Taking Care of Your Mental Health in The Time of the Coronavirus
Shifting from working in an office environment to a work-from-home set-up is already a challenge in itself. But factor in the daily onslaught of somber news about the global COVID-19 pandemic and the stress and isolation of having to stay at home, your mental well-being may be in crisis right now.
In the time of the coronavirus, keeping mentally healthy is just as important as maintaining your physical health so one must let off steam whenever they can. To help you achieve this, mental health professionals pitched in tips and bits of advice on how to maintain a healthy outlook in these trying times.
With the government and health agencies advising people to stay at home and maintain social distancing, you can’t visit your family, friends, and co-workers face-to-face like you used to. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to disconnect from them totally.
You can always turn to online meetings and video calls. Staying in touch with other people is good for your mental health, according to psychologist and Lehigh Valley Center for Child and Family Development director Amy L. Saborsky.
Brianna Harrington, who is the founder of corporate wellness workshop specialist Seek United, suggests using Zoom for your group video chats. Using this remote conferencing app, you can see everyone who’s part of the conference by selecting the panel view. You can also set Facetime calls or have Netflix watch parties.
Don’t let yourself get holed up inside your homes without experiencing the sunlight. Try walking around outside and be out in the sun. Aside from getting your much-needed vitamin D, Saborsky says that it can also help you fight anxiety and depression.
If you can’t go out of your home, you can do home workouts using apps or online videos. Cleaning your house can do the trick, too!
Eat Healthy Meals and Drink Enough Water
Saborsky says that people tend to carbo-load when they’re stuck inside for whatever reason it may be. She recommends eating good-quality food with lots of fruits and veggies and drinking enough water. Having a healthy diet can help you feel better.
Get Enough Sleep
Temptations to sleep in can be strong when you’re working from home. However, experts say that it’s best if you avoid oversleeping. Natalie Chaykin, who is a doctoral candidate in psychology over at Widener University, suggests setting the alarm at around the same time that you typically wake up for work. It also shouldn’t go beyond half an hour later.
For those who are sick or are developing any symptoms, it’s best to get some rest as much as possible. On the other hand, those who are healthy must maintain their routine for good sleep hygiene. You also shouldn’t take calls or work in bed unless you want to associate it with the stresses of your job.
Set a Time to Assess Your Worries
Don’t let worries and anxiety overwhelm you all day. Instead, allot some time in the late morning or the early afternoon to writing down all your worries. After identifying them, assess and split those into two categories: what you can and what you can’t control (just like worrying when the virus will be contained).
Do a Little Self-Care
Under stress, we tend to forget that we still need to take care of ourselves, as per Saborsky. It’s perfectly fine to do what you want to do even in this stressful situation unless it’s against the recommended things to do to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
It’s quite easy to feel frustrated and overwhelmed in the time of a pandemic. So set aside the bad things, step back, and remember all the positive points in your life. Harrington says that it fosters resiliency, reduces depression and anxiety, improves physical health, and helps you sleep better at night.
Seek the Help of Professionals (If You Need It)
Although the abovementioned strategies could help you immensely, there are times that these won’t be enough. If you can’t help but feel depressed, panicked, hopeless, anxious, or overwhelmed, Chaykin recommends connecting with your therapist to ask if he or she can provide telehealth. If you don’t have a therapist yet, you can find one and schedule a free phone consultation through the website, PsychologyToday.
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