Covid-19, after having been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), has wreaked havoc over our lives, completely changing the standard for how we can interact with other people and the world around us. We have all been made aware of the ever-growing list of the virus’ symptoms and are going to great lengths to follow the basic protective measures laid out for us by our respective governments and lead health organizations (i.e. social distancing, washing your hands, self or government issued quarantine etc.). All in all, we are, for the most part, doing our utmost to take care of our health during these trying times.
While it makes sense to prioritize our physical health during such times as these, it’s important not to let our mental health take a backseat. The virus has caused a major disruption in the way that we live, and that along with the fear of contracting the virus and the loneliness triggered from isolation and social distancing can take a huge toll on our mental well-being. Individuals already predisposed to mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression, may now find themselves cutoff from their choice coping strategies, be that going to the gym or grabbing a lunch with friends and family. Arguably worse, people may find themselves in the exact environment that prompts or worsens their mental illnesses while at home practicing social distancing.
Here are 5 ways to tend to your mental health amidst the pandemic:
- Stay Informed Through Trusted Sources
Seek out information from legitimate and trusted sources, so that you can stay updated on how to best protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus. It is important be able to distinguish fact from fiction in order to stay in control, as speculations and rumors will only add to one’s fear and anxiety. The WHO website provides regular and reliable updates on the virus situation, as well as how to stay safe, myth busters, and FAQs.
- Social Media Distancing
While it is imperative to stay informed, it is also important to take care that it does not turn into an obsession. If you find yourself checking for updates several times a day, and that it causes you distress or anxiety, it may be time to take a step back. Regulate reading and searching for anything COVID 19 related to once or twice a day.
- Stay Connected
Social distancing doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your friends and family! Now more than ever we need the emotional support that comes with close relationships, and thanks to the era of social media and technology, it’s possible to connect with the click of a button. Take care to check up on family, friends and neighbors to provide and receive support where you can!
- Take Care of Yourself
Protecting ourselves from the virus isn’t the only way to take care of ourselves. By creating and maintaining a routine, we organize ourselves and know what to expect from our day, which helps to avoid the thought patterns associated with mental illnesses one is already prone to.
- Time for Telepsychology?
If you find your mental health worsening, you may want to look into telepsychology. Working from home is now a viable option for therapists to continue regular appointments with their patients. Contact your local clinic, or one of your choice, and ask if they support virtual visitation!