The recent COVID-19 outbreak has been very stressful for our community. The fear of contracting it can cause anxiety and can be very overwhelming for adults and children. According to the CDC, signs of being stressed include worrying about your own health and health of loved ones, changes in sleep, changes in eating patterns, and difficulty concentrating. Below are a couple of ways to help protect your mental health while practicing social distancing, provided by Okay to Say.
Okay to Say is a public awareness campaign, initiated by the Meadows Mental Health Policy, and their goal is to help spread their message that it’s okay to talk openly about mental health.
- Avoid fixating on the news. While it’s tempting to want to know what’s happening around the country—and the world—in real time, a barrage of breaking news can increase your stress and anxiety. Turn off the 24-hour news channels, in particular, when you’re trying to fall asleep.
- Express gratitude. Acknowledge three people—friends, family, healthcare workers, counselors, first responders—who you are grateful for each day. Gratitude promotes trust and ultimately, empathy.
- Be mindful with your time. Spend your time on things that matter and prioritize what’s important to you. Call a friend, journal or meditate, get extra rest or exercise, or work on things that make you feel productive.
- Stick to a routine. As much as you are able, stick to your normal schedule. Get dressed at a normal time and try to maintain a regular meal schedule, especially if you have kids at home. A schedule is particularly important to those who have mental health concerns.
- Get some fresh air. Whether it’s hitting your favorite hiking or running trail, walking around your neighborhood, or simply sitting on your porch, time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety. Just remember to practice safe social distancing (6 ft. apart).
- Stay connected. Check-in with close friends and family frequently through FaceTime, calls, and texts. Staying connected improves our sense of well-being.