
- Check in on people you haven’t heard from in a while
- Play games during a video call
5. Maintain a routine
Sleeping, eating, and working at the same times as before can help maintain your mental health. Consistent routines are very important to our mental wellbeing. Even if your life has changed dramatically due to COVID-19, keeping your schedule as close to normal as possible can help you feel in control.
With too much unstructured time, it is easy to feel unproductive. Set schedules to ensure you get enough sleep, eat regular meals, exercise, work or study. You should also schedule time for your favorite activities or hobbies.
6. Prioritize your to-do list
Some days, you may not feel up to completing all of the tasks on your to-do list. If you need a mental health day to relax and recharge your batteries, try picking your top three tasks. Focus on the items that must be completed and reschedule the rest. You can also delegate tasks to other members of your household or rely on professional services for things like cleaning or cooking.
7. Take care of you
Maintaining your mental health during COVID-19 will require you to make yourself a priority. Whether you create a new workout routine, finish a puzzle, or play a video game, spend time doing activities that make you happy. With so much changing all at once, it is important to hold on to things that feel normal.
It is also important to ask for help when you need it. Reaching out to a friend when you are feeling down, connecting with a spiritual leader, or scheduling an online appointment with a mental health professional can give you the boost you need. Your primary care provider is great resource if you need to talk about anxiety, depression, or other health concerns related to COVID-19. You may also be able to find resources through your employer or mental health organizations.