As the world has continued to change over the last several months, normal life as we know it has been put on pause. The constant changes can make coping difficult, causing stress and anxiety for many people. The overwhelming feelings of isolation during this time — with the social distancing, travel restrictions, and work closures – can take an immense toll on one’s mental health. While these actions are important, it’s also important to keep your mental health top of mind as we continue to navigate our ever-changing reality.
According to the CDC (2020), stressful experiences can cause increased anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The CDC notes that the following can also be caused:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances
To help protect your mental health as well as your family’s during this time, it’s important to try your best to cope with the stress. Try to integrate these tips into your daily life:
- Create a routine or schedule that works for you and your family. Try to stick to this routine to avoid uncertainty throughout the day.
- Try to eat at the same time each day and opt for fresh and nutritious foods as much as possible. When you’re stressed, you may crave more junk food or sugary snacks. Here are some quick and healthy recipes you can try this winter.
- Make time to get outdoors as a change of scenery. It’s important to get fresh air throughout the day.
- Try your best to continue to get seven to nine hours of sleep. When your body is experiencing more stress than normal, it’s important that you get enough rest.
- Make time to focus on your physical health. Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity each day. If possible, try to take a walk every day. Or try these at-home workouts.
- Limit the amount of screen time that you’re spending per day, including time on social media and watching or reading the news.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.
- Try deep-breathing exercises and meditation to help escape the world and ease your stress levels. Here are some great meditation practices to try.
- Make time to connect with others, either virtually or while practicing social distancing. Talk about how you are feeling during this time with those you care about.
- In the event that help is needed, know where to go to find it. Make sure you have the number to your primary care provider handy. Know where to go if you need to get tested for COVID-19. Find testing sites near you.
For more information on maintaining your mental well-being, please refer to the CDC’s website.