Enjoy this post from guest contributor, Marie Miguel.
Sadly, this is a subject we can’t avoid talking about. Chances are, you may be in a state or country that is requiring social distancing due to COVID-19 (otherwise known as the coronavirus). Unless you need to, you shouldn’t go to a place where there are people, and you should stay at home whenever you can.
For some, this is easy. They are already hermits and this is nothing to them. However, even if you’re introverted, you may have been affected. For example, you may be someone who still goes to the gym, and now that’s closed. If you’re extroverted, you may be someone who is really missing those social connections right now.
As you’re protecting your physical health, it’s important to protect your mental health too. Here are some ways you can do that.
Be Informed, But Not Overly
It’s important to stick to the news for any updates about COVID-19, but it’s also important to not damage your mental health through information overload. For example, if you’re on social media, you may be hearing plenty of misinformation, some of it scary. It’s important that you curb your social media use at this time, or unfollow certain people who get your anxiety up.
Take some time out of the day to keep in the loop, but don’t take it too far. Having a scared reaction to everything that is going on is just going to make everything worse.
Work Out at Home
Working out can improve your mental health in many ways. It releases endorphins, helps you sleep better at night, and can help release negative emotions. However, your gym may be closed at the moment. It’s important that you stay active by working out at home. You can utilize your bodyweight and free YouTube videos to accomplish this.
Get Some Sunlight
The sun is good for your mood and provides you with vitamin D. Make sure to go outside, but keep a safe 6′ distance from others. Luckily, the days are getting longer, so there is more opportunity to get outside and go for a walks safely.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Breathe. If your anxiety is flaring up, just take a nice, deep breath. Follow the pattern of your breathing and let any negative thought pass you by. Focus on the world around you and be in the moment. Don’t think about the future too much, especially terrifying thoughts. Instead, open up some mindfulness videos and learn. It’s good for you and can help you sleep better at night. When regrets of the past and fears of the future come up, the solution is sometimes staying in the present.
Learn Something New
Now that you’re at home, perhaps you could benefit from learning something new. You can cook some new meals, get into a new hobby, or learn a new skill.
Make Money Online
Working from home is becoming more popular, especially as more people are isolating at home. If you were fired or suspended from your job due to this crisis, it’s important to keep your income up until relief arrives. If you have a skillset, such as writing, data entry, talking on the phone, art, or if you have items you can sell, you can make some money online. It can build experience, improve skills, and give you some much-needed income.
Make Sure to Talk With Your Friends
Being isolated at home doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated. Keep in touch with your friends and family members. Maybe have some Skype parties and other events that keep you connected. Staying social with your friends reminds them you care, and you can all help each other up.
Catch Up On Some Rest
If you’ve had some trouble sleeping, now is a good time to catch up on some sleep. You don’t need to sleep all day but have a little nap every once in a while. Order some blackout curtains to keep the sun out. A nice power nap of half an hour can give you a nice energy boost. With that said, don’t oversleep. This can make you feel even worse.
Bond With Your Kids
If you have kids, spend every moment you have with them. They may be afraid. Ensure them that they are unlikely to die from COVID-19, and educate them in a way they can understand. Teach them some new skills, and don’t lose track of their education, even if they’re not homeschooled. While they may be enjoying their time off, you also have to remember that they’ll soon get bored if they’re just in their room, and they can’t exactly play with their friends at the moment.
Don’t Be Afraid to Order Takeout
If you don’t feel like cooking, consider ordering a pizza or grabbing some takeout. It’s unlikely you’re going to catch COVID-19 through food, but you should still take the needed precautions. Always wash your hands before and after eating.
It’s a time of uncertainty and fear, and no matter how positive you try to be, it can wear on you. It’s not exactly a time where you can drive to the therapist’s office, either. However, online therapy is becoming a more sought after option.
With online therapy, you can communicate to a licensed therapist or counselor on your own schedule using video, text, and voice chat. One website you can try is BetterHelp. BetterHelp therapy has helped many, and it may be able to help you deal with this tough time.
Being in your house all the time can feel like a prison, but with enough adjustments, it can feel like your home again.
About the Author
Marie Miguel is a research and writing expert whose work focuses on health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of the online mental health resource BetterHelp.com. With a dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to target subjects related to wellbeing.